Friday, September 12, 2008

Missed Opportunities

I spend a great deal of time taking care not to miss an "important opportunity". I have gotten really good at seeing them coming. This is not to say I am great at this. I think I used to be pretty dense and only in the last decade really begun to develop this skill.

For example. The other night I was at a basement poker tournament. It was approaching 2am and we had been playing for 6 hours. Only 9 people were going to get paid from this tournament and there were 10 of us left. I was currently in 10th place.

The host told us we were to take a break before all starting the final table. While we all stood around stretching our legs and getting some refreshments, it was brought up (maybe by me) that we could just chop the prize pool 10 ways. I said it half joking cause it was pretty clear that without a miracle I would go home a looser. To my surprise no one laughed and a couple people said "that’s not a bad idea". Even the host said "We can do that if you guys want". No one said it was a bad idea. Mostly people just looked at each to see if others wanted to.

When the break was about half over and most people had fallen into small talk, I asked the host to figure out how much it would be to chop the pot. The answer was $210 each. This started the topic again. It seemed like most would go for it or at least go with the crowd. I asked the crowd "Should we take a vote?" and that is when it happened. No one answered the question, but as I looked around the room time slowed down to almost a stop. My mind was racing. I knew that if just pushed one more time I would get my chop and leave a winner. All I had do was follow up my question with "Raise your hand if you want to chop".

I didn't do it. I let the moment pass and time resumed. A few seconds went by and someone said "let’s just play it out". Three poker hands later I was out and everyone remaining at least moneyed.

In that frozen moment I decided that it would be pushy. That people were there to win yes but they were also there to see if they could win. I know that if it were reversed I would not want to chop but would have gone with it if the crowd wanted to.

I do take away from it the knowledge that I saw the opportunity knocking.

Carpe diam.