Poker photos from Iraq (Caro blog)

Entry #3 (2010-03-30)

A few months ago, Jeffrey Wright (a United States Marine) sent this e-mail and a photo of himself from the front lines in Iraq. Yes, that’s Caro’s Book of Poker Tells he’s reading under the tree!…

Message from Iraq


I never thought to send you this picture* until my dad suggested that perhaps you’d get a kick out of seeing a book of yours being read in an odd location.  It’s from my recent deployment to Iraq, where my 15 man team trained, lived with, and fought beside an Iraqi battalion.  We got really close with each other (and our Iraqis, of course!), and I found that I could read them much easier than I could a random group of players.

Jeffrey Wright reading Book of Tells while deployed in Iraq
Jeffrey Wright reading Book of Tells after firefight in Iraq.

I knew a bit about how to read tells, but every serious player I knew recommended your book, so I had my wife send it to me.

This was taken on 11 August 2008.  We’re resting at a farm during the heat of the day, and I’m sitting with the Iraqi scout platoon.  Lunch is over and everyone is settling down for their mid-day nap, but I was still pretty wired from the firefight that morning, so I’m relaxing by reading your book.  It worked to calm me, and it also made me a better player.  Thanks for sharing your wisdom: I got a lot out of it.


*The picture was taken by an interpreter, who asked me what the batch of pictures should be called…and jokingly typed in my verbatim response.

photo from Iraq showing improvised poker chips and deck of cards
These chips have handwritten values.

Improvised poker chips

By the way, the name uttered by Jeffrey Wright and then given to the “batch of pictures” mentioned in the footnote (see asterisk) was “oh shit I don’t know.”

I later received a follow-up photo, showing improvised poker chips.

As you can see at right, poker is thriving everywhere. We at Poker1 thank Jeffrey and all the troops for their service.— MC

Published by

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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  1. me and the guys i play poker with have a few pictures of us playing poker in Afghanistan. a couple are real nice with the mountains in the background and Apaches flying by blowing our cards all over the place lol. If you want some let me know and ill definitely send you some great photos of Americas TRUE favorite pastime, poker.

  2. Hi, Rich —

    Welcome to Poker1. Poker thrives under severe conditions. If you want to see the weirdest thing I ever wrote about this, try (How to play poker during the nuclear winter).

    By the way, even though our store (SHOP on the main menu above) isn’t officially open yet, you can buy that book there at a very low price. Amazon has great prices, too. And I always recommend Gambler’s Book Shop (, because they have such a great variety of products.

    Good luck in your future poker adventures.

    Straight Flushes,
    Mike Caro

    1. Thanks for the personal reply Mike. That is special.
      I like the article; three cards, two guys with bankrolls – shuffle up and deal.
      I ordered the book on your site. It just wouldn’t be the same from any other source.
      Well that’s enough sucking up to the famous author for tonight.
      Your fan,

  3. Mike: This is a great entry. I have your book on my reading list but it was not “next” until I saw this. Based on Jeffrey’s photos I have moved you up to “next”. I will be ordering the book this evening.
    I recently heard Capt Charlie Plum speak, POW Vietnam 2,103 days. He spoke of making a deck of cards out of toilet paper. Each card was postage stamp size. Very hard to shuffle.

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