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How Playing Poker Can Make You Better At Business


There are lots of things you learn by playing sports, interacting with other students in school or college, and learning how to act or how to debate that you can apply in different places in life. Playing team sports or performing alongside others can teach you how to work in a team, which you can use in many life scenarios. Taking debate or interacting in a classroom can teach you how to really listen to others and think critically about the information you hear. The skills you learn when you practice playing poker, online poker, and different kinds of poker can carry over into many areas of life as well, particularly into business. 

It’s a game not only of chance but of a serious amount of skill as well! “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,” as the song goes. Learning what behavior signals what emotion in other people is an important skill; understanding body language and facial cues is essential in reading other players and knowing how to play your own hand. Let’s take a look at the many ways you can apply your poker skills in the world of business.

1. Learning How To Operate Under Pressure

Poker, like business, requires that the people involved are able to work well in high-pressure situations and also endure when things look a little bleak. In poker, you only have the cards in your hand and your wits to get you by in every round. You’re playing with a large group, possibly all strangers, who all have the same goal as you: the big win at the end of the tournament. The stakes get higher and higher as you get closer to that win, and if you don’t stay calm, you’ll slip up and you won’t be successful. The same is true in business. Your poker skills will help you to endure tough moments and stay calm under pressure.

2. Learning To Understand and Calculate Risk

Almost nothing in the world of business is a guarantee. Sometimes even when the contracts are signed and the money has changed hands, things go awry that you could never have expected. Playing poker teaches you to look ahead at as many of the possible outcomes as you can think of and be prepared for any one of them to become a reality. Though you’d likely need to be a mathematician or scientist to be able to implement probability theory fully in either poker or business, you’ll need to figure out how to prepare for the unexpected in both worlds.

3. Improving Your Boss Skills

In business, few things are as important as being a good boss. You need to guide your employees and the company at large through good times and bad. For some people, these skills come more naturally than for others, but that’s not to say they can’t be learned! Successful poker players learn to be adaptable, which is one skill a boss can’t be without in these times of economic uncertainty. They learn how to read people, operate under stress (see previous points), and even predict how they may react to a series of situations. These skills are invaluable in the boardroom.

4. Understanding Where Skill and Chance Part Ways

It’s true that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. However, it is impossible to know what actions are being taken and what reactions are forming all over the world at all times, and how they might impact you and your business. This is why it’s important to understand, as poker players do, where skill and chance part ways. No amount of skill in the world can change something outside your control, and no amount of hoping for a good outcome can make up for lack of skill.

5. Learn To Accept Failure

Defeat is a part of life. The sooner you learn to accept the fact that there will come a time when you fold or don’t get that deal you were hoping to close, the sooner failure can be transformed into a learning experience. Failure is unavoidable, so why not take what you can from it when it happens? The law of averages says that it’s impossible to win every game, so when you aren’t successful, take time to assess what went wrong and if your acting differently could have influenced the outcome.

Wrap Up

Every skill you learn in life has more than one application. It might take you a while to figure out why it’s great that you still know the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell (unless you’re some kind of doctor already!) but eventually, a day will come when your knowledge and skills serve you well somewhere unexpectedly. Enhance your business skills with poker skills, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.