All In? 5 Reasons Why Poker Players Make The Best Entrepreneurs

I’m guessing you have never been asked to play a game of Texas Hold’em in a job interview before. Fortunately if you had, a lot of your foundational skills and characteristics would present themselves: a couple of hands of poker transpires the real you and sheds light on your entrepreneurial position.

Sure, after hitting up Netflix for a couple of hours, having watched everything from “Casino Royal” to Matt Damon’s “Rounder”, you’ll get this glorified and  complete picture of what a Poker player really is like; the craggy individualist, vaguely superstitious, without any family or friends, who is just a razor-sharp mind dulled by alcohol when not being around at the poker table.

But then reality kicks in. Don’t be fooled, poker is a game of skill. An art that is accompanied with essential elements of strategy, management, probability calculations and of course, psychology – elements other games simply don’t have.

With that being said, you can see the skills that are commonly associated with entrepreneurship. If not, well:

1. Logical reasoning

If there is one thing I’m sure of, it is that nothing is for sure. Poker players know this better than anyone. And similar to entrepreneurship, it means assessing and analyzing risks by reducing uncertainties, strategically mapping out different possibilities.

2. Reading the opponent

From the perspective of a TV screen, you really can’t see much – you can’t see what goes on behind the curtains of every player. You can’t see the way they read their opponents, the way they work their magic, carefully analyzing the hand-movements, trying to figure out the opponent’s complete strategy, gaining predictability over the other player’s behavior.

You see, gaining insight into the competition isn’t only valuable to know when the competition is taking on uncalculated risks, but also to predict their projected moves, figuring out what risks they are willing to take on and which ones they are not.

3. Seizing moments and opportunities

“A pair of balls beats everything”, or if you want a little more professional way of putting it “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” It’s simple, as soon as you have planned out a strategic plan, gotten a feel of what the odds are and measured your stakes, all you have to do is ride the wave.

As an entrepreneur, every opportunity is a chance for you to step up your game, a moment to embrace your future!

4. Differentiating between long-term and short-term goals

Poker has plenty of components and essential elements that play out the end-result of any hand. But if there was that something, that thing that would distinguish success from failure, its temporality. Temporality is key in poker. Now this doesn’t only apply to when choosing the right moment to strike, but also when analyzing your own performance.

A few setbacks or failures at an initial stage isn’t the end, it doesn’t mean you’re supposed to cash in your chips and call it a night; it means that you just might have to re-think your strategy, allocating your time and resources to the right, different, areas; strategically and controllably moving forward.

This is very similar to business. Being able to distinguish between long- and short-term goals is key in order to keep yourself in check, understanding that just because the effect is taking longer time to materialize doesn’t mean you’re off track.

5. Managing the green

Keeping an eye on and managing, not only your stack, but other players’ finance, is important! A poker player, just like an entrepreneur, should absolutely not let himself be fooled by someone else’s stack, and instead, should be working on wearing them down, chip by chip.

Picture Credit: We Heart It