Making crucial business decisions is no easy task. If it was, everyone would choose to become an entrepreneur. A successful businessperson requires several core attributes that give them the energy, the belief, and the focus to get a start-up off the ground and into a profitable position.
Whether you’re striving to become the next e-commerce king, an innovator in fintech or a trend-setter in automated engineering, you’ll be stunned to discover that playing poker and appreciating the psychology of this classic card game can help you to develop the necessary mental fortitude to succeed in the dog-eat-dog world of business.
Simply put, those who are well-versed in the art of poker psychology should be able to start a business and take calculated risks, accepting the fine margins between success and failure. There is no doubt that the value of poker psychology is immense, as it encourages players to develop the right attitude, in addition to a strong emotional core.
Not only is poker psychology about being present in the heat of battle, it’s also about keeping a level head when all around you are losing theirs. Sounds like something you could use in business?
Here are four crucial poker-playing attributes that translate seamlessly into entrepreneurship:
Being calm under fire
At the poker table, there is often a lot riding on the turn of the next card. Whether it’s money or bare-faced ego, poker is a game where players are put under the pump. Those that are prepared to face up to such intense showdowns prevent their body language from speaking on their behalf and keep a clear head generally win the big bucks.
The most successful poker players are those that play the statistics rather than the amount of money available to win in the middle of the table. They aren’t phased by winning – or losing – hundreds of dollars. Instead, they want to play poker when the odds are firmly stacked in their favor.
This attitude is equally effective in business. Staying calm and picking your battles is an admirable attribute in any entrepreneur. In terms of playing the statistics rather than chasing the profits, entrepreneurs need to keep a calm, collected head to pinpoint gaps in respective marketplaces that can help define – or even redefine – their company’s unique selling points. Learning to filter out the noise and hone in on their industry’s critical data is vital for any entrepreneur to carve a niche for themselves.
Staying emotionally zen-like
Accepting the variance of poker is one of the significant hurdles for any new poker player to overcome. You can play an optimal strategy and still experience the cards going against you on the all-important river.
Learning to roll with the punches and accept the downswings is vital for poker players to avoid the emotional conflict known as “tilt” in the poker community. Tilt occurs when a player feels wronged by the outcome of a poker hand and begins to behave irrationally in a bid to chase their losses.
Remaining emotionally balanced is a crucial asset for any budding entrepreneur, particularly at the negotiating table. Just like in poker, when you can never be 100% sure what cards your opponent is holding, in business it’s essential to keep a clear head and make the right move based on the opportunities at your disposal. Of course, negotiating as a business owner gets easier with experience, just like in the world of poker.
Maintaining that will and drive to succeed
Developing the right poker mindset can help even mediocre, amateur players become above-average competitors at the poker table. Those with the desire and drive to refine their skills by recognizing and working on their flaws will always stand a higher chance of making money in poker.
A key facet of poker psychology is maintaining a positive, can-do mindset. It allows the brain to cultivate the notion that success and profitability are entirely possible. And let’s be honest, any game with rules and strategies is waiting to be mastered.
Entrepreneurs require that same positive mental attitude to pick themselves up from unexpected setbacks and set new exciting targets to achieve. Goal-setting is something else that poker players do very well.
Whether it’s building a bankroll by playing micro stakes No-Limit Texas Hold’em or winning that first multi-table tournament by beating a large field of players, poker players keep things interesting by continually moving the goalposts. Business owners that know they don’t have to follow a script and can go off-piste in search of new challenges invariably stay the course.
The need to be brutally honest and responsible
Knowing when to call it a day during a poker session is just as important when it comes to long-term profitability. The best players in Texas Hold’em poker are those that are brutally honest with themselves and can accept when things aren’t going their way.
Better still, the best poker players learn how to quit while they are ahead. They know the importance of being able to fold more than they’ve got to hold. Demonstrating responsibility towards their bankroll and maintaining a rock-solid risk management strategy keeps them alive to fight another day.
Similarly, entrepreneurs that can honestly assess their “babies” and pinpoint loss-making areas of the business and make ruthless decisions based on the outlook of their profitability in the future will be the ones that last in commerce. It’s not cool to be too proud in business, and the most successful poker professionals and entrepreneurs understand that only too well. Stay humble, continually reflect on your performance and learn from your mistakes.