Why Playing Poker Can Make You A Better Business Manager

The most skilled player pokers around can amass impressive fortunes. Top names like Dan Bilzerian, Phil Ivey and Sam Farha are all reported to have grown fortunes in the hundreds of millions. However, there is more than just pure luck involved in making this amount of cash, and those who have reached the pinnacle of the sport have done so through years of dedication and training. For this reason, poker is not something that many people gravitate towards as a sole source of income.

Despite this, however, poker can teach some valuable principles, skills and strategies that can be applied not only to our everyday lives but also to help us in the business world and level up our management gravitas.

Body Language

Mastering “tells” is an important part of poker strategy. Tells refer to physical or verbal actions that players make that can give you good indications about the strength of their given hand.

Common tells include sustained eye contact – or lack of, taking extra time to make decisions – or acting quickly, grabbing chips quickly or leaving them alone, as well as general levels of attentiveness and other forms of body language.

Few people are so controlled that they give away no clues as to their emotions and intentions, and learning to understand these signs can help you significantly in handling both client and employee relations.

Data Over Instincts

Poker teaches us that our guts are fickle and undependable, and while sometimes they prove to be correct, they shouldn’t be your only guide. Top poker players prefer to trust the math, the data, and the fundamentals over any mysterious feelings they may have.

This is a wise attitude to adopt as a business manager, and newly published research from the University of La Verne underlines that those who think rationally and analytically prove to have better judgement.

Decisions based on instinct are often in reality the product of unconscious biases and can ultimately lead us down the wrong path. Whether working on a marketing plan or choosing between two promising job candidates, you should always let your research and data act as your compass.


In an article aimed at people who want to become pro poker players, included being able to give yourself an “honest assessment” as an important fundamental to master.

Employees may dread annual reviews, but they often lead to unexpected positive outcomes. Training needs can be discussed, conflicts resolved, and workers who have excelled may have the opportunity to discuss improved contracts.

Many business owners are now beginning to turn the tables on annual reviews and soliciting reviews from their workers themselves. Often done anonymously this can create a protected space for grievances to be aired and in turn improve conditions for everyone – reducing staff turnover in the process.

Patience is Key

Finally, poker teaches us that gains and winnings are best acquired over time. Successful poker players start slowly, feeling their way around games they can afford, before graduating to bigger buy-ins when they feel able to do so. This kind of strategic approach allows them to learn from their mistakes without making heavy losses along the way – something which new business leaders would do well to consider.

In an article on ‘Small Company Strategy: 3 Vital Strategies for Success’, we explained how a commitment to testing and patience can help fledgling businesses to make fewer mistakes in their early days.

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