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Want to Succeed in Business? Play Poker

If you want to succeed in business, you might not need that country club membership. Buy a deck of cards instead.


Poker can provide the intellectual tools to make players smarter and more successful in business, as well as in life.

That's the claim anyway that card-shark academics, including those at The Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, make. Here are a few reasons that researchers suggest that you might want to start playing poker:

Poker creates allies. When Barack Obama, a newbie politician from Chicago, was trying to succeed in the hard-bitten Illinois Legislature, he played poker. He started a weekly poker game, called Committee Meeting, and wooed his wary adversaries. And we all know how that turned out.

Poker encourages strategic thinking. Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates' dorm mate at Harvard, has said that Microsoft's business plan was "basically an extension of the all-night poker games Bill and I used to play back at Harvard." Gates' poker winnings at Harvard also paid for a substantial amount of Microsoft's start-up costs. During the Civil War, Robert E. Lee relied on poker-based strategies to almost defeat the Union Army that enjoyed superior troop and weapon strength.

Poker improves interpersonal skills. If you can read players during Texas hold 'em, you could be more likely to succeed during a business presentation or when negotiating a contract. Plenty of U.S. presidents were poker players and Teddy and Franklin D. Roosevelt both named their biggest federal programs -- Square Deal and New Deal - after poker terms.

You can learn more about what poker playing can teach us by reading an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education by James McManus, a professor, who teaches a course on the literature of poker. The Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society provides this reading list for people who want to learn more about the benefits of poker.

Poker chip image by Lludo. CC. 2.0.

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