Raising The Stakes

No sooner had the novice scooped in a $5,000 pot, than one of the top pros at the poker table whispered into her ear, “Sweetheart, you don’t belong in this game.” But, contrary to the hotshot’s conclusion, negotiation expert, Wendeen Eolis, brought more than beginner’s luck and a fresh French manicure as ammunition  to her first big bet Texas Hold’em “No Limit” duel.

Negotiation is a power poker game  

Long before Wendeen sidled up to a green felt table, she had figured out in her initial business—the first executive search firm exclusively for practicing lawyers —that power poker is a mind bending game of bets, calls, raises, and folds that is only sometimes played with cards. As she expanded her business to include career management and executive coaching  she learned more about the nuance of power poker games. She began to grasp  this point in spades after she became the first woman to cash in the main event of the World Series of Poker and the first woman to do so twice.

She moved up the  power poker ladder into the inner circle of Mayor Giuliani's nascent City Hall operations, and then she took a right turn to become an advisor to George Pataki. She helped him strategize campaign tactics that toppled the incumbent governor and landed smoothly to become the first woman ever, as First Assistant to the Governor in the State of New York.

Poker is a serious business matter  

Thirty years after her initiation into hand-to-hand combat with a bunch of hustling card sharks, she looks back on her proven prowess at the tables where she counts 10 record setting performances as a pioneer for women in world class poker tournament competition.She says, the most stunning outcome of her poker exploits at the World Series of Poker and other tournaments around the world has not been been her historical cash outs--no matter how instantly gratifying. Rather it has been the exponentially grown negotiating savvy she has acquired and applied in business, politics, and other endeavors that have enriched her personal and professional life--far beyond the baize."

Distinguish what is important at each negotiating table 

From gray underground card rooms to upscale glittering poker palaces, her lessons in negotiation advance further at the poker table amid competitors of all stripes; colorful,  eccentric, adrenalin-hooked characters from al walks of life on a quest for cash, power, and perks. In the process, she learns much about the difference between the killer instinct requisite to win the game, and the balancing act that is critical to negotiating excellence elsewhere. 

Wendeen integrates 1) a honed respect for common sense with 2) a simple 3D personal philosophy of discipline, desire, and determination, and 3) an unending pursuit of excellence in four basic negotiating strategies.  She has sealed her reputation as an expert negotiator with mastery of a 12 point “verbal people reading system.”  In "Raising the Stakes," she melds her poker experience with her coaching experience with law firm leaders, CEO’s politicians, senior executives and special talent. She enlightens the reader, with real life illustrations on the art and science of making chancy judgment calls in a negotiation with confidence, knowing that with elevated verbal people reading tools, you can get them right most of the time.  

"Raising the Stakes" disregards the notion of mysterious aptitude and puts comprehension of complicated psychological research to the side to create clear and simple pathways to negotiating excellence for anyone willing to commit her/himself to the task.   


“To a surprising degree, life can be viewed as a marathon poker game. And, no matter the subject, the heart of the negotiation is in verbal people reading expertise informed by the power of behavioral observation. Those who read words, pauses, and silences most rapidly and with greatest clarity maximize their prospects for success across the board,” says Wendeen.