5 Poker Lessons That Apply To Entrepreneurship


A little known fact about me is that I’m a huge fan of Poker. I not only watch it on television, but I play it as a hobby when I’m not working.



I learned how to play poker around the age of 12-13 and fell in love with the game ever since. I guess the entrepreneur in me kicked in because poker is one of the most exciting games you can play.



Not only is it risky, but there is so much mind-games involved that it gives you a great adrenaline rush. From playing online to playing in casinos from an early age (yes they have 18+ casinos in California), I learned a lot about the game of poker.
Ever since I became an entrepreneur, I saw many things that relate between poker and business. In this article, I share 5 poker lessons that apply to entrepreneurship:



1. Don’t Get Caught Bluffing


The first lesson I learned early on in poker was to never get caught bluffing. If you get caught bluffing, you lose a lot of chips and you get humiliated in front of the whole table.



Business is very similar. It’s okay to make bluffs, but you simply cannot get caught. During negotiations, make sure that you do everything possible to protect your best interest.



You don’t want to lose out on a negotiation because your bluff gets caught or simply because you cannot deliver the promised goods to a client or vendor. Harvey Spector has taught us that it’s okay to play the man as long as we know what we’re doing.



2. Shut Up & Listen


The moment you sit down on the poker table, you meet 8-9 new people you didn’t know before. The interesting thing about poker is that each of these people have very different personalities.



Depending on what your personality is, you try to fit in as best as possible with the other players on the table. One thing I learned is to never speak unless spoken to during the beginning of your poker game.



As an entrepreneur, we all want to talk and gloat about all of our amazing accomplishments. However, sometimes taking the backseat gets us farther than we would have ever gotten.



By shutting up and listening to what others have to say, you can learn a lot. Use that knowledge that you gain by listening to others and apply it. In poker, by listening to others you can learn how other people play and use it to your advantage.



3. Don’t Gamble What You Can’t Afford To Lose 


Every professional poker lives by this rule. If you’re using your rent or car payment money on a game of poker, you’re going to regret it terribly.



In business, you must make smart decisions. Taking risks are okay, but you should be taking calculated risks. Don’t pull out a second mortgage on your house for a game of poker, but rather use extra cash you have lying around.



No matter what decision you make, you want to make sure you’re not gambling something that can be really damaging to your business. Whether it’s deciding to quit your job to become a full-time entrepreneur or simply deciding which route to take, always understand the consequences of your action.



4. You Have To Know When To Fold


The toughest part about poker is knowing when to call and fold. Making the wrong decision only takes an instant, but it can cost you hundreds of dollars.



As an entrepreneur, you have to know when to fold. If things aren’t working, you have to look for ways to pivot or to simply fold the business and start over.



If poker teaches us anything, it’s that there are always new cards coming. In business, laying one business down does not mean it is the end of the road for you. It simply means that many more opportunities will come and you just have to patiently wait.



5. Sometimes The Odds Beat You


You can do everything right, but still lose in a game of poker. In poker, emotions play key just like it would in business. If luck isn’t on your side, you go into tilt and let your emotions dictate your play.



As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly riding the roller coaster. Some days you are on top of the world while you can’t catch a break on other days. Being a smart entrepreneur is all about understanding that hard work isn’t always rewarded.



Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. Never let your emotions make business decisions for you because they will almost always end up costing you.





The thrill of playing poker is something I have enjoyed for many years and I continue to play this game. In this article, I shared 5 poker lessons that apply to entrepreneurship.



photo credit: rosswebsdale via photopin cc

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