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Finish this senten new player--Stakes do matter

Posted By: channingW
Date: Saturday, 4 April 2015, at 4:41 a.m.

In Response To: Finish this senten new player--Stakes do matter (Stick)

In the early 90s, Michael Jordon lost 1.25M playing golf to a guy from San Diego. He claimed MJ only paid him 50K, so he wrote a book about it. I'm sure the guy wasn't 100% honest about what happened, but it paints a good picture of what you're talking about.

The guy was a scratch golfer masquerading as a 5 handicap, while MJ (back then) was an 8 masquerading as a 5. He and MJ started out playing for stakes he felt comfortable with, $500 across, if I remember right. After months of playing golf he was up like a total of 5 grand when MJ invited him for a weekend outing in North Carolina. Once there, MJ immediately jacked up the bet beyond anything the guy had ever played for. Plus, Jordon brought along his buddies to ride around in golf carts and talk trash while they played. The guy buckles under all that pressure and winds up losing 40K to Jordon for the weekend.

The guy then had a decision to make. He knew he was a much better golfer than Jordon. But the stakes had grown beyond what he could afford. He claims in the book that he mortgaged his house to raise the money. They played again in San Diego on his home course. He was fully prepared this time, winning back the money he lost in N.C plus 40k of Jordon's in something like the first 9 holes. He says after that Jordon fell apart, hardly winning a hole the rest of the day, while at the same time pressing to raise the stakes at every opportunity. After 36 holes they walked off the green in total darkness. Jordon was down $1.25 million.

This story illustrates for me that stakes matter, but only as a tactic. A bankroll in and of itself is never a substitute for skill. Stakes can have a negative effect on a player's mindset. But, eventually, the better player will adapt and adjust his or her play to the wager and it will cease to be a factor. You may have to mortgage your house in order to get there, though.

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