Life Lessons to Take Away from the Game of Poker

Ah, the game of poker – a battle of intellectual, psychological, daring, and manly personalities. You might see poker as a weekend activity to be played around the kitchen table with your buddies over a few beer, but I see it chock full of lessons to apply to every other aspect of your life. Strap yourself in for my top lessons that you can learn from the game of poker

Mental Fortitude

Poker is a game that has ups and downs. You might win a hand and lose the next, and you need to be mentally strong to refocus on your current set of cards. This applies to life in the same sense – you need to be emotionally stable and do your best to not make rash decisions.

Know When to Be Bold

Sometimes at the table you know the guy across from you has exhibited behavior that allows you to put him on a certain range of hands from. You’re confident you have a decent read and are going to make the play. In life you can take the easy and less risky route, or you can take the risky plays as they come with some foresight – it’s up to you. Either way, identifying a situation where taking a risk could pay off can benefit you on the tables and in life.

Identify Your Weaknesses

Maybe you’re playing too many hands, maybe you raise too often, maybe you fold too much. These are all potential weaknesses that you might not notice if you don’t take a closer look at your game and performance. The same applies to the non-poker world – take time at the end of each day, or once a week to reflect on your current situation. Are you doing the right things? Is there anything you could improve on? Patch up your leaks like you would in the game of poker and improve yourself!

Use the Resources Available to You

For online games specifically, there are a ton of poker training sites, analysis software, and communities in which you can utilize to become a better player. The same goes for the real world – why not use every bit of information and help available to you? Often times people enjoy helping others so seek out mentors, groups, and spend your time learning rather than watching TV. Time is your biggest resource so use it wisely and use it to develop your skillset.

Manage Your Finances

Playing at the casino with $200 in chips it probably wouldn’t make sense to play any games with blinds bigger than $1 or $2. You need to manage your stack size and available funds to keep you in the game and be able to deal with variance (winning and losing). The same applies to day to day finances. You need to be on top of your expenses if you want to be successful. Cut costs where you can and set yourself up for the future.

How to Deal with Failure

You might lose a hand you played poorly, or you might lose a hand you were supposed to win statistically like losing pocket aces against pocket kings. How will you deal with this situation and deal with the variance? The same thing can be said about failing in life. Are you equipped to deal with a strike of bad luck? Losing your job? These things can happen and you need to be prepared mentally to operate with the hand that is dealt to you.

Keep in mind that losing is essential for long term success. You need to lose that hand now to make the right decision the next 10 times. You need to lose that job to open your eyes to new markets and successes. Failures are only true failures if you don’t learn from them, other than that you must embrace it and realize it happens to everyone.

The advice all stems from the game of poker but certainly has showcased its application to your life outside of the game. I hope you can internalize some of these tips and use them to develop yourself further.

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