Comedy Gold! Lederer Discussing Business Ethics
One thing that we’re all acutely aware of in the poker world is that we only have our good name. And you can’t borrow a bunch of money and then say, “Oops, sorry, I don’t have any money. I’m going to declare bankruptcy,” and then a month later you come back into the poker world under a different name. Right? You can do that at business. But you can’t do that in the poker world. People always remember you as that guy who stiffed everybody and didn’t pay back.
And that hurts you. Not just the fact that you have to deal with these people that are constantly hounding your for money. And you’re being dishonorable and not paying them back. But also, people won’t trust you.
Then you have to be extremely risk averse your whole career because if you ever lose your bankroll you’re out. No one is going to help you get back in action.
One of the best pieces of advice, or maybe one of the best observations, particularly in the poker world that I got, was from a player who once told me, “Honesty is the best hustle.” And what he meant by that was that if you are truly honest, and the poker world perceives you correctly, that you’re honest, and that you’re a trustworthy person, then you create a group of friends that are all willing to help each other. You find you gravitate toward other honest people. And that allows you to actually play bigger, maybe beyond your bankroll, be a little less risk averse with your bankroll, because you know you have people who will pick you up when you need some picking up. And likewise, you’ll pick them up.
And if you think about this group of let’s say 10 people that all really trust each other, they can all play maybe a little bit beyond their bankroll. But they’re not really playing beyond the bankroll of the group. Some of them will be up and some of them will be down. And if everyone is willing to pick each other up, and they’re honorable with each other, then I think in the long run the group does better that way. But that can only happen from this position of trust.
In terms of not being trustworthy or being tricky, in the business world, you see again we come from a poker world where deceitfulness, that’s part of the game. That’s part of rules. The person you’re playing against is also going to be deceitful. You know that ahead of time. They’re expecting it from you and therefore it’s a completely honorable game. The deceit is part of the rules of the game, right? But if I sit down, and kinda because you’re developing this very strong sense of what it means to be honorable, and what it means to be trusted, in the poker world, even within this game where deceit is part of the game, I do think that, as a poker player, when I’m at the negotiating table, I’m acutely aware of the ground rules of that situation. And if deceitfulness isn’t part of that game, true deceit or lying about your capabilities, or lying about your ability to pay for a certain product or service, if that’s not part of the game, and it really never is at the negotiating table, then you don’t bring that to the table. It would be dishonorable. I think it gets instilled in the poker player maybe more than the businessman.