Poker, much like most other forms of competition, has real-life parallels. The skills you learn grinding it out on the felt have more use than just getting your opponent to jam into your nut flush (although that is important). Controlling emotions, dissecting other players’ intentions, and proper management of funds are but a few of the abilities you can use to succeed in the actual world, be it in relationships, your job, or day-to-day life. Check out our list below for our top ten poker life lessons.
1. Bankroll management is key. Don’t spend outside of your means and don’t fall into the trap of trying to keep up with friends/neighbors/competitors. Remember that every dollar saved is a dollar earned. The little things add up, and everything counts. Optimize your spending/costs.
2. Learn to control your emotions, your ego, and your mindset. Be patient and don’t get angry–one bad hand or minute where you lack discipline can destroy a whole day (or year’s) worth of work. Remain focused. Always.
3. Recognize your own weaknesses/flaws and work to overcome them. People who blame “luck” or outside circumstances for their misfortunes are lifetime losers and will continue to make the same mistakes time and time again. If you don’t try to improve, you will never win.
4. Time is more valuable than money.
5. Look at the long-term picture and pay attention to the sample size. Life is a long-term game—don’t make short-term decisions.
6. Each person you encounter will have different opinions, tendencies, and attitudes. You will have to approach each person differently in order to get the outcome you want. You can’t get directly into their heads, but you can try to gain as much knowledge as possible in order to manipulate people into getting what you want.
7. The trick to getting rich isn’t by taking on the strongest players; it’s by finding an untapped market with less competition and taking advantage.
8. Dealing with disappointment is a major key to success. Sometimes, despite making the best possible decisions, you are going to lose. Don’t be results orientated—just keep trying to make the optimal decisions. Be confident, even in defeat. The world is full of random events outside of you control, so don’t stress out or lose sleep over everything.
9. In life, there are heaters, downswings, and breakeven stretches. At some point you will run worse than you could ever thought possible. To quote Fred Jung from Blow, “Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.” Deal with it.
10. Never underestimate the power of luck.