We all love poker for many reasons. It’s a fun and challenging game, it provides an opportunity to kick back and relax with our friends, and some people even make a living off it. One of the reasons that you may not have thought about, though, is that poker can teach us many life lessons.
Just like the mantra of every winning poker player is continual improvement, the same is true for life in general. To be a successful person, we should always strive to learn and improve ourselves.
One of the ways that we can do this is by applying lessons from poker to our lives. You can have fun playing the game and feel good about it too!
Don’t Get Tilted
A big part of poker is dealing with the upswings and the downswings, and the same is true of life. Things don’t always work out the way that we hope. Sometimes we get unlucky. Sometimes we mess up. If you let it get to you, if you tilt off, then your whole stack will be gone in no time.
A huge part of poker is the mental game: preventing tilt. Keeping your cool, whether it’s at the poker table, at work, or during a serious talk with a loved one, goes a long way to improving your win-rate, furthering your life goals, and enjoying yourself.
Poker players also get a lot of practice differentiating between the things that are and aren’t within their control, and this is an immensely useful skill across the board. Instead of focusing on the things that you can’t influence, poker teaches us to affect that areas that we can so that we can improve the probability of things going our way.
All things in moderation: this simple piece of wisdom, inscribed on the Temple at Delphi and extolled by Aristotle in his Ethics, has stood the test of time for a reason. To stay healthy, both physically and mentally, it’s crucial that we lead balanced lives.
Poker helps us to learn and practice this because the game requires us to balance our play or else risk exploitation. If we do anything too much or too little, then we can easily and swiftly become punished by a reduction in our stack. We have to make a conscious effort to add variety, spontaneity, and unpredictability into our game, all the while ensuring that our fundamentals are rock-solid.
Similarly, throughout our lives, we need to develop solid routines from which we can adventure, explore, and grow, just as we also need to focus on different things at different times. We can’t eat cake all the time or else we’ll get fat, but we also shouldn’t entirely cut out treats for the sake of our happiness and mental health.
The key is to take a balanced approach.