Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Poker and Entrepreneurship: The Striking Similarities
It’s common for people to view entrepreneurship as risky. Both the entrepreneur himself and outsiders will have this view from time to time. Risk, though, is also one of the best things about being an entrepreneur. It’s also one of the main reasons why entrepreneurship is so close to poker.
Both entrepreneurs and poker players understand that they’re not going to win every single day, that sometimes they’re most definitely going to fail. It’s statistically impossible to win every single time you gamble, both at the poker table and in life. The different between successful people and unsuccessful people, though, is that successful people have the money to lose without forcing them to give up entirely. In the end, you’ll end up winning more often than you lose.
Entrepreneurs and professional poker players don’t depend on luck. They don’t throw caution to the wind and take their chance on every hand or business deal that comes their way. Instead, they only play the hands that they’re most likely to win. This is one of the best ways to minimize your losses. Plus, when you see a good hand, you’ll have more money to bet with.
On the other hand, you should never go all in without first confirming that your assumptions are correct. How do you do this? By starting off with small bets. Poker players and entrepreneurs soak up information and thrive off it. They make strategic moves that are small at first, particularly when trying to figure out how their opponent or competition plays the game. It’s impossible to simply know what the other person is thinking. Poker players have to watch their opponent to figure out their playing style; entrepreneurs have to listen to their audience to find out what it is they want. Then, you can find small opportunities to further test their behavior, helping you to better fine tune your approach.
For entrepreneurs, there aren’t as many opportunities to go all in as there are in poker. This is when it’s best to take calculated risks and to only put all of your eggs in one basket if the odds are stacked with you.
Practice makes perfect, no matter what your profession. Nobody can just automatically be a successful poker player or a wise entrepreneur if they don’t have any experience in it. Professionals know that it takes many years to become an expert and they’re willing to put in the time to learn the ropes and perfect their craft.
Jonah Engler is a financial expert from NYC.