#5 Things An Entrepreneur can Learn from Poker
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Come turn of the century we have seen many developments in modern life, technology has become advanced, data emanates faster and people have become smarter. But despite all the advancements, risk in modern society still persists. The pretext of risk can be drawn since the advent of time, no one can definitively say that there has been a time in which there existed no risk. Safety and risk do not precede and succeed each other, they move as parallels, they co-exist. The idea of risk is absolutely essential in the modern society and we have multiple players that are devising methods to overcome the foreseeable ones.
Risk is innate, risk is permanent, risk is essential.
Innovators and entrepreneurs have a unique relationship with risk. They create to eliminate risk, they coexist with risk. This unique relationship with risk means the absence of one would lead to the demise of the other. Poker players share a similar relationship with risk, they measure and play according to the foreseeable risk, they don’t create ideas but strategies to avoid risk.
What’s also interesting is that these factions of society gained prominence (at least in the Indian context) quite recently.
With a common thread for both these ingenious groups, we see a similarity between them and their operations. Their relationship with the concept of risk is essential to their individual existence. One’s principles apply to the other.
That being said, let’s take a look at 5 things we get to learn from Poker:
Money is dominating everything in the 21st century, but only a few can manage it well. Poker players measure every move by the amount of money put in, money lost and money risked. The blinds they put in mark an initial investment, their moves thereafter are a commitment to make sure they don’t fall below that mark. The ability to put in the amount commensurate with their hand, the ability to read situations and respond by raising, knowing that you are guaranteed a return is key. Similarly, entrepreneurs have to invest keeping in mind their initial investment, the maintenance of reserves to garner a profit.
Analysis: Competitor and Strategy
In the modern era, a structural move from the static to the dynamic has taken place and this has had an all-around effect. The market place is no longer driven by a single line direct approach to reward, that path entails more aspects. Entrepreneurs need to adopt a bird’s eye view wherein everything is analyzed, much like in poker where from the first card to the last bet every move, every possible hand, every penny put in is a consequence of a wholesome analysis of the personal strategy, competitor’s strategy and the last aspect considered is what card is dealt. People often think that poker requires luck, but for poker players and entrepreneurs alike, luck is the last thing on their mind.
Ability to Take Losses
People often say “Take it on the chin and move on”, but the severity of those words is only felt by a few. People who can relate are poker players and entrepreneurs, for them, the loss isn’t just something that can be taken on the chin, it’s the realization of a dream, the failure of uncountable hours of hard work and dedication. The ability to pick yourself back up after a bad meeting with a VC or after seeing all your chips gone and returning stronger with a more defined USP or a better strategy is something only a few people can master.
“Let’s just wing it” is something you’ll never hear from a poker player or an entrepreneur, they carry a take it as it comes attitude. Poker is something pivotal to that, before every game, every round there is a strategy in place before the cards are even revealed. The player knows the moves he wished to make based on a study of the opponent, their strategy, the money involved, the money remaining and a multitude of factors. Entrepreneurs also develop a continuous strategy based on their factors which are essential.
The ability to think ahead, to gauge the trends of the market, the moves of a player is all about reading the environment and its movement. Poker players gauge their opponent’s moves, the cards they hold, the cards that might be drawn in the river, strategies opponents will employ and based on this analysis they raise, call or fold. The innate ability to measure these makes them cautious and calculative about the implications of the opponent’s move on their own. One move might lead to countless calculations.
Entrepreneurs also are calculative about their own moves as the market changes and as their competitor’s strategies are deployed.