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Caro's Book of Poker Tells Book Information and Review

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  • Paperback 320 pages
  • ISBN 1-58042-082-6
  • ISBN 1580420826
  • Text Copyright 2003 by Mike Caro

    From the Inside Cover

    Use the science of tells--and win!!!

    If you're serious about winning and you've mastered the basics, you'll realize most of the profit comes from being able to read your opponents. Their body language hides secrets you never even knew existed! This book reveals them to you. Learn to interpret tells, such as subtle shrugs, sighs, shaky hands, eye contact and many more.
  • Learn when your opponents are bluffing, when they aren't and why-based solely on their mannerisms.
  • Over 170 photos and play-by-play examples show the actual tells.

  • "Mike Caro has taught more players to win than anyone in history! His research and seminars have totally revolutionized poker."
    --Doyle Brunson, two-time world champion, world's best poker player

    "Much more than a world-class poker player, Caro provides the most powerful, sought-after, and scientific winning advice ever put on paper."
    --Card Player Magazine, the leading magazine for poker players


    For many years, Mike Caro has used mathematical analysis to pioneer the powerful modern poker strategies that thousands of world class professionals and serious poker players use today.
    Most poker books focus on betting and how and when to play certain hands. Mike Caro's book is different because he focuses on how to use the tells of your opponents to your advantage. Obviously this book is not great for those who play on-line. Caro is well respected in the poker world and the beginning of the book talks about how other experts value his work. "Caro is primarily known as a teacher and a theorist, but beyond that--twice world poker champion Doyle Brunson calls him 'the best draw poker player alive,' while the late gambling expert John Scarne ranked him in the top five, and premier authority David Sklanskly has also rated him first in the world in that important category. But today, draw poker isn't even Mike Caro's strongest game. Most of his recent breakthrough research has been in hold'em, seven card stud, and other popular forms of poker." [7]

    I enjoyed the book because it explained complicated concepts in plain english. Early in the book this writing stlye is explained, "Caro is known as 'The Mad Genius' for good reason. Much of his teaching is unconventional and very profound. Yet he explains things in crisp, clear language that will have your pulse racing as you learn the secret keys to winning." [8]

    Caro breaks the book up into two sections, natural tells and acting tells. His Great Law of Tells defines these situations. "Players are either acting or they aren't. If they are acting, then decide what they want you to do and disappoint them." [12] The first 130 pages of the book looks at situations where players are not acting. The rest of the book involves cases where opponents are acting.

    One tool that separates this book from other poker books is the use of charts to explain poker hands without needing excess verbage. "I devised MCU Poker Charts because there was clearly a need for a common method of presenting poker hands in printed form and on the Web. These charts are designed to be read from left to right and top to bottom, just like you're reading this book. " [19] The MCU charts made things much easier. Complicated poker hand situations were clearly communicated concisely without the book being too wordy.

    One reason tells are important is that players are unpredictable. It is not enough to just look at the way they usually play hands or just look at the way they bet. In explaining his Law of Loose Wiring, Caro shows this volatility. "You see, your poker opponents are volatile beings. They can be impressionable, irritable, playful, capricious, and more. You don't know when they're going to short out, cross-circuit, or doing the silliest or the most brilliant things. This goes for all poker players, from the weakest beginners to the most seasoned pros.
    The deal is that even when opponents are playing a disciplined game of poker, so many of their decisions are borderlined that what they're going to do is anybody's guess." [39] This is one reasons why tells are so important, good players dynamically change their style throughout sessions but there are always subconscious signals as to what they are doing.

    Caro sums this up at the end of chapter 4, "And from that powerful lesson, explaining Caro's Law of Loose Wiring, we can begin to comprehend the importance of tells. Since so many poker opponents often decide at whim, we need to do more than just strategically analyze their actions relative to what they should be doing. We need to watch and listen and determine what they are doing. "[41]

    Caro provides useful information on keeping tells in the Final Thoughts section. "When you spot a tell, you should not act on it instantly! Wait a short time and seem in doubt, That way, your opponent will be less likely to adjust his behaviour, and you probably will be able to use that same tell again for more profit. " [307] I found the book to be very useful because documented experiments were explained efficiently. Most tells are subtle and the book teaches the reader how to pick up on minor signs.

    Tells I've Observed While Playing(After Reading Book)

    Caro's Book of Poker Tells is broken up into tells where the player is unaware that he is doing anything unusual and tells when the player is acting. I tend to focus on the unaware tells because once a player starts acting then it is more of a guessing game in my opinion. There is a saying that if you can't spot the sucker at a table then you're it. Fortunately my last 2 playing sessions I've been able to spot players who were giving out tells even though they were seemingly unaware. The first involved a loose player who played too many hands in my opinion. I quickly noticed that most of the times he did not have anything decent. However on one hand his hands were shaking. I wasn't in the hand but I knew from Caro's book that he could very well have a powerful hand. Before reading Caro's book I may have thought that this player was shaking his hands because he was nervous about a weak hand. However, Caro tells us that shaky hands are to be feared. Sure enough he turned over a full house after the river. From that point on I tried to get in pots with him. This was because I did not fear him when he looked normal but when his hands started shaking I was careful. I'm sure it is possible for people to shake their hands on purpose but I don't think it is easy. For example, in the Steve Martin movie, Parenthood, Steve Martin's brother has a gambling problem and he is nervous when asking his dad for money. Obviously the actor had to learn how to shake his hand on purpose for this part. However in the movie the shaky hand is different from what I usually see at the table. It is hard to describe but in the movie, the hand shaking was too exagerated whereas in real life it is very very subtle.

    More recently I spotted a player who tended to bounce up and down when he was involved in a hand. I noticed that he was bouncing the most while involved in a round where he had a very strong hand.

    I appreciate the math behind the book but at the same time I think Caro should have spent a little more time emphasizing the importance of knowing your opponents. This is because what is a tell of weakness for one player may be a tell of strength for another and vice versa. It is extremely important to watch you opponents on every hand to see who does what. In a game like holdem where you're not playing every hand, it is still important to watch your opponents at all times. I always enjoy showdowns even when I'm not in the hand. This is because it gives me an opportunity to see some cards and verify the analysis I've been making on the players whose cards I get to see.

    I think the book has helped me to give away less information as well. After reading the book, I am careful about things I did not even consider before the reading. For example, I only look at my cards once unless acting. Since there are only 2 cards, I can easily memorize what they are after seeing them once and then take it from there. Also, I do not look at my cards too early. For example if I am sitting in the big blind pre-flop then I don't look at my cards until the action starts swinging around to my end of the table. This is key because the people in early position have to act before they see me look at my cards. Another change I've made is with the board calls. When the flop, turn and river cards are shown I look at my opponents before looking at the cards. This is good for 2 reasons. Number 1 is that I get to see how the other players react to the cards. Number 2 is that if my opponents are trying to get a reaction from me they don't know exactly when I've seen the board cards so it makes things more complicated.

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