Why Are Female Business Leaders Taking Poker Lessons?

Both business and poker involve interchangeable values and skills, which can lead to success in both fields. Considering how both areas employ specific techniques and strategies in their processes, it’s unsurprising that poker lessons can potentially accelerate careers. As shared by poker champion and psychologist Maria Konnikova, poker can teach people to be mentally tough and get through uncertainties, which is especially important for female business owners who face constant hurdles. Konnikova highlights how poker is a strong learning tool to stay focused on your own emotions, decisions, actions, and reactions — leaving little room for external noise. Having this positive learning mindset can help business owners build proper leadership and, eventually, business growth. This article will cover how female business leaders benefit from poker lessons.

Poker builds confidence

In the workplace, as many as 80% of women struggle with low self-esteem. This lack of confidence and visibility can hold back career advancement, even if they have the skills for a higher position. As female business leaders, you need to do away with self-doubt to take charge of your company. Poker allows leaders to practice their decision-making skills — leaving room for more assertive plays and even bluffs. Instead of being set back by failures, you can turn losses and frustration into learning experiences to improve future performance. For example, with over a billion active users on social media Instagram alone, it may seem difficult and discouraging to market your own business. While it may be tempting to lower prices to attract customers, keeping confident in the quality of your products or services is essential for retaining a sustainable business. These practices can help female business leaders affirm their capabilities and help lead their business success.

Poker develops strategic thinking

Poker is a game of strategy and skill, despite the common misconception that it’s completely reliant on luck. As such, players often develop strong analytical skills. Case in point, Vanessa Selbst – one of the best female poker players of all time – has just under $12 million in live tournament winnings, having secured three World Series of Poker bracelets in open events. Selbst, a former lawyer and Yale University graduate, has since retired from the poker scene in 2019, opting instead to pursue a position at a hedge fund. Through her experience playing on the felt, Selbst learned to keep a cool head and make decisions based on logic and observation. For instance, an owner of a food business may order extra stock and prepare more work shifts, especially if they learn that there will be an event in town. Honing strategic values can help immensely in the work setting, allowing female professionals to take charge of their business and increase company profits.

Poker enhances risk management

In addition to strategy, risk management is also an essential part of the business. As shared by self-made billionaire Jenny Just, women tend to be more risk-averse than men, leaving poorer opportunities for female business owners. Instead of missing out on better choices, Just recommends women reframe their risk perception by playing poker. How you play poker depends on several factors: your position at the table, how many players there are, and how much you’re willing to risk, to name a few. In one example for businesses, calculating financial and reputation risks when co-branding with another company can help owners assess if it’s the right choice. Playing poker can teach women to think and act quickly, encouraging them to be more comfortable taking calculated risks.

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