How Poker Teaches You Life Skills

Poker requires you to calculate odds and read your opponents. You need to understand maths to assess poker hands accurately, and you must be able to understand people to sort out the bluffs from the killer hands.

To play poker successfully, you should only wager amounts you can afford to lose, you should understand the odds with every bet, and most importantly, you need to know when to fold. These are all lessons that can be applied to life in general. In fact, poker has at least five life lessons to teach us:

  1. Set An Ironclad Budget

Setting a budget and sticking to it is how you can play poker recreationally for years without slipping into problem gambling. It’s also how you succeed in general.

Playing poker well requires you to manage your bankroll properly, knowing when to take a calculated risk, but also when to cut your losses and conserve tomorrow’s bankroll. You should be able to track your spending in life and business as carefully as you do at the poker table.

  1. Learn Emotional Detachment

Poker can plunge you into moods of white-hot anger or bleak despair. It also delivers moments or unexpected joy. If you’re not going to be read like an open book by every opponent at the poker table, you must learn to ride out these emotional extremes.

Poker can teach you how to unhook yourself from immediate emotional responses; to instead cultivate moments of calm and rationality while you assess upsetting developments and adjust plans. This technique does wonders when applied to life and work, too.

  1. Play The Hand You’re Dealt

“Coulda, shoulda, woulda” is the sort of emotionally immature mantra that can leave both life and career stalled and aimless. Poker has no mercy on such wishful thinking: you make the best of the hand you are dealt, or you cut your losses and try again.

That framework is also a great recipe for action to improve your life, rather than lamenting everything you have going against you.

  1. Improve Concentration And Observation

Poker forces you to focus on the visible cards dealt and calculate which players might have the others. Apart from trying to work out mathematical odds, poker also makes you scrutinise other players, to see if their bets are a true reflection of strong hands, or pure bravado.

Being able to focus on statistics and technical details, as well as being able to read other people and gauge their sincerity, are all invaluable skills in every area of your life.

  1. Get Better At Taking Risks

One of the reasons you want to learn about probabilities and other players’ tells is so that you can remove as much risk as possible from your poker betting. But another reason to learn those skills is so that you know when a risk is worth taking if it pays off.

The same goes for life and business: the risk assessment you learn playing poker can be applied to your personal and business connections, and you’ll know when the time is right to take chances that pay off.