It’s difficult to spend the workday being stuck behind a desk. Work can get repetitive and boring at times, making it hard to be productive—even when you have the necessary tools to leverage to your advantage. While you may turn to sources like social media for productivity tips, there’s another way you can get it: playing poker (not during working hours though!) In fact, there are plenty of renowned poker players out there, like Bill Perkins and Rob Yong, who are talented businessmen, partially thanks to the smarts they’ve earned from playing the game.
However, you may think, “How on earth will a game help my work life?” Though it’s not as direct, there are several different ways poker can boost productivity. If you’re itching to know how or why, keep reading below to learn about some key transferable skills:
It compels you to give effort
Getting better at poker requires time and effort. After all, some of the best strategies in poker need a considerable amount of time and understanding to master. One of these is game theory optimal poker, which involves computation, statistics, and probability to become unexploitable—things you can’t learn overnight. Another is mastering ‘poker tells’ or actions that give away your opponents’ situation. Learning this requires reading advice, playing many rounds, and observing patterns—all of which take time.
At work, there’s also the need to put in the hours to accomplish tasks. Whether it is researching for hours, perfecting a presentation, or detailing a report, you’ll realize that there’s no other way around finishing it aside from putting in the work. Playing poker compels you to put in the effort to succeed.
It trains you to maintain focus
Playing poker requires great focus. First of all, you need to pay attention to know what moves everyone else made and when it’s your turn to make one. Next, constantly observing the other players’ behaviors helps you determine their tells. This can help you win crucial pots if done correctly.
Maintaining focus is one more similarity between poker and business. Playing poker boosts your productivity because it reminds you that staying completely focused on your work leads to success. It allows you to focus both on the details of your work and on the task of actually finishing it.
It makes you adaptable
You never quite know what moves your opponents will make. There can be tells but it doesn’t really matter once they make an action and it wasn’t to your expectations. As such, you’re constantly forced to make quick decisions like calling or raising in response to their move all while making sure it is to your advantage.
This is how poker teaches you to be adaptable. In business, things don’t always go as planned. Perhaps you set out a day to finally complete a project but a co-worker fails to finish their part. Now you’re left with the option to waste the day or help your co-worker accomplish their part so the day is productive. Whatever it may be, playing poker allows you to consider every eventuality that would impact the outcome.
It teaches you to commit
In poker, you can’t back out of an action. Once you’ve raised or folded, it’s already done. Moreover, going ‘all in’ or placing all of your chips in the middle is an even bigger commitment. Whatever the outcome, it was completely your doing. It is through this that playing poker teaches you to take responsibility for your actions. Once you’ve made a promise to a colleague that you’ll hand in a report that day, it’s now up to you to actually do it.
Playing poker reminds you to be accountable, increasing your productivity so as not to let others—and yourself—down.
Poker helps you become productive by compelling you to put in the effort, training your focus, making you adaptable, and teaching commitment all at the same time. Play some poker and you’ll soon see the results in your work life if you’re dedicated enough in developing your skillset.