Poker was a game confined to the casino and dingy backstreet gaming dens before its explosion in popularity, which was linked to the internet revolution in the late 1990s and 2000s.
The lexicon of poker has long been in the vocabulary of wider society though. We hear of people “keeping a poker face”, of those who are “raising the stakes” or “bluffing away”, and so clearly the ever-popular card game has had an impact on everyday life – even for those who don’t play it.
If you are a keen player, from Texas Hold’em poker to Caribbean Stud, then here are some ways that you can use the skills you have learned at the table in your day-to-day life – often, in ways that will benefit you either personally or professionally.
When you’re dealt your opening cards, and the time comes to decide whether to check, bet, rise or fold post-flop, the automatic mental process you go through is calculating your odds of success.
Being able to quickly weigh up probabilities is a useful skill to have in life. The quick-witted very rarely tend to lose arguments, and in a business capacity, the ability to crunch the numbers on the spot can lead to more efficient decision-making.
What an asset it is to be able to calculate when you are in a position of strength – or otherwise – in any given situation, whether in your personal life or in the workplace.
What separates a bluff from a lie?
Lying has negative connotations, of course, in that the deception is often designed to hurt another person.
Bluffing is akin to a white lie, where nobody really gets hurt but your own position is strengthened.
A good bluffer at the poker table can usually dominate the game – after all, none of your opponents can accurately predict the strength of your hand given how expertly erratic you have been behaving.
The art of the bluff can be celebrated in everyday life too. In many ways, we all regularly bluff: you might be having discussions about a pay rise in your workplace, or you might call up your energy supplier threatening to leave – knowing full well that you might be offered a better deal to stay.
If you can hide your emotions behind the classic “poker face”, then you will find that you can be the dominant force in many discussions and negotiations.
Without the ability to manage your bankroll effectively, you’re not going to enjoy a long and fruitful online poker career.
Watching your chip stack dwindling as you continue to make poor decisions is one of the harshest lessons that poker “newbies” learn.
However, it’s all good experience, and soon enough you will know when to call, when to raise, and when to run for the hills.
It goes without saying that canny financial management is an important skill in life as it is in poker, and your perceived “success” in both aspects will be determined by knowing when to spend and when to save.
Have you ever gone “full tilt” at the poker table? You know, going all-in with a terrible hand on the back of a bad beat?
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one to fall foul of the rule of the tilt, but you will have learned the hard way that betting while emotional is not smart.
Similarly, in life, trying to make important decisions while angry, upset or even ridiculously happy – yep, it works both ways folks – might not yield positive results.
In poker, players are advised to keep a level head at all times, no matter if you suffer a bad beat or enjoy a huge chip win. That calm, clinical nature is a useful attribute for everyday life too.
There will be a time in your poker career when you get dealt pocket aces, and knowing how to best maximise their promise is crucial.
Some will raise too hard and scare away their fellow players, while others won’t milk their position of power effectively enough.
Knowing when you’re in a position of power in life is important, but knowing how to leverage the scenario to its full advantage is even more important.
In many poker games, you will go through periods of receiving terrible cards during the pre-flop.
What do you do? Do you keep folding and wait for a better combination to come along, or do you try to huff and bluff your way through the flop and hope that something useful turns up?
In this scenario, patience is often a virtue, and time spent waiting for a better hand is time spent well.
As the Rolling Stones sang, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, and often showing patience and discipline is essential.
Whether it’s in your personal relationships or in your job, being patient – maybe it is understanding a position your friends or loved ones have taken that you don’t agree with, or waiting for the right time to ask for a pay rise or seek a promotion – will often yield better results in the long run.
The beauty of poker is that it is a game with universal appeal that can be enjoyed by anyone – all you need is an internet connection and a knowledge of the rules (and to be aged 18 or over, of course!).
The nature of the beast is that you will come up against all sorts of different personalities at the poker table, from the aggressive to the conservative, the flamboyant to the stoic, the emotional to the more reserved.
Knowing how to understand each individual, and also comprehending how to spot and pre-empt their patterns of behaviour, will help you to outplay them at the table.
In life, knowing how to interact with different people is also key. This is a skill often deployed by management figures in business, and if you can display an understanding of how to manage different personality types, then it will surely bode well for you in your job.
Poker and life – one imitates the other in many ways! If you feel that you are armed with some of the skills listed above, then you could well be a poker stud. Why not test your skills by registering with Bitcasino, where we offer a huge range of poker games for you to enjoy.
Words: Sean McNulty
Images: Shutterstock and Bitcasino