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Poker, Gambling and Life
Caro on Gambling
by Mike Caro

The Most Important Truth About Gambling
My proudest quote ever is: ďIn the beginning, everything was even money.Ē You may have seen it repeated in many places, even in Newsweek where it was reported that this is my mantra. Fine, but it isnít just something to be chanted, and it isnít simply some fancy wording. Those are the seven words that say everything there is to say about gambling to win and living to succeed.

So, now that Iíve dramatically and immodestly argued for the importance of my own seven words, I should try to convince you why theyíre important. So, I will!

I want you to think back to the day you were born. You were so stupid then. I could have told you that choo-choo trains splash around in ponds between lily pads, and ducks carry cargo cross country on rails.

It would have sounded reasonable to you. Thatís because everything seemed reasonable to you on the day you were born. And everything seemed unreasonable, too. You just didnít know.

Of course, you couldnít understand words, but even if you could, any single thing you heard would be either true or false. It was fifty-fifty, a coin flip, even-money. And that fifty-fifty-coin-flip-even-money perspective lasted awhile. Then you began to grow.

Odds Everywhere
And as you grew, you began to realize that your whole life was governed by odds. Well, wait. This doesnít mean that it dawned on you that odds and probability were controlling your outcomes. It just means that this is what was happening, whether it dawned on you or not. You learned not to crawl off ledges, because you didnít know how far youíd fall. Even though you didnít realize it, you were secretly asking yourself: ďWhat are the odds?Ē

When you got to be five or six, you thought about crossing the street to play at a friendís house. And you looked both ways, like your parents told you. But while you were looking both ways, you had to decide what the odds were. No car in sight? That seems pretty safe, but not 100 percent safe. Thereís always the chance that a truck will suddenly appear out of nowhere, perhaps from a parking space and splatter your young bones all over the asphalt. Not pretty. Not fun. But itís worth the gamble; otherwise youíll just stay on this side of the street for the rest of your life. And who knows? You might get hit by a meteorite while standing here.

Yep, thereís risk everywhere. But youíve evolved, even though youíre still a child. You know ó maybe not in words or objective thoughts ó but you know that itís not a fifty-fifty proposition, crossing this street right now. Youíre much more likely to survive than that. But on the day you were born, it was fifty-fifty, even money. So youíve evolved.

The Point
Are you getting what Iím telling you? If youíre going to succeed in life or be successful as a gambler, youíve got a job to do. That job is simply to examine anything you do in terms of whether the odds are really even money. More information, deeper insight, better analysis, enhanced judgment ó thatís what you need to win. Once looked at objectively, something might still be even money. The point is that not everything will be even money. But in the beginning it was.

In the beginning, you had no information, no tools to handicap life, nothing. But you improve. And the better you get at defeating the notion that everything is even money, the more youíll be able to make quality decisions in life and in gambling. You must separate good bets from bad ones. Make it your lifelong quest to defeat the notion that everything is even money. Thatís all there is to it. The most powerful and useful truth anyone is every going to tell you is: In the beginning, everything was even money. Think about it.

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