Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bubble Boy

The last person to get knocked out of a poker tournament before they get to the cash payouts is called the "Bubble Boy." Celebrating the arrival of the Bubble Boy is great fun for everyone but, you guessed it, the Bubble Boy.

I watched a World Series of Poker broadcast the other night when they were going to "break the bubble" and get into the cash. Poker celebrities were talking about the misery of being the Bubble Boy, their own experience with the bubble and their hopes for this year. They all took pity on the Bubble Boy, except Daniel Negreanu, a well-known Canadian player. Daniel celebrated the Bubble Boy as someone who took a risk when they were close to the reward. He said they could walk away and people should say, "there's a guy who is going to be a great poker player."

I think there's two ways to have a career, and one of them looks a lot like the Bubble Boy. You can choose to be the methodical, incremental value creator or you can be the make-it-or-break-it person, the one that succeeds and fails a dozen times. The one that creates stories worth telling - about the times they hit and the times they missed.

Sometimes that person has to walk away from the table, but it doesn't have to be in shame. Someone will be saying, "there's a guy who is going to do great things."

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