How lucky is poker

IT for marketing

"It's lucky that my luck is not only due to luck." This statement could come from a successful entrepreneur or manager who works smart, hard, and persistently for their success. From someone who knows that happiness cannot be the only basis for success in business. But which ingredients guarantee the success everyone wants? How can success and failure in business be explained in concrete terms?

The ideal creation of business models

In theory, there is an ideal path that should be followed when creating business models:

  1. At the beginning, i.e. before the business model actually emerges, there is the inspiration from which the business idea results.

  2. This is followed by market exploration to collect relevant data about the market environment, competitors, trends, etc., which are to be examined and evaluated in the course of analyzes in order to draw conclusions for the formulation of the future business strategy.

  3. Strategy and tactics have to be formulated and a business case has to be prepared that describes and calculates various business processes (normal, best and worst case) in detail.

  4. Only then can the original business idea be evaluated, formulated and turned into a concrete business model.

However, practice often shows completely different approaches. For some, the business idea combined with "Let's just do it now" is enough to implement a business model or a special procedure in a company. This phenomenon can be found in sole proprietorships as well as in financially strong corporations. Without professional conception and validation, money, manpower and time are invested in such cases. And if it doesn't work, people quickly say: "We were just unlucky."

Work like a poker player

That this has little to do with luck or bad luck can be quickly explained with the following analogy. If we look at strategy games such as poker or backgammon, it quickly becomes clear to any observer that you don't need a lot of time to learn the respective rules of the game. But still only a few players have mastered the complexity of the respective game.

The game theory of poker or backgammon is based on calculating the probability of occurrence. If a certain card or a certain throw is required, the percentage chances can be calculated exactly.

Depending on the respective game situation, there are different strategies and tactics to either maximize your own profit (if everything goes well and you are lucky) or to minimize losses (if luck is not on your side) in a game. In the medium to long term, however, the better game always prevails, which has been proven by countless analyzes.

The example teaches us that a good to very good understanding of the game as well as extensive strategic and tactical skills combined with a certain amount of luck make winning a game much more likely than for someone without special skills who only rely on luck. Of course, a "lucky guy" can also win many games, but not permanently. This fact is favored by the fact that happiness is usually not clingy, but instead lingers here and there - not only with the opponent, but also with oneself.

On the next page you will learn, among other things, what conclusions can be drawn from poker for your own business model.

The 2/3 chance

Please imagine a trustworthy person suggests the following game: You roll a dice out of a mug. If a "one" or "two" comes up, the challenger wins; if the other four numbers come up, you win. With each throw, the loser pays the winner one euro.

Would that be a profitable game for you? Of course, because your odds are 2/3 twice as high as your challenger's (1/3), so you would most likely win 66.7 percent of the games over the evening. You could make a small fortune over the course of weeks, months, and years. Quite simply, you owe this to a competitive advantage that your challenger apparently failed to take into account. (Honesty is mandatory in the example)

The dice game described above is, however, contrary to strategy games such as poker and backgammon, a pure game of chance. If everyone had three numbers to choose from, the odds would be the same and a win would be sheer luck. Only the aforementioned constellation ensures victory for the challenged with 66.7 percent in the long term.

Gambling casinos realize huge profits with the slightest advantage. A player who has won a lot in one evening will be tempted to continue playing with a free suite etc., because in the long run the casino always wins. The computational advantages guarantee this, even if this certainty is not grasped by very few players.

The search for competitive advantage

By analogy with our business model, this means that in business - like poker or backgammon players - we should also look for a competitive advantage when we examine the framework conditions for formulating our corporate strategy. In addition, we should not only know the rules in our business environment, but also develop various superior strategies and tactics with the aim of dominating our opponents. We should be able to calculate our chances exactly and predict scenarios with a high probability of occurrence.

Of course, luck always plays a role, but it is difficult, if at all, to influence it. However, good positioning helps us to maximize our success when luck is on our side and minimize our losses when we feel abandoned by luck.

Psychology in business life - let's learn from athletes

But what about psychology in business? Here, too, studies have shown that ability must go hand in hand with willingness if something is actually to be achieved. The poker or backgammon player must also want to win and be prepared for this mentally, otherwise he cannot win.

Sport shows us more examples. When we think of the grandiose sequences of tennis legend Boris Becker or the extreme will to win of FC Bayern Munich (attribution without inferring the author's preferences), then we know that you not only have to be able to play well, but also want to win.

The success of a company also depends on the commitment of the actors. Especially because companies practice team sports, it is essential to also use the psychological component of corporate management accordingly.

The conclusion is what almost everyone knows, but which very few take to heart:

  • Always rediscover your environment

  • Discover your opportunities

  • Plan your steps carefully

  • Get advantages

  • Always formulate current strategies and tactics

  • Be excellent at execution

  • Minimize your losses when luck runs out

  • Make an effort and fight

  • Make a winning team out of your employees

  • Work specifically on the mood in your company

The deductive conclusion from the comparisons with strategy games and sport also consists in the fact that precisely the subject areas in which we feel confident hold great potential for improvement. Professional poker players live excellently from the many laypeople who all only have a superficial knowledge of the game and simply attribute their individual losses to their bad luck.

Almost all of us believe that we are a good driver until we have driven with a real racing driver. Most managers consider themselves incontestable experts in their professions, although the potential for optimization is often huge. How are you doing?

This article is based on oneContribution of the CW sister publication ChannelPartner. (mhr)