You’ve probably watched Casino Royal where James Bond is a crime fighting badass, and also happens to be an amazing poker player. Poker ability and success is very linked. There is direct carry over from learning the game to other real life skills.
1. Ability To Start A Business
Many successful company CEOs know how to play poker to a decent level. Playing poker can make you a superior company leader. If you are interested in entrepreneurship don't think that poker is a waste of time. You can really improve your chance at launching at successful company if you learn this game. Take Charles Ngo for example, (the Mac Daddy of affiliate marketing) he wrote a great article on how poker has helped him become successful in affiliate marketing. Moreover, Geoff Woo (the founder of Nootrobox) says "In the business version (of bluffing), you're believing in this crazy, weird idea and making a big bet. That's what running a startup is all about”.
Our team here at Pokerrrr can strongly relate to both Ngo and Woo. Our CEO Todd was a profitable online poker player before turning the concept of Pokerrrr into an application. He enjoyed playing the high-stakes games in Detroit, Michigan. Todd agrees that the skills he learnt in poker were key factors in launching our now successful application.
2. Improves Money Management
Learning how to manage your bankroll in poker is similar to managing your real-life bank account. The inventible upswings and downswings in poker are inevitable. Similarly, in real life you might go through periods where your bank account is dipping down because you’ve invested into something with attractive future returns. How you handle downswings in your poker bankroll can be a lesson for managing your real-life finances.
If you lost a big pot, and are down to 75% of your bankroll, you might want to make an assessment whether you should stay at the table. This could mean asking yourself the following: Am I making good decisions right now? If the answer is no, or you feel on tilt, you should probably stop playing poker for the day. Some players are stubborn and will stay on the table and suffer the consequences of losing more money.
In day to day life, if you only have $300 dollars left in your bank account, it is probably not a good idea to go night clubbing that weekend or buy those $250 pair of headphones. That money might need to be saved for food and monthly rent.
3. Smarter Investments
The key similarities are:
Making decisions (bets/investments).
Inevitable up & down swings.
Knowing when to withdraw your money.
Learning these will help you make smarter investments in real life too. Even investing into a poker tournament when you have a decent chance of profit can teach you the correct risk/reward mentality when investing.
Tournaments like WSOP can have huge Buy-Ins 10,000 dollar entry fee. Even these are considered great investments for a world class poker player, since the payout is so large when you do win.
4. Better long-term decisions
The natural instinct when making important decisions is to make emotional based reactions. The reactions that feel will provide some instant gratification or relief. However, as a general rule, delayed gratification is superior and provide more favourable long-term results.
Poker is all about making the right plays based off the cards you’re dealt combined with the cards you think your opponent has. Making decisions for the long-term over the short-term can be applied to all areas of life, as well as goals you strive for.
Example for health & fitness: You started a new gym routine. One week you don’t feel like going to gym anymore, or you get ‘busy’.
Best long term decision = Persevere and continue with your routine.
Instant gratification decision = Slack off that week, and not workout.
Example for launching a successful business: Your building an import/export business, the first 6 months probably won’t be profitable. You’ll need to put in the hardwork and setup the supply chain, as well as key buyers & market.
After 6 months, it’s likely your profit will increasing at a exponential rate. In months 6-8, you cover all the expenses for the first 6 months, plus more!
It’ll become clear that lessons you learnt from poker are really paying off. You’ll be applying similar principles to all those times you did a huge value bet, and knowing eventually it’ll be paid off.
Instead of worrying about scaring some opponents away in the short-term and under betting, you learnt the big value bet was your best long-term strategy.
Your opponent raises the river, you worry about the possiblity of losing immediately but the best long term play is to call. You should always be going for the best logical long-term play. Without letting short emotions dictate your decisions.
Making better long term decisions over short term decisions is a mindset. Check out this 6,5 suited hand by Andrew Neeme.
Andrew depicts his thought process as to why he value bet 6,5 suited. He only has a pair of 6s, and made a positive expected value (+EV) decision and shoves in on the turn.
This makes it tough for his opponent that wants to see the river.
If his opponent does call, he's already got middle pair and so many good possibilities on the river.
3 of a kind
So he makes an educated guess that it’s +EV decision, and therefore the right play.
5. You’ll learn to be proactive
“You’ve got to be in it to win it”
If you’re too passive, you’ll only be sitting around paying blinds & antes. Even if you win these back on average, your hourly profit may be too low.
There’s many proactive approaches to learn poker. If done smartly, straddling in poker is a great example of being proactive in poker. This could throw off your opponent and put them into reactive mode, giving you the upper hand.
In life, if you’re too passive, you won’t succeed. You need to be proactive in getting what you want, and also be going after your goals consistently for adequate period of time.
Example for getting a job: You apply for your dream job as a video game project manager, you land the interview. Over a week passes and you still haven’t heard back. You can either sit back and wait or be proactive.
This could involve trying to call them and get some feedback. And afterwards, follow up the phone call with an email, and another email a few days later, incase your potential employer somehow forgot.
There may be a time where you’ve done everything you can, and you still did not land the dream job opportunity. But you’ll know that you left no stones unturned, and you proactively did everything you could.
6. Poker shows your true character
If you’ve ever been in really stressful situations you’ll act in a certain way. What you do when under stress says a lot about you.
In poker, If you have $150 in the pot post-flop, you bet another $50 on the turn now opponent raises $250, how will you handle this pressure?
Chose the best +EV play based off hands & situation. Or will you be overly aggressive/passive.
This could be a good indicator for what you’re really like in day to day life. If you’re overly aggressive in poker, it may be a sign you’re becoming tunnel visioned towards little things, and forgetting other important areas in your life.
If you checked out Charles Ngo article from earlier you’ll he says, “All I know is that it takes balls to fire the 3rd bullet”. He’s referring to betting for the 3rd time to represent a strong hand, when really you’re drawing dead.
It’s a test of character to consistently do the best play.
7. Builds discipline for other habits
It’s no secret that discipline is crucial to be successful in any field.
If you wish to get better grades in mathematics, then disciplined study is simply required, for an hour or more every day, depending on your natural ability.
Disciplined is a like a muscle, you can train it and be slightly stronger the next day.
Poker players need the discipline to fold/call/raise when they know they should, and grind for long hours. This type of will power directly carries over into all other areas.
8. Trains your patience
Sometimes doing nothing can be harder than doing something.
If you’ve ever tried to achieve a goal that requires consistent effort over time, it’s nearly impossible if you have no patience! Poker will train this patience into you.
To win at poker in the long run, you really need to be folding sometimes. This means waiting for the correct cards to play, or times to represent hands.
It may be 50 hands before it’s the right time to bait your opponent into your 3 of a kind and win a large pot. Eventually you’re going have to grind it out, because if you play every hand as a default, your opponents will adapt and you’ll end up losing.
You might even have to fold majority of your hands in tournament situations. Sitting at a table and hours have passed, you’re down a considerable amount of chips, yet you still need to calmly keep making sharp plays.
The player with no patience may shove all-in with King & Jack, and get a quick call by another player with Queens, Kings, or Aces.
Big losses are unavoidable in poker, especially if you get a bad beat. But if you lose due to a raise you shouldn’t have played, that will be teaching you a valuable lesson.
An article on pokerstars nicely explains nicely what it takes to make a living from cash games.
A few things to keep in mind…
a) Enjoy poker
As mentioned earlier, poker is suppose to be enjoyable, and the second it stops being enjoyable, you should question why you’re playing it in the first place.
For some it might be there source of income for them, or they’re trying desperately to improve. But if you’re playing poker for leisure, you should stop playing the minute you’re not having fun.
b) Bonding time with your friends
Playing poker is a great activity you can do with your friends. You can have a super casual game where you play on your kitchen table with your friends with zero money involved. These times are great regardless if you're using play chips or a real stakes home game.
c) Use fake money to learn poker
There’s no need to dive into real stakes poker when starting out. Play chips will ensure you learn to out play your opponents without the risking big money.
Afterwards, it’s recommended to migrate to Pokerstars micro-stakes with 1c/2c blinds. This way the losses will be kept to a minimum (a few dollars per table maximum).
Another question on Quora someone asked, “Can someone practice for playing online poker with real one by playing poker with virtual currency ex Zynga Poker?”.
My reply basically says that it’s important to beat people in play money before progressing to real stakes poker.
A key reason why we created Pokerrrr is to not only benefit poker players, but also the community as a whole for entertainment & education.
You reap some real life benefits from learning poker, they’re no joke.
As long as you play in a smart way, not jumping straight into high stakes poker in your first month of playing, there’s no downside.