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Phil Gordon is a professional poker player, teacher, television analyst, and author. Phil is one of only five people in the world to have won a World Poker Tour event[…]

Phil Gordon on behavioral techniques that work.

Gordon:    I can think of numerous examples where I’ve used poker skills at the negotiating table.  One of my favorite reads of my opponent happened with an investor in my last company, and we were negotiating a point and he just kept, the [tenor] of the conversation just kept getting louder and louder and louder and louder and louder on his part, and, at that point, I knew that this was a point that he was willing to concede.  And in poker, basically, you know, the more aggressive your opponent is acting, the less likely they are to actually have a good hand, and I think that this proves itself over and over and over again.  You know, he’s basically elevating his voice because this is a point that he really wants to win but he doesn’t believe in as much as he want you to believe.  So, you know, he was clearly acting more disturbed than anyone would have been about this particular point.  I knew that he was going to be willing to cave in eventually if I just stuck to my guns.  The guys that you really have to worry about when you’re negotiating a point are the guys that are just super calm and don’t raise their voice and don’t get animated about that point.  Now you know that that’s a point that they’re really, really strong on and you’re very unlikely to win.