5 Poker Skills That Help You Succeed in Business

Playing poker can be a learning experience. Without knowing it, you pick up new skills and improve yourself in ways you couldn’t imagine. Joonas Karhu, CEO of Bojoko, is very aware of this. Before he headed up the award-winning affiliate site specializing in helping players compare the best online casinos in the UK, he was a poker player.

We realized we had to speak to Karhu after we came across his interview in HighStakesDB, where he talked about his journey from spending years playing poker on an amateur level to becoming CEO. We asked him what skills he learned while playing poker that he has been able to use in his business life, and he was happy to oblige.

Here are the five poker skills Karhu learned over the years, which he deems the most important for succeeding in business. 

Skill 1: Handling Pressure

The critical skill I learned from poker is being able to handle pressure. When things are not going your way, it is easy to feel buried under the pressure. Being able to cope with the external pressure and understand that it is a passing thing makes a world of difference.

Pressure is something that we all face in life. In business, the pressure may be stronger, as there may be more on the line. It is normal to feel stressed and anxious when it happens, but what you do is what matters. If you can set those negative feelings aside and stay in control of the situation, you can ride it out faster.

Being calm in a storm is something that will help you both in business and life. It’s okay to feel what you feel but don’t let negative emotions govern your actions.

Skill 2: Risk Management

In business, almost every decision you make comes with a certain degree of risk. It is unavoidable. What matters is how you manage these risks. 

From my days in poker, the most significant takeaway I had was that taking risks is essential, but what is more important is understanding the big picture. You immediately start to learn how to balance risk and reward, read the situation at hand, and assess the degree of risk you are willing to take on any given hand. In my view, few things teach you to internalize risk management the way poker does. 

Skill 3: Analytical Approach

Poker taught me to be analytical in everything. Things don’t tend to happen with no rhyme or reason. In business, just as at the poker table, you deal with factors with a certain degree of predictability. You can discover patterns and read the market you are in, just as you can read other players.

While there will usually be far more factors at play in business than at the poker table, it is the same skills and mindset that allow you to get ahead. 

Skill 4: Ability to Change

I found that adaptability is a crucial quality in poker. You have to know when you need to push and when you need to pull. This skill is easily transferred to business and management.

Going on rails may work for a while, but eventually, things change. Maybe your whole industry is evolving, or perhaps it’s just something small, like new ideas or products rising to the top. Being able to change your strategies on the fly is vital.

If you get stuck with your initial idea, you may end up on a downward path. There are many great ideas and visions to get things started, but learning when to pivot can lead to a brighter future than you ever thought possible.

Skill 5: Be Open to New Information

No matter what you do, you pick up new information which can be helpful down the line. When I played online poker, I was introduced to a lot of gambling-related regulations and processes. I learned about gambling licenses, products, services, payment systems and things like that just by playing. 

All of this information became important to me when I joined the Bojoko team. Now, all that I had somewhat accidentally picked up while playing became important business insight. If you are looking for a career in the iGaming sector, the amount of information you pick up playing poker gives you a clear edge. However, the knowledge you pick up along the way may prove to be useful across a long line of industries.

You never know what will be helpful for you later on in life and business. Be open to all new information. Learn from everything you do, and you’ll be surprised how often you get to use that knowledge.