This Is An Adult’s Game But A Kid Can Play If He Pays Enough
I happened to do well in a mock investment game in middle school and started to watch films like Casino. It wasn’t long before I could walk in with $5 and walk out with a couple hundred. Without even knowing it the process I used was very entrepreneurial. I was a small middle school kid playing for money against grown men that had just entered the military, so I was always trying to think two steps ahead.
Team building – Since I was small I would bring along bigger guys from the local high school for protection if things got out of hand. I gave them a cut of whatever I won and even more if anything happened. But I kept them at a distance because I wanted the people I was playing to think I was there alone. Just like in the movies we developed signals to communicate with each other.
Feasibility analysis – I always showed up an hour or two before the “team” was suppose to, to watch others play. I determined who was good, who wasn’t, who was playing for a lot of money and who gave me the best chance of making money.
Market analysis – I always started by losing the first game and never won every game I played in a day. Losing the first game was simply to figure out how good my opponent was and to bait them into playing me for money.
Advertising – I separated my money by pocket, $10 in my front left pocket, $20 in my front right and $50+ in my back pockets. After losing the first game I would “accidentally” come across money to bet with.
Brand/Customer Loyalty – To make sure that people would want to play me I used a few different techniques. There were a few different places to play pool on and off base so I never over-saturated the market by only going to one everyday. A young military male with an ego and surrounded by a group of friends became my target market because they “always” had something to prove. I played games with bets anywhere from $50-$400 at times. When I won a big pot I would intentionally find the worst player possible and lose $10 or $20 and then not return for a few days. This made the guy think that he just lost a couple hundred dollars to a lucky player and it built demand so that the next time he saw me he would want to play for a big pot.
Retaining good employees – The Philly Mob’s saying was, “Make money not headlines,” and that’s exactly what we did. We were rarely seen in public together and the team never knew exactly which pool hall I chose until 30 minutes or so before. When I won big I made sure everyone got paid well.
I never really considered it gambling because I didn’t lose unintentionally often, simply because I spent so much time analyzing my opponents. I didn’t play big pots with individuals I had no chance of beating but more importantly I didn’t make decisions based off of my ego.
Being willing to pay attention to the little details that others don’t has made a big difference in my life from a personal and business standpoint. Eventually, it became harder to get games, like any kid I lost interest and the new family sport became bowling but that’s another story all together!Tags: Building a Business, Business Planning, Entrepreneurship, Young Entrepreneurs