The goblet was passed around the table slowly, as per tradition, but really just to give those around the table time to change their mind about wanting to be ruler.
After all, it's one thing to say you should lead. It's another to be able to but having to risk your own life. Would you be the one to drink from the section without the poison?
There was a trick, of course, a way to ensure you won, that the wise men would tell their chosen ruler.
But ever since they were out to death by one of their choices...