How to Win at Poker and at Business

I just read an interesting article at BusinessWeek entilted How to Win at Poker and at Business. The title is much better than the actual article. Hopefully, I’ll do a better job of the article.

The main point BusinessWeek addresses is that you improve people skills while playing poker.

Acting persuasively, reading opponents’ motives, and handling the subtleties of a monetary transaction are skills the poker greats work tirelessly to hone. These same skills are essential for negotiating a business deal.

I agree, but seeing as I was mainly an online player, I wouldn’t say that people skills are the only similarity between poker and business.

I read a great post by David Sklansky (pro player and author) a few months ago called Poker Is Good For You.

Here’s a summary:

  • Poker improves your study habits.
  • Poker develops your maths skills.
  • Poker develops your logical thinking.
  • Poker develops your concentration.
  • Poker develops your patience.
  • Poker develops your discipline.
  • Poker teaches you to focus on the long term.
  • Poker teaches you that forgoing a profit equals taking a loss (and vice versa).
  • Poker develops your realism.
  • Poker teaches you how to adjust to changing situations.
  • Poker teaches you to adjust to diverse people.
  • Poker teaches you to avoid racial, sexual and other prejudices.
  • Poker teaches you to handle losses.
  • Poker teaches you to depersonalize conflict.
  • Poker teaches you how to plan.
  • Poker teaches you how to handle deceptive people.
  • Poker teaches you how to choose the “best” games.
  • Poker teaches you the benefits of acting last.
  • Poker teaches you how to concentrate on the important subjects.
  • Poker teaches you how to apply probability theory.
  • Poker teaches you how to conduct risk-reward analyses.
  • Poker teaches you how to put things in context and evaluate all variables.
  • Poker teaches you “how to get into people’s heads”.

I think I gained many of these skills in my poker career. However, many people don’t. Only successful players will gain many of these skills and many of these skills you would have gained at some point in life anyway if you gain them at poker.

Beware! There are many downsides to poker. That’s why I quit although I was making a lot of money.

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