McHaffie: MCU lesson 151 / Old memories

Note: Not at the old Poker1 site. A version of this entry was first published in Poker Player newspaper in 2009.

This is part of a series by Diane McHaffie. She wasn’t a poker player when she began writing this series. These entries chronicle the lessons given to her personally by Mike Caro. Included in her remarkable  poker-learning odyssey are additional comments, tips, and observations from Mike Caro.

Diane McHaffie index.

Diane McHaffie is Director of Operations at Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy. She has traveled the world coordinating events and seminars in the interest of honest poker. You can write her online at

Diane McHaffie

Lessons from MCU

— With bonus content by Mike Caro (pending) —

Lesson 151: Old memories resurrected

Mike is presenting six seminars at the Rio during the World Series of Poker and, of course, playing in some of the events.

Nolan Dalla, a prominent poker personality, columnist, and WSOP Media director, has been introducing Mike and Doyle. For the second seminar, Nolan regaled the audience with a tale about Mike from approximately 15 years ago. It was about a historic seminar and Mike told me he’d been unaware that Nola had attended that evening.

Mike was giving a seminar at a restaurant, and as occasionally befalls such events, unpredictable occurrences happen. So, it was this night. The audio equipment went on the blink.

Well, Mike usually manages to discover a way to make the most of a bad situation. He led the seminar audience outside onto a balcony and proceeded to climb onto a ledge to address that crowd of poker players.


Now, anyone that knows Mike is aware that he presents a rather wild image. Well, imagine this if you can. The Mad Genius of Poker atop a ledge, on a roof, in the moonlight, his hair in its usual disarray, waving his arms about and speaking loudly to his audience. What a sight that must have been!

Nolan recalled that he was amazed at this daredevil and the lunacy surrounding the seminar. Back to the present, Nolan, standing onstage, waved his arms imitating Mike. What a spooky site Mike must have presented, illuminated by a moon, atop a building with poker players looking up at the ledge. No wonder a worried security guard asked Nolan, “Do you think he’s going to jump?” Yes, for a passersby below, that must have been the conclusion one would draw.

Today at the Rio

Well, today wasn’t much different than 15 years ago, except the ledge, moon and non-working equipment was gone. Everything functioned perfectly at the Rio. Mike was prancing across the stage, hair standing on end, waving his hands in the air and directing his audience into participating in his seminar. They were requested to shout the number of the upcoming tip and did so enthusiastically, waiting in anticipation for Mike to disclose the next tip in the countdown. Some of those tips were:

  • Poker is a business in which you get paid by the hour. It’s similar to other businesses in that you want your customers to be happy, not uncomfortable.
  • Don’t attempt to steal a pot after a frequent bluffer checks. You’re too often facing a calling or raising hand.
  • If you average a big gain per attempt by calling, you’re not calling often enough. You’re probably not taking advantage of many other calls that would be worth less and bring your average gain down, but still add to your overall profit.
  • In limit poker, you are going to lose most of the time if you call the last bet with a marginally strong hand. But Mike advises calling anyway. You only need to win once in a while to show a profit.
  • Opponents staring away are the ones to beware of, as they are dangerous adversaries. They’re pretending not to care about your actions, but they often are preparing to raise! Players staring at their hands are one’s you want to attack, as they frequently are holding weak hands.
  • You shouldn’t do anything to discourage a bet you expect to call – even if you’re hoping the opponent won’t bet. You’ll only stop that opponent from betting weak hands or bluffing, actions you don’t want to discourage if you intend to call.
  • If you’re in middle position, in a limit poker, you should rarely raise on the final betting round unless you have an impressive power hand.

As always, Mike completed the seminar with his famous, “I’m a lucky player. A powerful winning force surrounds me.”


After the seminar there was a Q & A by Doyle Brunson, giving the audience a much anticipated opportunity to ask him questions.

Doyle was asked about the young players resulting from the internet. He was quick to say that “they are pretty darn good”, as they have the advantage of being able to play 8 to 10 hours a day. He said that with the advent of the internet and the new young players, winning a bracelet is now more challenging.

Doyle drew the seminar to a close with one of the last answers. He said that many young players today are trying to impress opponents and are susceptible to what Mike calls FPS (Fancy Play Syndrome). Despite his reputation for aggressive tournament play, Doyle confided that he actually plays “ABC poker, a little too tight, yes, but I win!”

Stay tuned for the next four seminars, June 13, 14, 27, and 28 at the Rio. — DM

Next entry in Lessons from MCU series


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