How Kenny Rogers Taught Us Business Strategy Through Poker

It’s no secret that I am a big poker fan. In fact, I love the game. It’s not because I like to gamble though, in fact, I hate to lose. Kenney RogersWhat I love about poker is strategy. You have to be very strategic to win at poker. It’s not just about the cards you hold, it’s about the cards that others hold that you can’t see. It’s also about reading people, taking calculated risks, and not letting others know what cards you are holding.

One of the most popular songs of all time was The Gambler sung by Kenny Rogers. It hit #1 on the Billboard charts back in the late 70’s, and has been used in pop culture ever since. Kenny even sings it in a new Geico Commercial.  As I was watching a replay of a poker tournament I was inspired to look at the parallels between business and poker using some of the lyrics from the song.

If you’re gonna play the game boy you gotta learn to play it right. In poker, if you sit at a table and don’t know the rules, we call that gambling. It’s no different in business. If you set out to be a business owner with nothing more than an idea and your savings, you will end up like most, losing your savings and learning how to play the game of business the hard way.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em. Building a successful business isn’t easy or everyone would do it. There are MANY times you will feel like giving up. Sometimes it will be warranted, but most of the time it’s because you just haven’t been in that position before, and it’s uncomfortable. Getting a mentor or adviser whose been there and done that will increase your odds of success.

Know when to fold ’em. There are times in business when quitting makes sense. The economy changes and sometimes you have to change with it. It can hurt, but in the end it can pay off. For me, the mortgage “rush” of 2003-2006 gave me a few of those moments. It was a tough decision to sell the Internet Marketing Company I was running at the time, but I was able to jump into the warm waters of the mortgage business in 2003. Using my online marketing expertise, I parlayed that opportunity into a huge success. Of course a few years later, that industry crashed and I once again had to make a tough decision, but it really wasn’t that tough; it just made good business sense.

In another instance, a company I was running launched a new product too early. The cost of launching this new product had not been sufficiently calculated (and it was 100% my fault) but in the end, changing course (outsourcing) proved to be a great move as it reduced all of the costs associated with the launch. It wasn’t a complete fold, but I folded the plan as I had envisioned.

Know when to walk away. Not every deal is a good deal so not every deal is worth fighting for. If you find yourself in a position of wondering why things are not working out the way they should, ask yourself what you would lose by walking away.  When you walk away, you are still in control because it’s your decision.

Know when to run. The other day I asked one of my business partners about a situation. It was about doing business with someone whose integrity I questioned. His words were something to the tune of “run, and run fast.” I knew that was the right move, it’s just nice to have trusted advisers to reinforce your beliefs. My advice is to always run from people who are ethically challenged in business. Listen to your inner voice; if you sense it, that’s probably for a good reason. Those people will never serve you well and there is always someone else with integrity to do business with.

The secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep. This is the directive to stay focused. In the course of a day, there is so much you could do, but only a small amount of what you should do. Focus can make or break your business. I have seen many businesses fail for lack of focus, and I have been guilty of this myself.

Cause every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser. It’s not the cards, it’s how you play them. I truly believe we are the factor that makes the difference between success and failure. It’s about choices, and it’s about having a winning mindset. If you are losing, you need to find out why because what’s showing up in your business life is a reflection of your subconscious beliefs. Your subconscious mind doesn’t know what business is, it only knows how you react to situations. If those situations are related to your business and your reactions are negative, then it will associate negative feelings with your business activities and in the end that won’t produce success.

The mindset game is the one that so many miss. If you want more insights on that, I encourage you to check out the Quantum Emergence System. This wasn’t intended to be a plug for that, but it just fit. It’s a system I have used and benefited immensely from.

Whether you are a poker player, business owner, Kenny Rogers fan, or any combination thereof, I hope you found some value here. If you are a poker player and a business owner, it will probably resonate a bit more.

In closing, I leave you with that wonderful song, The Gambler.

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One Response to How Kenny Rogers Taught Us Business Strategy Through Poker

  1. Geo January 2, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Love this post! Kenny was brilliant in more ways than one. Happy New Year!