The Poker/Business Correlation

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In both business and poker, there is but one goal -TO WIN! In order to win the game, you must be able to make the proper decisions at the correct time.
Poker strategies in business are a hot topic in the academic world today, and there is a growing interest in the idea that there is a correlation between poker strategies and strategies of the business world. This correlation should not be taken with a grain of salt, because there is, indeed, a similarity between the strategies employed in poker games and the successful strategies employed in the realm of business.

One of the finest graduate schools of business in the world, the Wharton School of Business in the University of Pennsylvania, recently hosted author, David Apostolico, to address the students regarding this connection. Mr. Apostolico, whose latest book, Poker Strategies for a Winning Edge in Business, has been met with great interest around the world, spoke to the student-led chapter of Global Poker Strategy Thinking Society (GPSTS) on how similarly the goals and strategies of both poker and business are aligned.

When you look at both entities objectively, you must come away with an appreciation of poker strategies as a lesson in life skills and philosophy. In both business and poker, there is but one goal -TO WIN! In order to win the game, you must be able to make the proper decisions at the correct time. If you are able to effect these choices judiciously and in a timely manner, you will win both in poker and in business.

In order to make the right choices, you must demonstrate certain characteristics:


  • Disciplined – You must be able to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  Take today’s economy as an example.  The common rule of thumb for business investors is that when the stock falls 10 percent or greater, that you should sell the stock.  As we watch the markets plunge all over the world due to this philosophy, one is torn between following the tried and true business 10 percent mantra, or using instinctive abilities to ride out the economic turmoil.  The same strategies face poker players.  The dilemma is always the same – should I stay in the game with a weak hand, or should I fold?  You see the parallel that exists between poker strategies and business.

  • Fearless – You should never be afraid of losing a poker game.  This applies to the realm of business as well. 

  • Deceptive – You should never show all your cards in poker or in business.  If people can read and anticipate your moves due to predictability, you will lose in both realms.

  • Intuitive – You should always play your hand from your adversary’s perspective.  In that way, you can better anticipate the next move, and then assess your chances of winning in relation to your opponent’s hand.

  • Diplomatic – Whether you are at a business table or a poker table, you must be able to negotiate with others from a position of power.  Your opponents don’t know the cards you hold in your hand, and neither do your business competitors.  Don’t be afraid to bluff your competitors from time to time.

  • Unpredictable – Your competitors will have a difficult time assessing where you stand and anticipating your next move if you maintain an element of unpredictability.

  • Sociable – Whether you are in an online poker room or sitting around a business table with co-workers, you need to be able to get along with others.  This will help you read your competitors more easily and, thus, be able to anticipate their next move because their guard is down – you have engendered a modicum of trust from them.


If you take these poker strategies and apply them to the business world, you will see that poker strategies in business really do work!



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