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3 Strategies From a Multimillion-Dollar-Winning Poker Pro That Give You an Unfair Edge Applying Wayne Yap's poker strategies to your business can help you make difficult, high-stakes decisions in seconds with limited information.

By Mike Koenigs Edited by Dan Bova

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What's the most powerful game you can play that trains your brain to win at business?

If you answered poker, you're right.

Applying poker strategies in your business can give you an unfair edge, record profits, and enable you to make difficult, high-stakes decisions in seconds with limited information.

Poker is easy to win but notoriously difficult to master. Warren Buffett once said, "If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is… you're the patsy."

Related: 4 Tricks for Negotiating Like a Poker Pro

According to Wayne Yap, one of the youngest multimillion-dollar-earning poker players and winner of the high roller event at the ACOP, in the world of professional poker, the most winning players use eight-core strategies to overcome their fear of loss, make multimillion-dollar decisions in 30 seconds or less, and outsmart world-class competition in a zero-sum game that's very similar to succeeding in business.

In business, you need to manage your fear, have a statistician's brain, see invisible opportunities and know exactly when to move in a perfectly timed and coordinated fashion. In a business's lifespan, there are thousands of ways you could lose your reputation, net worth, or get ambushed and decimated by the competition.

What if you could increase your odds of success three to 10 times for any of these decisions? A professional poker player's mind could be the ideal secret weapon in business.

Yap has developed a series of non-obvious strategies based on years of playing professional poker that he applies to startups and established businesses as an investor and advisor. These strategies appear in his upcoming book, "Zen and the Art of Business and Poker - Eight Professional Poker Strategies to Give You an Unfair Edge."

Yap recently made a transition from award-winning poker player to a full-time entrepreneur, advisor, and investor.

His journey is fascinating. He grew up in Singapore and began playing poker with his friends when he was 17. Their obsession with the game drove them to skip school and play for hours in abandoned classrooms. Yap bought every poker book he could get his hands on to get an edge and got good enough to start playing online poker.

Then he had to fulfill his civic duty. Singapore has mandatory army service after graduation, and Yap turned down an opportunity to become an army officer because he was focused on becoming the best poker player he could. He secretly watched training videos on a contraband iPod Touch during training missions in the Brunei jungle.

When he returned home from his service, he received devastating news from his parents. Their business had failed, and they'd lost the family car. At this point, Yap was making a few thousand dollars a month playing casual poker, so he was able to give his mother $1,000 to help them rebuild. The look on his mother's face when she saw the money solidified his decision to pursue poker professionally. Although they wanted him to pursue a more traditional career path, the money and ability to help his family made poker a no-brainer.

In the years that followed, Yap played in some of the biggest international casinos as a professional, high-stakes poker pro, earning $1,419,184 and attained the lifestyle of his dreams. He eventually realized that the stress of that lifestyle -- sometimes playing 30 to 40 hours in a row before getting an opportunity to play a hand with the right players at the right tables -- was unsustainable.

He began investing heavily in his personal growth. He started meditating and reading personal development books, like The Power of Habit and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Related: 6 Ways Playing Poker Can Help You in Business (and 2 Ways It Can't)

He realized that many of the things he learned from playing professional poker could be applied elsewhere in life. His instincts led to perfectly timed investments in Activision Blizzard, Bitcoin, and Amazon. He began advising businesses, and again discovered that his mindset gave him tremendous leverage. (One of Yap's strategies, "Edge Finder," is that you need to know where you have an edge in any business or game you play.)

Yap doubled down on his personal growth, investing close to a million dollars in coaches, masterminds, and business mentors like Tony Robbins and Dan Sullivan. These investments elevated his ability to thrive in business and his new life away from the poker tables.

Here are three professional poker strategies to give you an unfair edge:

1. Brand bluff

Because of the gamesmanship in poker, a professional has a tremendous incentive to look like an amateur. An amateur has a lot of incentive to look like a pro. In business, building a brand and credibility is really important. Q: What's the quickest shortcut that makes you look like a pro in business? A: Elevate your credibility or borrow it from others. Joining masterminds where you can meet other smart, successful entrepreneurs or hire the most successful person in your industry as a coach or advisor can fast-track your status and connect with pros.

2. Desensitize big money

Get used to asking for big money or playing a big game as soon as you can. It feels uncomfortable at first to ask for a big paycheck or negotiate for more, but with repetition, it becomes easy. Over a lifetime, your willingness to desensitize big money can represent millions of dollars in lost (or realized) earnings. Wayne went from feeling uncomfortable betting and losing $100 to walking away winning (or losing) over a million dollars in a day.

3. Close call

If you have a close decision to make, pick the option that has more perceived short-term pain. We tend to do more to avoid pain than to feel joy, and our brains typically overcompensate for short-term pain. This bias can make decisions feel harder and closer than they really are, which in turn can cause you to play smaller. With discipline and repetition, your sense of risk is reduced.

The more you study Wayne Yap's thinking, the more it will change the way you play your inner game, your outer game, and your business game. To learn more about Yap and get a free copy of his upcoming book, click here: www.UGAdvisory.com/Free

Mike Koenigs

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder of Superpower Accelerator

Peter Diamandis calls Mike Koenigs An Arsonist of The Mind. He helps entrepreneurs create their “Next Act,” high net, low overhead, high impact, fewest moving parts, lifestyle-compatible businesses they love. Serial Entrepreneur with 5 exits, 17x bestselling author and the secret weapon of founders.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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