They just opened a $510 million casino about 30 minutes from where we live.

My sister-in-law got a job serving at the steakhouse there so tonight we went there for the grand opening.

After dinner my wife wanted to gamble a little. Neither of us had ever gambled before so we had no idea what we were doing.

My wife handed me $20 and I stood and watched one of the blackjack tables. I happened to sit next to a nice woman who gave me a crash course in blackjack.

She told me when to hit, when to stay and when to double down. The first four hands I was dealt I won! “Beginners luck,” she said.

I played for about an hour or so and the lady next to me, who was up $125, told me the most important thing to remember was that old Kenny Rogers song:

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”

This is also a good lesson for business deals. I’ve done several “performance based” deals in the past and some have been good and some not so good.

It’s easy to let emotions cloud your judgment and think, “Man, I’ve had success doing stuff like this before, I may as well throw caution to the wind and take a bigger risk in exchange for a potential bigger payout.”

But it’s that kind of thinking that got me in trouble before. For this reason I no longer do 100% performance-based (aka commission based) deals. I also make sure I get paid something up front. 

Why? 

Because you never know if that startup is actually going to get funded. You never know if the service you’re marketing is actually going to be as big a hit as the owner “knows” it will be.

Of course you have to take risks in business. But you don’t need to gamble.

P.S. I walked out $40 ahead tonight when I cashed out of the casino. I turned $20 into $60 in an hour. But I was tempted to put the $60 all in and see if I could turn it into $120. But instead I got up and walked away. It felt good to do that. I had some fun without being stupid.