Although poker is a game, it’s also a masterclass in psychology. Play enough poker, and you’ll find you understand human nature better than most of your peers. After all, poker requires an uncanny ability to read your opponent, determine whether they’re bluffing, and pick up on signs that another opponent is manipulating them. That’s a lot to unravel while trying to decide on your next move. Many of the skills you learn playing poker are transferable to the business world. We share a few of them with you below.
You Learn How to Read People
When you play poker online, learning business skills is probably the last thing on your mind. However, one of the most important things you learn while playing poker is how to read people. This skill can serve you in the business world as well as at the poker table; knowing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses gives you insight into what may be their next play. Poker teaches you how to spot when someone’s bluffing and how to counter them effectively. You have to know your competitors inside and out in the business world and do your best to stay one step ahead of them, just like in a game of poker.
You Learn to Deal With Uncertainty
Whether you’re a business owner or a poker player, you need certain skills to achieve success. As much as we may dislike it, uncertainty is a way of life. Although uncertainty is unavoidable, it’s often unpleasant, making us feel like we don’t have control of a situation. After all, one thing is certain in business and poker: we can’t be sure of what will happen next. In poker, you may think you have the perfect hand until you realize you don’t. In business, you may think you have the perfect idea for a new and innovative product until you find out a competitor thought of it first. One thing poker teaches us is to be prepared for any of the curve balls that life may throw our way, and that’s something we can use in the business world too.
Know When to Fold Them
Like many of the most iconic commencement speeches, poker teaches us that life isn’t always easy, but we’ll be okay with the right preparation. If you’ve played poker for a while, you know that aces are the most valuable hole cards you can get. While accumulating aces is usually a signal that a game is going well, that’s not always the case. As a game progresses, you may find that you don’t have the best hand based on the cards that are still open. The same thing often happens in business when we think we have the best product on the market, only to learn that the timing is off or the conditions aren’t amenable, throwing our plans out the window. Although it’s not easy, sometimes the best thing to do is admit it won’t happen this time and prepare for the next opportunity.
One of the most entertaining aspects of poker is the game playing that occurs as opponents try to mislead each other throughout the match. While we’d all love to leave the games at the poker table, any seasoned business person knows that business rivals often play games to get ahead. Just like a poker player prepares for the mental challenges of the game, you can prepare mentally and strategize to get a step ahead of your business competitors. If you don’t win, at least try to learn from them, so you can perform better in the future and counteract their strategies.