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What Poker Can Teach You About Winning at Work

Poker is often seen as a game of luck, but at its highest levels it is really a game of skill, strategy, and psychology. Top poker players have learned lessons through the game that can also help you succeed in your career.

Play the Odds, Not Every Hand
In poker, the best players are selective about which hands they play. They analyze the odds and only enter pots when they have a statistical advantage. At work, don’t take on every project or task that comes your way. Evaluate opportunities and focus your time and effort on the initiatives that have the highest likelihood of moving the company forward.

Read Faces, Not Cards
In poker, much of the game is understanding your opponents – their tendencies, tells, and motivations. You need to get inside their heads as much as focus on your own cards. Similarly at work, really understanding your colleagues, managers, clients and competitors will give you an edge. Get to know their goals, hot buttons, and decision making processes.

Control Emotions and Tilt
Even the best poker players tilt or go on emotional downswings when they are having a bad run. But they learn to control their emotions and not make irrational decisions. In business you will face setbacks and failures – having the discipline to stay calm under pressure and make level-headed choices is crucial.

Build a Image and Reputation
Top poker players develop an image at the table – other players learn to read them in certain ways based on past moves. Building the right reputation at work through consistent performance over time opens opportunities and influence. Colleagues will be more likely to respect your perspective and support your initiatives.

In summary, the lessons of studying the odds, controlling emotions, building an image and tapping into the psychological aspects of competition all apply whether you are at the poker table or in the office. With the right strategic thinking learned from games, you can increase your chances of long term success in your career.

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