How Poker Can Help You in Business

An ace card sticking out a business jacket pocket.

When it comes to success in life and business, it takes a combination of specific factors, including technical abilities, skills, hard work, practice, and, of course, luck. Those who rely on skills alone without putting in the hard graft are unlikely to meet their objectives, while those who work hard but have no skills are also destined to fail. Luck also plays a big part in our success, but you know what Arnold Palmer said about luck? “It’s a funny thing. The more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Now, if there’s one game that requires skill, practice, psychology, and a good helping of luck, it’s got to be live poker. And wouldn’t it be great to discover you’ve honed some transferable skills from playing your favorite card game that could help you away from the felt? We’re going to go through the skills gained by playing poker games online or live that can be applied to your business or career.

It’s all in your mind

Starting and running a business is no small feat and is as much about your mindset as it is about your idea. You need to approach business like you would an online poker tournament or a live game. It’s all about your mental conditioning: what moves you’re going to make, what strategy you go in with, and who you play against. You have to have your mind in the right place to succeed in both business and poker.

Learn how to read people

A man sitting at a poker table looking at his cards.

One of the most important skills that the best poker players possess is the ability to read their competitors’ “tells” during a game. This enables them to assess their opponents’ affinity towards risk and will determine the best moves to make. Good players also know how to read others’ strengths and weaknesses to be able to counter their moves. This skill of being able to read people goes a long way in the business world, too. You need to be aware of when people are bluffing or being genuine. You must also do your due diligence on your competitors to stay ahead of them. 

Consider every scenario

Let’s face it. There is little in life that’s predictable. This is especially so in both poker and business. That’s why you have to consider every single scenario, including the worst case, then plan your strategy to respond appropriately. If you are able to prepare for all eventualities, then you’ve literally covered all the bases.

Know when to fold

It was Kenny Rogers who sang, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em … ” You could think you have the best hand in a poker game, but then the cards open and you can tell you simply won’t have the best hand overall. Similarly, you might have the best product in your particular market, but unless you have the right conditions, it’s unlikely to be as successful as you expect it to be. It’s important to know when to make the hardest business decisions. And you definitely need to know when to fold, if the conditions aren’t right.

Develop coping strategies for handling pressure

If you’ve ever sat in a high-stakes poker game then you’ll undoubtedly understand what it means to be under pressure. You’ll also know that you can’t give in to pressure if you want to win the game – you just have to handle it. The same goes in the business world – you have to be able to withstand high-pressure situations and stick by your guns if you want to get anywhere without failing.

Never chase losses

If you’re playing online poker with real money, or a live game in the real world, it can be tempting to keep playing in an attempt at making up money for your losses. However, to keep going after losing multiple hands in a row is rarely a good idea. Chances are that you’re flustered and playing for the wrong reasons. The same can happen in the world of business – as you’ve probably experienced. The solution? Do in business as you would in poker: take a step back, realize it’s not your day, and make a move later down the line that’s driven by its own merit rather than trying to fix a string of poor results.

Manage your money responsibly

A wad of one-hundred-dollar notes, surrounded by poker chips and playing cards.

Although playing poker is enjoyable, it’s largely the money side of things that drives the game. This makes managing money in poker the number one priority. Depending on the opposition, the stakes in play, and the opening cards, the best poker players will assess the risk to any given game and use their bankroll accordingly. They know the best time to avoid massive financial implications. However, there are too many cases in which greed, or some lucky wins, have encouraged a player to put in more money than they can afford. These risky moves rarely pay off. Bankroll management is just as important in business, of course.

You have to know when to set a loss limit at the right stakes, reinvest your winnings (or equivalent) to build what you have to play with, and know when you need to call it a day and cash in. This helps you to monitor spending, set budgets, and cut costs — while still increasing revenue, profit, and savings. 

Integrity is key

Whether you’re in business or a poker game, you have to be able to hold yourself accountable. You must choose the right stakes to play, how much to invest, how much time to spend on a game or deal, and everything else in between. You should be prepared to draw a line in the sand. Playing too much poker isn’t constructive – and the same goes for business if you’re investing too much in the wrong thing. When (or before) your business starts affecting your personal or family life and finances, it’s time to consider making a change.

Develop your online poker skills with BetMGM

As we’ve seen, poker’s a strategic card game that can help you in your business life and career. The best way to learn from lessons is to keep practicing. At BetMGM, we offer many exciting ways you can play poker online – from Texas Hold’Em to live dealer games and much more. Register with BetMGM to take advantage of our variety of poker and other casino games. We have a broad selection that includes online slots, table games, and much more. We even have a sportsbook at our online casino if you’re looking for a completely different gambling experience.