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Calculating Business Risks: Going All In (or not)

July 23rd, 2010 | Small Business | No Comments »

With a new business, there are alot of appropriate analogies (and trust me, this blog has found most of the ones tied to movies or bad 80’s hair bands).  But one of the better ones may be poker. 

I’m only thinking of this because I noticed someone from my hometown is in the 2010 finals of the World Series of Poker.  He’s already won $898k and if he wins the whole thing, could walk away with $9.8M.  It go me to thinking…there are a lot of business lessons to learn from poker:

1.  It doesn’t take a lot of money to hit it big:  To enter most poker tourneys, you don’t need a lot of money, but if you apply the right strategy, you can clean up.  Similarly, if you have the right people and business concept, money won’t be a big hurdle (technology infrastructure is relatively cheap…and so is Frontier Airlines).

2.  Nothing Teaches You Like Real World Experience: Though I’m an excellent poker player online (or on a meaningless iPhone app), I have no clue how to interact with people when I’m sitting at a poker table.  With a business, you can have a great business plan, but unless you can sell someone in the real world, it’s not worth a whole lot.

3.  Sometimes it just comes down to luck: You can start a hand with a pair of aces (the strongest possible beginning hand in Texas Hold ‘Em) and still lose.  Why?  Well, maybe partially due to strategy.  But also because poker is still a gamble.   With a new business, eveything can be going your way, but without a break or two, you can still be out of favor with the market.

What’s your connection to business and poker?

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