What Pro Golfers and Pro Poker Players Have in Common

min read
A poker player with cards and casino chips.
BetMGM Feb 22, 2022, 1:30 AM

Now and then you’ll come across activities or sports that might seem to have nothing in common, but then it turns out that you can use the principles of one to get better at the other. A common example of this includes dancing and boxing, as the former can be used to improve footwork inside the ring. 

While we won’t be discussing fighting (or intricate steps) in this blog, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the similarities between pro golfers and pro poker players, and how you can improve your skills and do better at online poker

The similarities between the players

Professional golfers and poker players might seem to be universes apart when it comes to their respective disciplines, but there are a handful of similarities between the two that could make it easier for pro golfers to make their way to poker tournaments, and in some cases, vice versa. Let’s take a look.


In almost any sport or activity, the mind plays an important role when it comes to the success of the player or how well a task is performed. It turns out that poker players and golfers both require strong mental fortitude compared to other games and sports. For example, golf requires prolonged periods of focus which can go up to four days in a row. 

Poker is a similar story, as major land-based and online poker tournaments are very rarely finished in a few hands or a few hours. Instead, it’s an intense grind to get to the final table. The biggest hurdle for golfers and pro poker players is the frequency and the general intensity of the events. Golf and poker tournaments are played back to back with no chance to rest. Stamina and perseverance are of the utmost importance!

Another important factor to consider is how pivotal each move is. One mistake could mean the end of the road for either player, as this could be hitting the ball into a bunker or overplaying your hand. To find success, you’ll need to have an incredibly strong mind while being calm under pressure, whether it’s on the fairway or at the felt.


Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard, and this is something that many golfers and pro poker players are familiar with. Every golfer has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours practicing various swings and putts. The same can be said for pro poker players, as they will have played thousands of hands in online poker tournaments leading up to the grand stage. 

The reason for the repetition is that many of these players are aware of their capabilities, and to keep doing what they love they’ll need to try to perfect their craft. By not practicing, they know that the chances of them getting close to the top are slim. 

Playing partners

Poker and golf aren’t team sports, but there will be other players around you at the golf course or the poker table. These players will either be quiet and focused, or they’ll use their brash personality to get inside your head to throw you off your game. Nevertheless, who you’re playing with will affect your performance.

As you gain experience, you’ll encounter various personalities and you’ll quickly learn what your preferences are when it comes to your opponents (not that you get much choice in the matter.) Here you’ll also learn to adapt to various competitors, and this is what makes the difference between good and great players.

Skill is a major factor

There are a variety of poker and online poker games available and one thing that they all have in common is that you need to put in lots of practice if you want to find success. Regardless of the variation, be it Omaha poker or Texas Hold’em poker, you’ll need to spend a lot of time honing your skills before trying to win a tournament.

The same principle applies to golf, as you’ll never see an average Joe make it to the top-flight of the PGA. Practicing various swings and putts regularly will make you an adequate player, but practicing consistently and according to a strict regime is what could take you to the next level. 

Improving in poker

You can take a handful of steps to improve your game, but the most important thing to keep in mind is to be consistent. Consistency in the form of a playing schedule or studying various poker materials will make a huge difference. Below are some tips that can be used to improve your poker skills. 

Understand the rules

Poker, like any other online casino game, has a set of rules that must be followed. While the rules may vary from Five-Card Draw to Omaha poker, the foundations are usually very similar. Fortunately, there are plenty of poker guides that have been published over the past decade and each one will provide you with various principles that will need to be understood. Poker guides are relatively cheap: Most books rarely cost more than $30. 

Focus on the mental aspect

Poker is a game that requires a high level of mental strength and this is something that will need to be addressed if you wish to be successful. Actively work on your focus and tilt control (recognizing when your mood or playing action is taking a dip) within the game to be at your best. This includes developing your ability to make important decisions in an instant. 

Watch poker

By analyzing the style and strategies of professional poker players you can get a good idea of what they’re doing and why. Stick to the streams of professional players and there will be one or two occasions where they’ll provide viewers with an instructional video. This content is free and it’s one of the most entertaining ways to learn the ins and outs of the game and pick up key tips. 

Stick to your budget

As a new poker player, it can be a thrilling experience getting started, but one of the most important things to keep in mind is your budget. When playing any poker variation, you’ll need to keep an eye on your bankroll as you should never use this game as a source of income. Only bet money that you can afford to lose and remember that once you’ve hit your limit, you should call it a day.

Stand a chance to become a pro with BetMGM

Unlike other online casino games, poker is a game that relies on a combination of skill and luck. By consistently practicing and honing your skills and strategy you could stand a chance of becoming a professional poker player. To get an idea of how good you are, you can play poker online with BetMGM and eventually participate in one of the many available tournaments. Register at BetMGM and play the best poker games as well as our wide range of other online casino games.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.