To succeed in life in general and the business world in particular, we need a combination of technical abilities, hard work, soft skills and of course luck. People who only rely on skills without the willingness to go the extra mile fall short of achieving their objectives, while those who work extremely hard without the trickery and the know-how may also be destined to fail. But above all, sometimes our skills and work rate may not be enough if luck is not on our side.
If there is one game or sport that requires skill, perseverance, elements of psychology and luck, it has to be Poker. In this blog post, we will discover Poker players’ skills that you can apply to your career or business.
Poker is all about money, which makes managing it effectively the number one priority for any Poker player. Depending on their starting hands, their opposition and the stakes in play, Poker professionals assess the risks and play according to their bankroll to avoid severe financial losses. However, there are many cases where greed or a couple of lucky wins can encourage players to make risky moves. For example, it’s always tempting for beginners to go all in as a bluff, raise with no realistic chance of winning or simply play a bad hand.
We can learn a lot about money management by examining both types of players. Experienced ones often play at the right stakes, set a loss limit, reinvest their winnings to build their bankroll and know when to cash in. However, inexperienced players tend to do exactly the opposite. Always willing to win more even if they are at a bad table, never setting a limit where they walk away and being afraid to cash out for fear they might miss out on big money. These money-management best practices can be applied to your business. Similar to Poker players, business owners have the responsibility of monitoring spending, separating their personal and business money and cutting costs when necessary, all the while increasing revenue and building up a cash reserve. So next time you want some money advice, make sure to watch a good old Texas hold’em game.
Attention to details and preparation
Poker is not only about the cards you have but also – and, in fact, more – about reading the players around you and playing your hand accordingly. Sure, having double aces or kings can give you a great advantage, but so can an average or even a bad hand if you can read the opposition and pick up the telling clues (and if the opposition are quite bad in some cases).
Prior to a game, top Poker players study their opponents’ every single move: how they have been playing, whether they are aggressive risk takers or serial bluffers and how they react to a good hand, a raise, the flop and any other possible move. Within a game, Poker players stay alert and attentive to check for clues and figure out what opponents might have, what opponents think they might have and what their opponents think they think they have. You get the point I guess. This way, players can enter Poker tables or tournaments with enough knowledge to develop a winning strategy.
Research, extensive preparation and attention to details are also the best practices to follow in order to further your career and businesses and overcome a variety of challenges. For example, if you are competing with a host of competitors for a deal, knowing their strengths and weaknesses, what their next move will be and how they would act in certain situations may mean the difference between winning and losing.
With a multitude of combinations, strategies and unpredictable opponents, practice is an essential part of a Poker player’s success. For beginners, learning the fundamentals and key terms is the way to start. Training and constant practice through online Poker sites and local clubs is the second step to ensuring a better understanding of the game and getting accustomed to different scenarios, hands and personalities. Finally, competing in high-stakes tournaments and joining local or online Poker communities is the final stage that gives Poker players some much-needed experience and self-confidence. Even the most skilled and experienced players admit that they still study the game, read Poker books and join communities to learn and share knowledge about the game.
One essential trait of successful business professionals and leaders is their willingness to continually learn and aim for excellence. Constant practice and reading books on related or general topics generally pave the way to excellence. Although there are no definitive studies on precisely how many books leaders and CEOs read, a look at some interviews conducted with celebrities like Oprah, Warren Buffet and others reveals how perseverance, practice and especially good habits like reading can help you develop skills and enhance your creativity and the desire to achieve more.
After learning the game, studying the competition and practising hard, the next step towards winning at Poker games is to have clear strategies that adapt to different scenarios. For example, Poker players know that the most effective way to beat a bluffer is to lure them into a trap when they have a big hand. Other strategies include folding when you’re not sure about your starting hand and playing aggressively, tight or loose.
It goes without saying that strategy is also the most important part of business. You can’t start a business without having a clear vision and strategy and a variety of tactics that you can adapt to different competitors and circumstances.
The thing that makes Poker an intense, fun game is the up and downs players experience within the game. However, a closer look reveals that no matter what happens, players often manage to keep their cool and don’t even flinch for fear they might give out clues – the infamous ‘Poker Face’. Poker face is the face players make to hide their feelings and emotions, from a small grin when their hand is good to a look of desperation when they are trailing. To deceive the opposition, some players also wear sunglasses, hoodies or even masks. The lesson here is that players who control their feelings and emotions are more likely to trick their opposition and win the game. In fact, this approach can be applied to many aspects of life, especially the business world. Great business leaders are known to be cool headed and collected and don’t make decisions based on their emotions.
So there you have it – the five Poker skills that can help you grow both as a person and as a business professional and leader. To finish the article in style, here is the most popular yet unrealistic poker scene from Casino Royale, where James Bond … well … was just being James Bond. Check for the clues, there are many in this scene: