Success Lessons Learnt from Poker

Winning hand.
Winning hand.

Winning hand. Photo: Jonathan Rubio








I love business and sporting analogies – they’re usually pretty inspiring, if sometime contradictory. I came across these inspiring list of Poker strategies that transfer to the business world of an entrepreneur and found them really, really inspiring. Hope you enjoy them

Market Evaluation:

  • Table selection is the most important decision you can make
  • It’s ok to switch tables if you find out it’s too hard to win at your table
  • If there’s a lot of players who are irrational of inexperienced, it can be harder to win


  • Act weak when strong
  • Act strong when weak
  • Know when to bluff
  • Help shape the stories people are telling about you


  • Always be prepared for the worst possible scenario
  • The guy who wins the most hands is not the person who makes the most money in the long run
  • The guy who never loses a hand is not the guy who makes the most money in the long run
  • Go for positive expected value, not what is least risky
  • Make sure your bank roll is big enough for the game you’re playing and the risks you’re taking
  • Play only with what you can afford to lose
  • Remember it’s a long term game, you win or lose individual sessions, but it’s the long run that matters


  • Don’t play games you don’t understand, even if you see other people making money from them
  • Figure out the game when the stakes aren’t high
  • Don’t cheat. Cheaters don’t win in the long run
  • Be flexible, be patient and think long term
  • The players with the most stamina and focus usually win
  • Differentiate yourself – do the opposite of what everyone else on the table is doing
  • Hope is not a good plan
  • Don’t play too long – it’s much better to take a break or have a rest for the night, then come back to the table

Continued Learning

  • Read books from other people who have done it before
  • Learn by doing, theory is nice but nothing replaces actual experience
  • Learn by surrounding yourself with talented players
  • Just because you win a hand doesn’t mean you’re good & you’ve not more learning to do – you might’ve just got lucky
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for advice


  • You’ve got to love the game
  • To be really good, you’ve got to live it and sleep it
  • Don’t be cocky, don’t be flashy; there’s always someone better than you
  • Be nice and make friends – it’s a small community
  • Share what you’ve learned with others
  • Look for opportunities beyond the game you sat down to play
  • You never know who you’re going to meet, in new business partners or contacts
  • Have fun! The game is a lot more fun when you’re trying to do more than make money


  • The game begins before you site down in the seat
  • The most important decision to make is to know what table to sit at, this includes knowing when to change tables (you can make 9 times as much sitting with inexperienced players with lots of chips vs. a table with experienced players with few chips)
  • It’s never too late to change tables

Hope you enjoyed these. Big props to the very inspirational Tony Heish for these, taken from his book: Delivering Happiness – I highly recommend you check it out – I read it his weekend while travelling the Scottish highlands and it made for a fantastic weekend.

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