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4 Professional Attitudes You Can Learn From Poker

By | Paulette Adkins

Poker is a very stimulating card game, both mentally and socially. A previous study found that card games like poker challenge the brain and improve mental acuity. It’s only natural, then, that some of the professional world’s most successful people play these types of games to sharpen their skills and shape their attitudes. For one, hedge-fund manager and author James Altucher makes his business meetings more productive by incorporating brain games. Altucher says that he only meets people playing games such as poker. And he’s just one of many, along with other entrepreneurs like Guy Laliberté and Bob Safai.

Unsurprisingly, these professionals have harnessed a number of positive and constructive attitudes from the card game. You can take a cue from them and pick up the following traits from poker

Lessons from Poker

Being process-oriented and agile

There’s no one way to win at poker, it’s a game of strategy. While winning is always the end goal, it may be more important to examine the steps to get there. The thing about poker is that you can do everything by the book, but you may still end up losing. Make a reckless decision to be closer to a win, and it may prove your downfall in the next turn. Instead, poker requires you to pay attention to every move and be agile. This is a crucial attitude in the professional world, too, as there are always unexpected challenges.

Reading and understanding your competitors

Professional poker players spend a considerable amount of time learning and researching about their competitors. They study the mannerisms and body language of other players. This helps them gauge their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, helping them make effective counter moves. Similarly in business, you need to take time to understand your competition to stay ahead of the curve.

Maintaining fairness

Fairness is crucial in maintaining a harmonious working environment. This goes beyond just the way you treat your colleagues, it also includes how you conduct yourself. In Poker, there’s something called an angle shoot which is an act that gives a player an unfair advantage. Even if that advantage isn’t technically gained illegally, it’s considered a disparaging move, effectively putting down other players.

When you take these types of moves in business, you risk damaging your reputation. For professionals, these hits on your credibility can affect your career in the long run. It’s best to hold yourself to the same standards you expect from your peers.

Choosing to work with the best professionals

In poker, there’s a type of player called fish, they’re usually an inexperienced and uninformed player. And more often than not, they’re at the losing end. While some poker players would want to play against fishes to guarantee a win, this is counterproductive. Sure, they may secure wins, but they’re not really learning anything new. Looking at it through this lens, they’re putting themselves at a disadvantage.

This is the same for working professionals. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t work with people who have less experience or are less skilled; what matters is that you have the same attitude and motivation for growth. After all, complacency can stunt your professional growth.


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