Posts Tagged ‘poker’

What’s your ante?

by Himanshu Jhamb on March 1, 2010

If you have ever played poker (and I know there are many experts out there who can beat me hands-down belly-up!), you know what ante is. Simply put, it’s the wager you have to bet without an inkling of the hand that has been dealt to you or in other words It is the wager that you have to bet that simply qualifies you to ‘play’ in the game. Then there are many tables, each table with different stakes. You can choose which table you want to sit at and play on depending on how much money you have.

Business is very similar to poker. It requires us to wager something – an ante before we even have an inkling of the hand that is dealt to us. Think about the investment you have to make in order to bring a product to market or start your next entrepreneurial venture or even the new job that you get. In each of these situations there is this pesky ante that you cringe to put down but have to put down in order to play on the table! Here’s how the ante appears in each of these situations:

  1. Bringing a product to the market: You put your time, money (maybe not yours!) and energy as ante in building the product, doing your market research & getting help from others.
  2. Starting your entrepreneurial venture: Your ‘skin-in-the-game’ is pretty much your ante here.
  3. Getting a new job: You apply for your dream job, excel in that interview, land the job and within 2 months realize that what you’re doing is nothing like what you had imagined you’d be doing (Err.. I mean this in a negative way). In this case, all the effort that you put in to the point where you started the new job is your Ante.

My point so far: There is an ante in every game you play (Business being a game, too… )

Here’s the golden question: Is the table you are sitting at (which basically determines what ante you put) is the right table for what you want to achieve?

Consider this example: You are 45 years old & have plans of retiring with $4M in your bank account at the age of 65. You currently have $1M saved up. You make $100K a year. That’s a gap of $3M you have to cover in 20 years. You don’t need to be a math whiz to notice that it is impossible to get to this number with what you are making currently – You are basically sitting at the wrong table! because regardless of how well you play at this table, you’re never going to make your goal of $4M!

So you figured out that you’re sitting and playing at a table where no matter how well you play (heck! you might be the best player) you’re still not going to make it to your goal.

Now what?

Before you decide to take the leap of faith and move to the high-ante table, be aware that as you move up to the high-ante, the competition gets thick too. The players at the high-ante table are no pushovers. In fact, one mistake there and they’ll wipe you out before you know what hit you! So, yes – by all means, quit playing at the table where you are not going to make it BUT continue playing at the low-ante table until you are Skilled enough to move higher up and be the best player at the high-ante table!

… and of course, the last piece of advice and perhaps the most important to remember – Know when you have made it to your goal, get up from the table and go play a new game!

Good luck!