I was listening to Fireside Chat with Chamath Palihapitiya , the guy responsible for the so called FB growth hacking and user growth to 1 Billion users. He comes up with a very interesting analogy between Poker and Startups.
“Poker is just an amazing thing. You learn to take risk and you learn to love risk. You learn to make decisions in ambiguity.Its like cycle of a startup condensed in 2 minutes. You start with a hand, its kind of like you start a company with an idea. You have no idea whether its good or not good, because you really have no context and knowing of everything else which is out there, in this case the other hands and in startup’s case all the other companies. You try. You take a bunch of risk. You expend a bunch of capital. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t, sometimes you win for the wrong reason, sometimes you lose for the wrong reasons, sometimes you win for the right reasons. So its just like a really great teacher of life.
Other thing that I love is I really like to understand people. What makes me reasonable in that game is to my ability to understand people. And anything I can do to refine that skill is time well spent. Poker tends to be great outlet. Also, you meet all these great people, you spend time talking, you debate stuff.
So for all those playing poker, there is good news. You might not be wasting your time and just gaining/losing money :) you would be learning emotional balance , eliminating emotions from decision making. Analyzing risk and reward and learning the art of understanding your competition and people in general.