Monday, February 18, 2013

Want to get clever at strategy? Learn poker!

Poker is a game of chance?  Think again.  Can you explain to me why is it the same 15 to 20 people that ends up in the last table in the poker championships?

Is it because they are more lucky than anyone on Earth when it comes to poker games?

Poker is a game of skills and calculation.  And yes there is some luck involved.  But what is truly shuffling the cards is the bluffs.  You can have the best hand at the table.  You can be beaten by an opponent that has merely a pair of 2s if you don't have the nerves to carry his "all in" bluff on that turn.

The bluffs mess with the statistics of the game and blurs the chance factor.

Basically in poker you have to play with the cards you have been dealt with. Isn't it what we also say about life?

Playing with the best advantages you have, bluff, learning about your opponents... Doesn't it sound like the business world to you?  And yet there is no poker game learning in the economics or business schools curriculum.

One academic professor stood out of the shadow.  Charles Nesson of the Harvard Law School.  Nesson believes that learning poker is good for his law students.  That they could use its skills in the court when they'll become lawyers.  That's a start.  But it could go much further.

How about using those skills in negotiating a contract?  In buying a company?  In negotiating trade treaties between two countries?  Or merely negotiating the price on this new car you want to buy?   

You could use poker skills everywhere in your life.  And there is much games theory involved in it I would like to see more economists paying attention to it.

If you want to become a good strategist.  You will have to learn how to play poker.  Settle an account on  and start learning.

But beware!  If you involve money, there is risks of addiction.  Be strong willed and don't fall into that pit.  In fact in poker, just as everything else in life, you should always follow these two basic rules:

1.  Net play with money that you don't have.
2.  Always follow rule number 1.

Have a look at this article for more information.