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.”
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?
Hey! Great to see you again! Today’s self-interview focuses on my reflections about poker tournaments in general, and about my participation in this year’s World Series of Poker main event in particular.
I guess we need to wait a minute for the interviewer to get ready. Here he comes now…
Question 1: Since today’s word is “reflection,” would you like to reflect on your experience at the 2011 WSOP main event?
There’s not much to say. There were almost 7,000 players participating, and thousands of them probably have more interesting stories to relay than mine.
In fact, I got eliminated on Day 3 of the action, which actually meant the eighth day of the event, when you consider that the tournament began on Thursday, July 7 and I was knocked out of the competition on Thursday, July 14, in the 25th hour of actual play.
In real-world poker games, tells can account for most of your profit. But in order to take advantage, you need to watch closely. And you need to know what to watch. Today’s self-interview provides some advice and some secrets.
Question 1: How can tells account for most of your profit? Isn’t that an exaggeration?
It would be an exaggeration and a falsehood had I said that tells will account for most of your profit. Instead, I said they can. But it’s sort of a parlor trick using words.
Here’s the deal. Let’s say you’re a fairly sophisticated player who can overcome the rake and break exactly even. You’ve overcome obstacles. And you should be proud.
It isn’t easy being a serious poker player. Scary creatures are hiding within poker’s jungles, waiting to devour your bankroll. Everywhere you walk, there are pythons and pitfalls.
I know the feeling. And if you’re not careful, a part of you will whisper secretly, urging you to give up the effort. That part of you isn’t your friend. It’s hard to build a bankroll and easy to destroy one. Let’s talk about that in today’s self-interview.
I couldn’t quite figure out what the topic for today’s self-interview should be. I thought about comparing the features of photo editing software and about my worst restaurant experiences. Those would probably be difficult to tie into poker in meaningful ways.
So, I thought and I thought. And then something brilliant blasted my brain. How about tips! Sometimes I explain poker concepts in great detail. And sometimes I just provide the essence of profitable poker advice, otherwise known as tips. Let’s do that. First question, please…
Have you ever stopped everything you’re doing right in the middle of the day and thought, “What makes me sad about poker?” Me, too.
In fact, so many people seem to be doing it that worldwide productivity has slumped. That’s unfortunate, but it’s better to be in touch with our poker feelings than to keep producing goods and services while, deep in the core of our beings, we’re not content with our poker lives.
Last time I strayed from my normal format. Instead of focusing on a single poker concept, defined by today’s word, I allowed the self-interview questions to be about “this and that.”
Well, not quite. I chose “this” as the word, because I quickly realized “this and that” covered too much ground. So we narrowed the interview to questions only about “this.” Even so, it turned out there were thousands of ideas, tips, and concepts capable of fitting the definition. I could only address a few.
Along time ago, I was in a lounge near a poker room, waiting for a game. On a chair nearby a fellow player was reading a book.
Suddenly he noticed me, nodded, and half-whispered, “This is a great book.”
“What’s it about?” I wondered.
He shrugged. “This and that, I guess.” And it was all he had to say on the matter. He was reading again, and our conversation had apparently ended.