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Business Lessons You Can Learn from Poker

Business strategists routinely cite several games when discussing the most effective methods to run an organization. Power players in the business world often refer to games like chess, soccer, and even poker when deciding upon what strategy to use.

Unfortunately, too much emphasis is placed on the knowns – playing your cards close to your chest, bluffing when appropriate, etc. These clichéd adages will not add value to your business operations unless you understand the psychology beneath these references.

Watch this video to learn Poker Strategy – Odds, Outs & Equity:

Poker Pros and Business Leaders: A Deeper Understanding


World-class poker players and strategic business people have many things in common. They know how to read situations and they both have big match temperament. Winning the war is what they do, even if it means losing a few battles along the way.

An astute poker player is much like an astute business person. Both of them have great mental acuity to understand what is needed in a situation and how they can make the most out of their resources and environment.

Of course, it pays to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. Nobody likes a braggart in the game of poker or in the game of life. And nobody likes a sore loser, too.

In business and in poker, everybody wins and everybody loses at some point or another. The goal is to smoothen out that whipsaw motion and build a strong uptrend over time.

Fold to Play Another Day

The world’s most skilled poker professionals take it all in their stride, much like the legendary business people of our time – Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson.

Business and poker are predicated on hard data and not on intuition. Professional online poker players dabble in numbers, whether it’s Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Stud, or Razz.

Pro players know how to pick their battles. They are strategic about the games they play and the competition that they go up against. They carefully pick the right variant of the right game and the right betting structure.

Whether it’s pot limit, fixed limit, or no limit, be sure that your bank account can service the game’s requirements.

It is no secret that the world’s finest poker players, such as Nate Silver, are experts at probability. They are skilled at adopting a multi-option approach to betting and the associated probabilities.

In much the same way, a typical business person cannot expect his high-tech startup to be as big as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. That is simply delusional thinking. Poker players aren’t expected to continuously pull an inside straight flush either.

The game of life, like the game of poker, is based on reality. The shrewd player knows how to manipulate odds in his/her favor by molding the situation to expectations.

Defeats Serve as Lessons

Poker players and business professionals should bear in mind that losing is okay. What’s not okay is accepting defeat and not learning from it. Everybody loses a hand now and then since there are things that are out of our control.

If you are given lemons, learn how to make lemon juice. If you know you have an edge over your competition, make sure to maximize that edge by fully exploiting it.

It’s okay to sacrifice short-term profits for long-term gains as that is the name of the game. Many business professionals and market leaders make seemingly silly short-term decisions. Why did Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchase the Washington Post? We’ll know in the long term.

Perhaps the most important lesson we can take from poker players and business professionals is the following: Don’t throw good money after bad. You must know when to throw in the towel so that you can live to play another day.

Most skilled online poker players and traditional poker players sit out most starting hands. They simply don’t want to chase down pots with weak hands.

It never pays to get baited into a game if you don’t have the goods to deliver. Fold now and live to play another day. In a no-win situation, why waste valuable resources? If you’re dealt a poor hand, suck it up and toss in your cards. Be patient since it can’t rain all the time.

See Also: 7 Poker Skills You Can Use in Real Life

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