It seems to crop up occasionally, see for example this Wellington Fund blog post that uses the phrase:

It is not time for high-stakes Boardroom poker, but that’s exactly what happened at easyhome (EH:TSX)... At least I assume that some Boardroom poker took place, since a majority of the easyhome Board of Directors resigned simultaneously, including one Director that had been there for merely eight weeks. According to the press release, five of the nine directors just up-and-left, leaving two independents, a 29% shareholder Chairman and a CEO/Director to manage the affairs of the company.

What does Boardroom poker usually mean?

  • 2
    I assume this had something to may a power play like a bluff in poker but the boss knew he had the best hand. So in the end the losing hands were out. But I do not think there is a "Common" use of the term.
    – user4127
    Dec 29 '11 at 20:40
  • "Do it our way or we resign." ... "There's the door." ... "So be it, I quit" ... "I quit" ... "I quit" ... "Anyone else? No? Ok, shall we get to business?"
    – Xalorous
    Sep 29 '16 at 17:37

The intended use involves the power plays that occur amongst the senior officers of a company as they jockey for position through mergers, board control, takeovers, and other activities that are unique to the executive realm. A lot of this certainly involves holding your hand close and revealing information strategically and deliberately if it furthers your cause. And I'm sure there's a lot of bluffing and folding (resignations).

With regard to that article you posted, it's also appears to be a bit of a mystery from the outside looking in, because only the people playing know the rules.

A more pedestrian use of the term is an actual poker match with a high buy-in -- presumably high enough that only CEOs would have this kind of money to throw away.

  • Good answer. Definitely a mystery, and lots of bluffing and folding in that article! I've never read anything like that, when so many board of directors departed simultaneously. Feb 9 '12 at 5:58

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