Fast 2014-09-14: Belligerent poker opponents

“Added Fast” purpose: Allow Mike Caro to post spontaneous thoughts, tips, and information.

  • Includes Mike’s notes to himself.
  • Titles begin with “Fast,” plus date.
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Also see:  → Why a Poker1 “Fast” category?  |  → All Poker1 “Fast” entries

Sometimes I would rather leave a poker game than have a mean-spirited opponent target me. It has nothing to do with my need to be liked or respected. It has nothing to do with my ability to defeat that particular opponent, either. It has to do with the image I try hard to establish at the table and how a belligerent opponent interferes with it.

First objective

You see, when I sit in a game, a primary first objective is to create a fantasy environment where I’m center stage and friendly. Center stage and friendly. Center stage. Friendly. Get it? I want opponents to be aware of my presence, but to realize that I’m fun to play against.

I’ll usually make bizarre plays and giggle a lot. The goal is to make other players comfortable calling me in the future. Extra calls will come my way, because opponents feel eager to play against me, knowing they won’t be ridiculed for making bad decisions, even if they win. The game becomes enjoyable for everyone and losing pots is much less painful for opponents, so they’re willing to make substandard calls. Eventually, that means much more profit for me.


Okay, so now some guy sits in the game with a terrible attitude. He’s out to get me and announces his dislike for my playing style or my poker ability. He’s instantly created a hostile poker environment. I’ll often just leave the game. What these poker jerks don’t realize is that they’re costing themselves a lot of money by making opponents wary of criticism. So, those players play more sensibly and the whole table has less fun.

In short, I enjoy poker. And I try to manufacture a table where my opponents can enjoy it, too, while losing extra money to me — and not minding. When a belligerent player enters that arena, harming his own prospects and mine, I often start looking for another game. If poker isn’t fun, it’s seldom profitable. Laughing players who are having a good time supply the biggest profit. So, often for me, no fun, no play.

— MC | Follow-up link: → None

Also see:  → Why a Poker1 “Fast” category?  |  → All Poker1 “Fast” entries

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Mike Caro

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Known as the “Mad Genius of Poker,” Mike Caro is generally regarded as today's foremost authority on poker strategy, psychology, and statistics. He is the founder of Mike Caro University of Poker, Gaming, and Life Strategy (MCU). See full bio → HERE.


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