In poker, just like in life, every player has good days and bad days. And each of those days teaches us new things about ourselves. Poker in some form mirrors real-life situations and the decisions are very similar. Poker is a great teacher, be it at the table or out in the world.
On the outside, a poker player's lifestyle looks full of glamour where one would imagine travelling to exotic locations, fancy casinos, piles of cash to bet, endless cocktails and the freedom of being your own boss. To be honest, that is why a lot of people are attracted to the game. In some cases, it's probably true as well.
However, a serious poker pro would spend his days studying the game and nights applying his learnings.
At the onset, poker appears to be a simple card game played with friends or at casinos but if you're serious about playing it professionally, it provides so many opportunities to apply the learnings developed from the game to your daily life.
Here are 7 life lessons one could learn while playing poker.
Anyone who has ever played poker knows that they can't win every hand. And most of the times one would think they're ahead but that river card changes everything and all the equity goes into the muck.
They could be betting for value, only to get check-raised by the villain and they can't put it past a bluff attempt. Anyone can fall into this trap but only the best players can make a disciplined fold at the spot.
Often in life, we think we have everything and are probably invincible and we start to take things for granted. Poker teaches us that at any time any situation can change and we can never be too careful about our decisions. Sometimes we have to let it go.
#2 Bankroll Management
This is one of the most important learning poker provides us. New players to the game always try to punch above their weight after tasting initial success and often start to lose money at the higher stakes punching a hole in their bankroll and pushing them away from the game.
Good players understand it early that you should only play with money you can afford to lose. Poker gives us insights into investing your money carefully into opportunities that result in guaranteed profits without hampering your lifestyle.
#3 Risk & Rewards
Good players don't rely on just premium hands to make their money. They always have a bluff up their sleeve to be used when the opponent expects it the least. Time and again players go all in for their tournament lives knowing all too well that it might be the end yet they take that risk because they know they can't win the game on a short stack.
During a career, most players are often presented with opportunities that will require tradeoffs and only the strong ones are willing and able to take the leap.
A professional poker player's aim is not to sit at the table, make splashes and cash out after winning big. They play the revered game for long durations and try to increase their bankroll with one big blind for every hour put in. It takes a lot of patience and good decisions to have a winning session at the end of the day.
Similarly, in life, players get circumstances that provide initial short term gain, only to have it all taken away years later. Being patient allows them to take chances when the odds are stacked in their favour.
#5 Decision Making
Determining what cards are given is not in the players' hands, but how to play them is entirely their decision and success totally depends on it. The best one can do is play every hand the best way they can. In life, when the future is quite uncertain, one needs to make the best decisions possible to maximize gains.
#6 Game Selection
For every player out there, selecting the stakes and the table is of utmost importance. A table full of recreational players is a poker player's dream while a table full of sharks is a losing proposition. Likewise choosing a career path, the job and the employer are paramount to having a successful career and a happy life.
#7 Dealing with Bad Beats
Poker constantly dishes out bad beats and a good player is never scared of them. Poker is a game of odds and they can change at any given point in time. However, one's resolve and mental conditioning helps weather the bad beats and pushes one to keep going.
Just like that in life too, a player faces a number of setbacks and often fail to give it another shot in the fear of losing again. Poker teaches that bad beats are a part of the game and how one gets past them and continues to move ahead is what matters.