Comfort Zone

Even though some people disagree, I am an introvert.


Poker (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

Crowds, strangers, and activities I don’t understand are all things that make me uncomfortable.

A couple of weeks ago, my business partner forwarded an invitation to me.  One of our clients  invited us to his annual “Giant-Ass Poker Tournament.”

I haven’t played more than a hand or two of poker in more than 20 years.  If you do the math, that’s junior high school or earlier. I’ve never played Texas Hold ‘Em at all.  Thirty to forty people were expected to be there.

Crowds?  Check.

Strangers?  Check.

An activity I don’t understand?  Check.

I was planning to blow it off.  My partner could handle the social niceties, I could stay home and watch Dexter.  Win/win.

Saturday, I got a text telling me that our client wants to talk business at the tournament.

Cue four letter words.

I tried to get out of it.  I tried to play sick.  My partner–also my best friend and designated extrovert–wouldn’t hear of it.

So I walk into this tournament full of people I don’t know.  I was late.  I thought that would make a good compromise.  I’ll deal with the crowd, and ignore the activity I don’t understand.

First words out of the client’s mouth?  “Jason!  Great to see you, we just started, so let’s buy you in!”


I sat out the first game, and talked the business that needed to be talked.  Mission accomplished.

Half an hour into it, my friend sends me a text telling me to do a quick wiki search.

Teach myself to play poker using wikipedia while watching a $50 buy-in game played by experienced players?   That’s effen nuts.

I knew the hands, I was already familiar with the bet/call/raise process in general.   I was really just missing a few details and the mechanics of Hold ‘Em.

What the hell, it’s only $50.

I went out to the living room/bar area and pulled up wikipedia.   After reading everything I could, plus a few terms that had never previously registered (A check isn’t what happens when you bet more than you have.   Who knew?), I went back to the game and watched with a bit of understanding about what I was seeing.

When the second game started, I bought in and played until almost 2AM.  I had a great time and went home $150 richer than I arrived.

Leaving your comfort zone is, by definition, uncomfortable.   Sometimes, it’s downright painful.  Without it, you can’t grow as a person.   Find yourself someone who is willing to obnoxiously drag you into situations that push your limits.   It really can be fun.

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  • 1 comment


    1. I knew you’d be great at poker! Congrats on trying something new. 🙂 I don’t usually like crowds or strangers either, so I just talk to everyone really fast…makes that stranger danger feeling go away (usually). LOL.

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