Big Dreams Push Limits

Nice Hand Don't You Think?

A Handy Hand

strategic planning: innovation: management:success


I love stories when big risks garner big rewards. They brighten the spirit, inspire others and dramatize the “possibilities” of life. Some stories like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak creating Apple in their garage are dramatic and impact society in significant ways. Others may be less significant but are still fun to share.

I am blessed with some colorful friends and fraternity brothers. One of them is Larry whom I’ll soon be sailing with in St. Lucia along with three other mighty sailing men. Besides being the single best story teller I’ve ever met, Larry lives life large and has an easy going philosophy of life.

Here’s a short tale that will give you some idea why he’s simply a joy to be around. If you like this one, don’t worry there are more.

You define the moment or the moment defines you. – Kevin Costner in Tin Cup


The fraternity poker game had been going for hours. Cigarettes, beer, and manly scents filled the air. Normally I would be part of this collegiate ritual but tonight I was getting back late from a date and found myself in the unfamiliar role of observer.

I grabbed a beer and chose Larry as the player to watch. Larry was well-liked in the frat, particularly for his poker participation. Larry’s modus operadi was to sit down and within 30 minutes donate $20 to the support of his brothers.

Tonight, I would learn precisely why Larry seldom won. After a few uninteresting hands, Larry was dealt the 3, 10, Jack, King, and Ace of Diamonds. It was a powerful flush in a no wild card game of five card draw. Larry had the hand of the night and he played the hand coyly with only one raise to the initial bettor. So far, so good!

But there was more to come. Larry decided to take a card! He threw away the 3 of diamonds to go for the inside straight flush. Was he nuts? He just pitched the winning hand. I just stood there incredulous at what I was witnessing.

Well, for those fans of Kevin Costner’s “Tin Cup” movie philosophy, (“you define the moment or the moment defines you”), my frat brother Larry beat you by 30 years. Larry’s new card was, in fact, the Queen of Diamonds. He drew in to, and got, the inside straight flush. Larry won, again, the hand he had already won. His rationale, similar to Costner’s golfing hero who lost the US Open, was “how many times do you get to draw to a straight flush?” Not many, so why not take the chance? Larry won the hand, and I became acutely aware of why he donated game after game. But it’s 35+ years later, and Larry’s inside straight flush draw is the most memorable poker hand I’ve ever seen. It was one for the ages. A story to be told.

Moral: “Thrill Has Its Merits” : Big Memories Require Big Risks!

Greg Pashke , CMC is  President of Pashke Consulting and provides business mentoring, strategic and tactical planning, and financial modeling services. Greg is a big proponent of The One Page Plan approach to managing the day to day performance of an organization. He is committed to continuous learning and skill development. Greg’s mantra is “to get a lot done & have a lot of fun”.

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