What poker can teach you about business strategy

Poker is typically thought of as being a game of pure chance – at least by those who don’t really understand it. If you’re new to the game, playing with friends for the fun of it, and making up rules as you go along, then the “pure chance” tag is completely justified.

When you begin to learn the rules, however, and understand not just the various hands and combinations that can arise but the role that psychology has in the game, you see that it’s every bit as much about strategy as it is about luck.

Here are five strategies you can learn in poker that you can also apply to business.

Manage cash flow

Poker is a great vehicle to teach anyone the art of money management. In real-life, of course, both individuals and business people make money mistakes all the time, living from one paycheque to the next. The same discipline and temptations apply to poker. If you fail to effectively manage your chips, you lose everything.

Know when to fold ‘em

Once you’ve gone some way towards committing a hand, it can be tempting to go all the way rather than risk what you’ve already put up at stake. However, knowing when you’ve beat beaten and having the courage to walk away from a hand that once showed you promise is key to staying in the game. That’s also true of business. If you go chasing a bad deal, it may just cost your company dearly.

Practice, practice, practice

Intuition helps but that only comes from practice. You can’t rely on just sitting down at the table; it takes playing and playing again. The good news is that you don’t even need to go out to play poker to learn these skills at the table. Thanks to the internet, you can do so online in the comfort of your own home. There are online casinos offering poker, such as Betfair. You could be learning these skills within minutes and increasing your ability to implement each of the techniques mentioned here to your business.

Keep your emotions in check

Sticking to your plan and style of play is paramount over running away with your emotions and letting them guide your next move. If you lose a couple of hands, the last thing you should be doing is chasing losses- that’s the fastest way to get blown out of the game. There’ll be periods where luck simply isn’t on your side but the reverse is always true, so be patient. If you chase losses in business, just like in poker, you’ll find yourself bankrupt sooner rather than later.

Observe your opponents’ play

Poker isn’t a solo game. It isn’t just about the cards you have in your hand, it’s also about the other players at the table. You need to note their style of play, watch for their tells, and capitalise on them when you can. This can help you in business, as understanding your competition can go some way towards ensuring that you get, and stay, ahead in the marketplace.

Poker may be a fun game to play but it has plenty more to offer than that if you have the patience to pick up some skills that you can apply to your next strategy meeting.