True or false test that you don’t have to answer

This article first appeared in Card Player magazine.

Here’s one of my true and false columns. It’s not a quiz, because you don’t get to answer the questions. I do. For your convenience, I’ve arranged the questions into two groups – the true group and the false group. OK, here goes.

The True Group

Everything on this list is true.

  1. Female poker players have psychological tools at their disposal that make them potentially capable of winning more money than male poker players. (Years ago, I even wrote a book about this. Women poker players can take advantage of male biases at the table. There is no equivalent advantage available to men.)

  2. High-low split games require less psychological skill than other forms of poker. (Sure. It’s harder to bluff, harder to manipulate weak opponents, and harder to read tells. In fact, there just aren’t as many tells. That’s because opponents tend to think they have a way to escape, even if you have them beat. “Got me beat high? Hey, I’ll try for low.” – that sort of thinking prevails. In making their decisions, they react less to you than they would in a straight high-hand-wins game. They relate mostly to their own hand and what they think your cards imply.)

  3. Most professional players go on tilt at least once a week. (Sad but true. The trick is to convince yourself to play your best game all the time. Years ago, I wrote a column for another publication about “Caro’s Law of Least Tilt.” It pointed out that top players seemed to observe a ritual of taking turns playing too aggressively with poor hands. In effect, they take turns going on tilt. And – among equally skilled professionals – players who waste the littlest time emotionally steaming and playing poorly, while not letting their opponents know they’re being short changed, fare the best. Thus, Caro’s Law of Least Tilt was born, speaking what was plainly true but not plainly obvious to some – that he who spends the least time on tilt earns the most money.)

  4. Most players who complain about losing with six full houses in a session actually lost on three or fewer full houses. (Same goes for all other sympathy-seeking claims.)

  5. If you complain to another player about how poor your luck is, citing a true example of your bad beats, your story probably will be raised by an even sadder story. (However, the story used to make this raise will never be true.)

  6. Most poker opponents in the $50/$100 limits and up cannot easily afford to be playing that limit and could not afford to sustain four major losing sessions in a row. (It’s poker’s dark little secret. Come to think of it, most $100/$200 players could not rationally be able to afford a $40/$80 game by standards they themselves would set if you forced them to think about it.)

  7. The majority of today’s top players have been broke at least twice in the last 15 years. (What usually breaks them is (a) not keeping a big enough bankroll, (b) betting sports, (c) going on tilt, or (d) being cheated. But the top players usually spring back. They tend to play better when they need to win – usually meaning right after going broke and while rebuilding their bankrolls.)

  8. If you approach them away from the table, most opponents will tell you exactly how they play, if you simply ask them a few questions about imaginary poker situations. (This amazing fact has been worth possibly $100,000 to me over the years. Remember not to volunteer your opinions. The object is to flatter them. Listen attentively. They’ll think they’re teaching you something about how you should play. But you’re really just learning something about how they play.)

  9. Big-limit players tip dealers less, on average, than medium-limit players. (I don’t know why for sure. We all have our theories about this. But the bigger the limits get, the meaner some players treat dealers. They rant, they rave, they whimper, they whine, and they seldom tip. There’s also a direct correlation between the size of the game and the ferocity that losing cards are thrown at the dealer. Bigger limits, cards thrown harder – and more words sworn.)

  10. Most professional hold ’em players raise too often before the flop. (Still true after all these years. Although I advocate an aggressive style of play, most pros overdo aggression before the flop. They think that by raising, they’ll drive out hands that might otherwise hang in there and beat them. In truth, they often drive away hands that might otherwise hang in and reward them. The opponents holding strong hands call the raise, while the opponents holding weak hands – hands that could have been coaxed into supplying more profit had they called – are the ones that get chased out of the pot. The trouble with limit-the-field technology is that it often limits the field of the wrong opponents. You should only raise if (a) you have a significant edge, (b) your raise will confuse your opponents or somehow influence them to act to their detriment, or (c) you have a good chance of winning the pot outright without proceeding to a contested showdown.)

  11. Ace-to-five lowball is the easiest common form of poker to teach a beginner to beat in the shortest time. (Nothing comes close.)

The False Group

Everything on this list is false.

  1. After about 1,000 hours of play, everyone’s luck at poker is about equal, and skill alone determines who does better. (Don’t expect your luck to even out in 1,000 hours. It may not even out for your lifetime. Even if you did get precisely your fair share of flushes and full houses, you might not win your fair share of them. Additionally, there are all sorts of luck factors that influence your success, not the least of which is whether you happen to be available to play when that out-of-towner decides to unload $1 million. Your job is to do the best you can with the cards you’re dealt. A break-even player with $50,000 worth of overall bad luck for the year will lose $50,000. But if you learn skills that make you $120,000 better than break-even and you suffer $50,000 worth of misfortune, you’ll still win $70,000. That’s the secret. Your job isn’t making sure the cards are distributed fairly. Somebody else already has that job. Your job is to look at the cards you’re dealt and to make the most profitable decisions about them.)

  2. On average, the top female poker players earn more money than the top male poker players. (Why is that false? What about question #1 in the True Group? Not a conflict. It’s the difference between what most intelligent women are capable of winning and what they actually are winning right now.)

  3. There is more skill involved in limit hold ’em than in no-limit hold ’em. (You’re right, how could that possibly be true, although we hear the claim made quite often. In no limit, you need to make the same decisions about whether to bet or raise, but you also have to make decisions about how much to bet or raise. The only strong argument to the contrary is that in no-limit games, the all-in factor comes into play often. After someone is all-in, there are no subsequent decisions and the cards are simply dealt out with no further skill involved. This argument isn’t strong enough, however.)

  4. On average, top professional blackjack players earn more than top professional poker players. (Not even close. Top poker pros earn a lot more.)

  5. You can win a lot of extra profit by aggravating opponents and putting them emotionally on tilt. (Opponents may get aggravated, but they’ll usually decide that you’re just no fun to lose to. And when they decide that, they play better against you.)

  6. Mike Caro is the greatest poker player alive, but nobody knows it. (Somebody knows it. See, it was a trick question. Speaking as a friend of Mike’s, I know he gets tired of hearing, “Those who can, do; those who can’t teach.” Whenever he hears people say that, he wants to slap their clubby little faces, because he personally was doing long before he was teaching. And he’s still doing; and if they don’t shut up, and if they have any money, he might have to do it to them, too. Got it?)

  7. Any world-class player has an advantage against a well-programmed computer poker opponent, because the computer cannot use psychology. (Maybe the computer can’t use psychology or maybe it can. But in any case, the human can’t use psychology, so – at worst – this is a push from the computer’s point of view. If both opponents are forced to ignore psychology, the battle will be resolved on a purely computational basis. If the computer is properly programmed, it won’t lose, no matter how much psychology its opponent understands.)

  8. A predetermined stop-loss specifying the maximum amount you should lose in a game will save you money. (This is not true in any honest game where you are not incapacitated, you feel like playing, and the opponents are beatable. The more hours you play under favorable conditions, the more you’ll win. You earn an average amount per hour. Consider that your wage. More hours, more money – just like most other jobs.)

— 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.


5 thoughts on “True or false test that you don’t have to answer”

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  1. “Those who can, do; those who can’t teach.” Whenever he hears people say that, he wants to slap their clubby little faces, because he personally was doing long before he was teaching. And he’s still doing; and if they don’t shut up, and if they have any money, he might have to do it to them, too. Got it?)

    Hi Mike ~ Speaks for itself.

  2. I have never played with too many professionals knowingly online, but I do notice online that people raises to aggressivily before the flop, but I believe alot of that has to do with the buttons provided for betting. As in pot size bet is easier to make then the standard three times the bet this makes life a little difficult sometimes especially in tournaments but once again if your playing the player so to say it usually evens out because most of the they have junk. Love your work Mike.

    David Adkins

  3. “And when they decide that, they play better against you.”

    …or not at all, which is also not a great outcome in many cases.

    1. Hi, Brian —

      Welcome to our Poker1 family.

      Although you and I suspect differently, Mike Caro has denied having a wry sense of humor.

      Straight Flushes,
      Mike Caro

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