When I started playing poker several years ago, I never would have thought that the game I loved to play would help me in my business career. Yet, I believe the skills that bring you success at the poker table can also bring you success in the board room!
The top 7 things I learned about business from poker are:
- Table selection is key!
- Bankroll management
- Game strategy
- Continual learning
- Have fun
- People skills
Table selection is key
Table selection is extremely important to a poker player and can make the difference between winning and losing sessions. Similarly, in business plunging headfirst into the first opportunity you see can lead to wasted time, effort and money. Select your opportunities wisely.
Bluffing is absolutely required in order to be successful in poker. However, it can be one of the most difficult skills to master. In order to bluff, you must “act” strong when you have a weak hand and vice versa. This is usually accomplished through betting chips and managing your “tells”. In business, there are also times when you want to act strong when you are weak and act weak when you are strong.
If you don’t manage your bankroll properly a bad run of cards could wipe you out. Thus, in poker, you must choose to play at limits that minimize your risk of going bankrupt. Similarly, businesses must manage their cash flow if they are to survive. You’ve all heard the saying: “Cash is king”.
All successful poker players are adept at applying important strategical concepts in their poker games. Knowing which hands to play and which to fold, stealing the blinds, slow-playing, bluffing – these are strategies poker players use to win money. Businesses must decide which markets to pursue, which products to sell, how to effectively market their services, etc.
The best of the best work hard on their poker games. They study thousands of hand histories (in the case of online players) to see where they went wrong. They keep up to date on the latest poker strategy books and the latest software such as SNG Wizard. Continual learning is also essential in a business in order to respond to changing market conditions, implement the latest business strategies and products.
I find poker to be relaxing and fun. There’s nothing like the thrill of taking down a huge pot in an all-in confrontation or making a huge semi-bluff on the turn. One of the main rewards of entrepreneurship is that it’s enjoyable – even if it’s a lot of work. In both business and poker, it’s a lot easier to be successful when you have fun and enjoy the game.
Reading your opponent’s “tells” isn’t the be-all, end all of poker, but it should not be discounted either. Reading your opponents and projecting an image during a hand can make the difference between winning and losing. Likewise, people skills are extremely important to business people and entrepreneurs. The most successful business people are effective at managing, understanding, and relating to their coworkers and employees.