5 Benefits of Playing Poker That Every Entrepreneur Should Know
When the stakes are high, the pressure is on. This feeling is oftentimes uncomfortable and stressful, in games as well as in life. Luckily, there are many ways to train your brain to handle the stress of such high-pressure situations. Playing poker is a great example: If you ask us, there are very few methods of learning to tackle resilience out there that beat a good, old-fashioned game of poker. A game in which luck, skill and mental strategies intertwine and come together in a true battle of the minds, wills and fortunes, equipping you with priceless life skills.
For many of us, however, poker also carries some very heavy connotations that keep lots of people from trying it out. In the minds of many, poker is associated with struggles such as addiction and money problems. This, of course, makes playing it regularly seem like quite a risk to take. But is that a fair assumption? No, not necessarily. While there are no doubt issues to be mindful of when playing for money, it’s important not to let this overshadow the lessons that poker could teach you – especially if you’re a budding entrepreneur. Here’s what to know.
1. You Become a Better Decision-Maker
The most obvious benefit of playing poker regularly is the way it can improve our ability to make difficult decisions. This is because poker requires you to make decisions based on limited facts and to base those decisions on your own knowledge. For instance, if all you have is a small twitch in the otherwise stony face of your opponent, you’re still going to have to make a decision about your own next move based on that and act quickly – and you will have to be OK with that. Thus, through poker, you learn to operate within a climate of uncertainty, learn from your mistakes and trust your own instincts.
If you want to try it out for yourself before you play against an opponent out in the “real” world, you can check out the best online casinos in the UK that offer poker. By trying your hand at poker online first, you get to know the ins and outs of the game in a more private environment – and even though you might not be winning much in your first few games, you can minimize your losses by using free spins and looking out for beneficial bonuses. Are you based somewhere else in the world besides the UK? Then there are also plenty of similar sites for other countries, providing you with an overview of the online casino market wherever you are.
2. You Learn How to Negotiate with Power-Players
People often talk about bluffing in poker and nerves of steel – both terms which you will typically also hear when being given advice on business negotiation tactics. In a game of poker, you sit around the table and observe your opponents while preparing to make your next move. Sometimes, their faces will be blank slates that almost nothing can be interpreted from – and if there are clues to their state of mind to be found there, they may or may not be genuine. Unless you know your opponent intimately, you never really know. Sometimes, their body language might tell you something, but other times, you will simply have to go with your gut instincts.
No matter what the situation is, poker will often imitate life in that way: Here, you will experience the very same tension you might feel when negotiating a tough deal with a business or when facing a difficult discussion at work. And so, by playing poker regularly, you get to practice the mentality it takes to stand your ground despite uncertainty and power dynamics being against you.
3. You Get a Knack for Reading People
It is precisely the learning of negotiation skills like those described above that makes poker such a great game. It forces the players to concentrate and read the people around them in a whole new way. One person who sees the value of this is Professor Victoria Medvec from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois in the US.
Focusing on women in leadership, she – along with other faculty members and real-life poker champions – offers poker courses with the aim of teaching women how to use the skills from poker in real-life business settings. The aim, among other things, is to teach the students emotional intelligence when reading and presenting themselves to others and to be proactive instead of risk-averse – all lessons that playing poker regularly will teach you.
4. You Experience a Boost in Confidence
There is no doubt that poker is a tough game to master. But once you nail it and finally get to experience the truly euphoric ecstasy of winning something, it can be a real confidence booster. And it’s important to maintain a growth mindset and remember that there are no small victories: Even such a basic thing as simply learning the rules and getting the hang of the game will feel like a major win for some people.
When you experience this wonderful feeling of being able to conquer anything, it’s important to make the most of it. Take this newfound extra confidence of yours and pour it into your business ventures, whether that is a tech startup or a creative pursuit. Confidence is contagious, and it is one of the prime pillars of growth.
5. You Learn How to Fail
However, we must also not forget the very reason why poker is such a risky game that leads to great victories and massive losses: It’s a gamble. And as with most games of that nature, failure sooner or later is inevitable for anyone who plays. And unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen to you once; it might very well occur several times. That is why poker is such a good learning tool for entrepreneurs: It teaches us how to cope with failure and learn from our mistakes.