Great Poker Skills that You Can Use in Business

Young businessman holding a pair of cards against a white background.

Poker and business have a few things in common, and succeeding in either requires a combination of perseverance, strategy, skill (and a little luck.) A poker tournament can, in many ways, be reminiscent of an important business meeting – both require a sharp mind and observation skills, anticipation of the next move, noticing any bluffs, and playing your cards right. 

Read on as we discuss some vital skills for playing poker that can be applied to business too. Observe these skills the next time you play poker online, and see how you can benefit from transferring them to the business world.

Mindset

Poker is about the moves you make, the strategy you develop, and of course, who you’re up against. It requires a whole raft of conceptual skills: mental agility, focus, discipline, emotional control, and calculated risk. Most importantly, it requires you to show up in a good headspace, and be ready and mentally prepared for a challenge. 

Focusing your mind before the start of each day, each meeting, and every important decision is crucial in business too. 

Reading people

Being able to read people is as essential to poker as it is to business. When you play poker online or at a land-based casino, to be able to stay one step ahead you must be able to anticipate the other players’ moves, know their tells, sense when they’re bluffing or under pressure, and learn their strengths and weaknesses. 

In business, whether it’s colleagues, customers, or competitors, reading people is undoubtedly an essential skill. Understanding people and being able to assess the situation clearly allows you to engage in a meaningful way, get through to people, motivate and inspire, and respond in the best way – whether it’s seeing the potential of an employee and placing them in the right position, selling to a potential client, or responding to a competitor’s campaign.

Risk calculation

Whether it’s in poker or in business, it’s important to get good at calculating and managing risk. Would you put all your chips into a mediocre hand? Probably (hopefully) not – and you wouldn’t in business, either. Both poker and business are unpredictable, which makes measuring potential gains and losses, factoring in every possibility, and reflecting on the types of risk involved key to making the right move – whether that has to do with a bluff, raise, or fold, or with marketing decisions, budgeting allocations or project plans. Both at the poker table and in the boardroom, risk calculation involves performing some quick math, making assessments and using your instinct.

Money management

Close-up of casino chip stacks on a green table.

Money plays an integral role in both poker and business, so managing it effectively is a top priority for both. No matter how good a player or entrepreneur you are, poor money management is the surest route to failure and loss. 

Professional players consider their starting hands, opposition, and the stakes when assessing the risk, and always play to their bankrolls to avoid severe losses. They play at the right stake (not the highest,) set predetermined loss limits, and reinvest winnings into their bankroll rather than mindlessly spending it all. 

When playing online poker for real money, an inexperienced player does the opposite: there are no limits to their losses, they’re always hungry for more, and delay cashing out in fear of missing out. It’s not uncommon for beginners to raise with a hand that has no real prospect of winning, go all-in as a bluff or simply play a bad hand. This uncalculated behavior is risky and unfounded. 

Just like poker players, entrepreneurs are responsible for keeping personal and business money separate, spending wisely, minimizing loss, and increasing revenue. Thus understanding the psychology and skills of good poker players can be a great source of wisdom when applied to business.

Patience under pressure

Whether you’re playing online poker, at a poker tournament, or casually among friends, poker requires patience. Because you cannot play every hand you get, players who lack patience rarely do well in the long run. The same applies to the business world. Starting a successful business can take years; it requires commitment and endurance. Moving too quickly and making rash decisions creates unnecessary risk and endangers the longevity and integrity of your business.

Poker tournaments require a tremendous demonstration of patience and functioning under pressure. They start off with large groups of people who drop out as the days go by. When applying poker tournament strategy to business, we see entrepreneurs working hard, day after day, striving towards the potential at hand, all the while understanding the risks involved. Ultimately, those who remain focused and develop patience are those who are successful in the long term.

Poker face

A businessman sitting at a poker table with a large stack of chips in front of him.

Ah, the famous (or possibly infamous) poker face. This refers to a face that does not display any emotion, good or bad, so as not to give anything away. Whether a player is excited about a hand or in a desperate position, they should not flinch or give any hint or information away to their opponents. The lesson, here, is the importance of controlling your emotions and remaining level-headed. In business, while it may not be necessary to keep a poker face 100% of the time, good leadership skills include the ability to remain cool, calm, and collected, no matter the situation, as well as not basing important decisions on intense emotions.

Hone your poker skills at Borgata Online

Don your best poker face and register to play at one of the best online poker sites, Borgata Online. Not only do we offer a variety of poker games, both classic and live dealer, and some cracking tournaments, you can also find many other popular casino games to play at our online casino, including roulette, craps, online slots, and live dealer games.