Poker is the new golf courseDecember 2006
I love the sitcom The Office (both the American and British versions). In an episode last season Michael Scott proclaimed that "Chili's is the new golf course according to Small Businessman's Magazine." When questioned if the magazine indeed said that, he responded, "It will. I wrote a letter to the editor."
A few years back I thought about taking up golf, but it was about the same time that my love for poker was growing. I decided (after my wife decided for me) that I really only had the time for one of the two hobbies. I ultimately decided that I would enjoy poker more, and that I would trade the potential of teeing off with corporate bigwigs for the potential of having Daniel Negreanu chasing his flush against me at the WSOP.
In looking back over the last year, I've realized that there have been a lot of instances where poker's lent a hand in developing my business relationships:
- Early this year I showed up at a local club for a tournament and ran into two former clients from my Bottled days who I'd lost touch with. We've talked pretty regularly since, played a lot of cards together, and done some work for each other. It's likely that none of that would've happened if we hadn't run into each other.
- When I setup a new bank account I met with the branch manager and it slipped out that I was headed to Vegas to play in the WSOP. His face lit up as he shared his love for the game, and we proceeded to spend the next half hour talking about poker. As a result, we know each other on a first-name basis, and he pulled a few strings to help me out with my account setup (although it's probable that he would've done this for anyone else).
- I mentioned the WSOP to one of my better clients this year and he ended up inviting me to his home game along with a few of his friends. I'm pretty certain that the experience of playing cards together helped me stand out from some of the other contractors he's used.
There are a handful of other instances that I could share, but the funny thing is that not one of my business contacts has invited me to play golf.
I don't know that poker is necessarily a better way of relating to people within the business world than golf, but according to a survey I ran across, 65% of CEOs responded that they'd rather spend their day playing poker than golf.
Either way, I can certainly attest that playing poker is a lot more fun than having lunch at Chili's.