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July 12, 2007


Gregory Stebbins

Thank you Ron and Stacy for your points of view. I knew in advance that this topic would bring up many different comments.

There is a difference between social gambling - Stacy's comments, and pathological gambling - Ron's comments.

Pathological gambling is a progressive disease that devastates not only the gambler, but everyone with whom he or she has significant relationships. The American Psychiatric Association labels this as a "disorder of impulse control."

There are three phases that a person goes through, winning phase, losing phase and desperation phase. The winning phase leaves the person with unreasonable optimism that their winning will continue and they experience a physiological rush resulting in increasing amounts of their bets. The losing phase begins with bragging about past wins, while borrowing money (or stealing it) to cover bets for which they don't have the resources. At this point the gambler begins to chase their losses, instead of closing out their hand. Desperation phase is when pretty much every waking moment is spent focusing on gambling.

I would submit that many salespeople have the first two traits hard wired. As good sales managers we try to identify people who deliver from people who brag about past success but aren't currently delivering. We work to coach them and guide them toward more successful behaviors. In some cases we actually have to terminate them because their self perception doesn't match reality. In large corporations there are Employee Assistance Programs that can help them.

I appreciate both Ron's and Stacy's points-of-view and find validity in both of them.

Thank you both or your posts.


Stacy Straczynski

While I do agree with Ron that poker may not be the best way to teach negotiating--I don't see it as posing as much of a problem as Ron suggests.

I see this as a viable example of how to practice your sales skills in everyday life. I frequently play the game for fun among friends and each player has his or her own method of acting.

When you have a good hand, you hide it. When you have a weak hand, you bluff. That's how you play the game.

With sales, its up to the rep to "read" his client and interpret the signals he is getting. Overtime of "playing" with the same individuals, the rep will be able to determine his client's next move from previous experiences. It really puts the emphasis on how developing and fostering a relationship with a client will pay off in the future.

Ron Hayes

Call me a prude but I don't condone playing poker as a way to help with negotiating skills. There is a significant risk of turning someone into a gambling addict and then you end up ruining their life. Even if only 1 in 100 become addicts, is it worth having on your conscience if that one becomes an addict and ruins his/her life? recommending poker as a way to learn negotiating tactics is akin to recommending pornagraphy as a means of education in the classroom.

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