Before I get started with today’s self-interview, I need to rewrite history. Last time, for my 190th column in the modern era of Poker Player Newspaper, “Today’s word” was “Everyday.” What’s wrong with that?
Well, the same word was also used for my 73rd column, which was entirely different in content. Each column is supposed to have a different word. So, the sensible thing to do is to declare retroactively that the word for column 190 was actually “Daily.” And I shall revise it thusly in a few months when it makes it way to my archives at my website Poker1.com. I will also need to modify the text somewhat to conform to that change.
Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s turn to today’s word, “Hero.” It’s become vogue to use the term “hero call,” and I’m a little bit bummed out by the trend. Here’s why.
by Mike 'The Mad Genius of Poker' Caro
“Oh my god, I caught a brick!” Dan blurted playfully. He was playing 7-card lowball, also known as “razz.” On the sixth card, he added Kd to his previous 6s-4h-Ah. Hint: He already had an unbeatable 6-4 made with 2s-3s hidden. No matter which form of poker you’re playing, the colorful term “brick” means the card you just added didn’t coordinate with your hand whatsoever. We’ll talk about that in today’s self-interview.
Question 1: So catching a brick is a bad thing, right?
As with Dan, it’s not bad if you already have your hand made. It’s bad if you had hopes of connecting, though.
Question 2: How does a brick factor into your decisions?
In poker, the term “loose” defines a player who enters too many pots and calls too many bets. By contrast, a conservative player who seldom enters a pot without a quality hand is often called “tight.”
Fine. So in today’s selfinterview, we’ll talk about playing loose poker.
Question 1: Everyone says you play loose. Why have you chosen that style?
I’m sure not “everyone” says I play loose. But many players probably say it. And they’re wrong. My basic mode of play is tight.
Question 2: Then why do they say it?
Now comes the era of extraaggressive poker, when everyday players act recklessly in front of imaginary TV cameras. Games are lively. And one of the most profitable and misunderstood facets of poker is disrespected, unglamorous, underestimated, and infrequently analyzed. I’m talking about the art of the call. That’s today’s selfinterview topic.
Question 1: You termed it “the art of the call.” What kind of art or skill does it take to just agree to someone else’s wager?
by Mike Caro - The Mad Genius of Poker
Hi there, again! I noticed that you’re ready to take a seat in your next poker game. Before you do, there’s one thing I’d like you keep in mind as you compete - and as you follow the play-by- play action it’s simply this:
Whenever players wager in poker, they’re taking a chance. Clearly, you want to reduce risk by not betting, if checking will save you money. And you should increase risk by betting if the danger is worthwhile. Try to count how many violations you witness. By the way, that truth about making a bet is fundamental to living life successfully, also.
Making a bet should never be done at whim. You must have solid reasons to bet and solid reasons not to bet. That’s the topic of today’s self-interview.
Talk about “warm and fuzzy.” I never fully understood that terminology and I don’t experience that feeling often, but I did when I learned that Phyllis Caro was to be inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
Today’s self-interview is about that September 3 happening. I was married to Phyllis for 20 years and most of my own proudest achievements happened because of her encouragement.
Question 1: Is Phyllis in the Hall of Fame because of her poker playing skills?
No. Phyllis probably could have been a great player, but she never pursued the game. Instead she did many things for our poker community that you might not know about.
by Mike 'the Mad Genius of Poker' Caro
It’s both illogical and unfair to criticize poker opponents for making plays that seem obviously stupid to you. Almost anything that seems obvious wasn’t that way a minute before you first understood it. For every dawn, there is a darkness that comes first.
That observation doesn’t just apply to poker. It is a fundamental life truth. So let’s make today’s self-interview about the earliest times I grasped things about poker and life. There’s today’s word—“earliest.&rd
This will cover my journey to discovering great truth, and hopefully it will parallel what other players and other people experienced, too. Go.
Question 1: When was the earliest time you realized it was possible to beat poker?
As we continue our series of self-interviews, I’d like to deal with a special request. The persona who usually interviews me has taken today off. His replacement has asked if he can ask questions seeking poker advice that applies strictly to him.
I said yes. I’m gambling that any advice applying to him will also help others. So let’s see. Here’s the interview…
Question 1: I have a $500 bankroll, which I’ve gradually built from $20 playing at 50-cent and $1 blinds, no-limit hold’em. Last night there was a game with $1 and $3 blinds that had very loose and weak players. Should I have sat in that game, instead?