Poker Table Wisdom

Poker Table Wisdom

My daughter Sarah is a poker player.  At one point she was ranked # 9 out of 2000 players on the Atlanta club circuit.  Recently she made a comment, “don’t walk away from a small pot”.  Curious, I asked her what she meant.

She said, “You always have a choice about getting into a game.  Sometimes when the pot is small, and your hand isn’t great, it’s tempting to give the game less than your best effort and concentration.  After all, it’s just a small pot…”

“So why is that a problem?” I asked.

“Mom, every game is a chance to hone your skills.  Winning at poker is not about the cards you’re dealt, it’s about your skill in playing the hand.  If you practice the difficult situations with a small pot, you’ll be able to play for a large pot with greater skill and equanimity.  You won’t blow your cool.”

“That makes sense”, I said

“And that’s not all, it’s about risk management too, “she continued.  “It’s the accumulation of small pots that lets you play for the big pot without having to risk everything you’ve got. ”

Soon after our conversation, I was talking to a potential client.   We had proposed a year-long engagement that would have included a strategic planning process, quarterly plan reviews and updates, executive coaching and ad hoc consulting.  It was an opportunity for us to add real value to this company.  Although the CEO was enthusiastic, he wanted to begin with a small piece of work, restructuring his role.  It was a very small piece of what we’d hoped for.  It was tempting to just wait until they were ready to do the larger project.

Then I remembered my daughter’s wise words.  I used my best focus and concentration to close the agreement.   It was great practice.  It also produced revenue while waiting to close some larger projects.

What small pots can you practice on?


By Elizabeth Crook

President of Orchard Advisors, Certified Gazelles Coach, works with executives and management teams to grow profitability and satisfaction.

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