The Poker Lesson – Adjusting Your Approach Based on the Situation

Although there are many similarities between poker and business, sometimes the strategies contrast. At the poker table, the basic premise is to figure out how your opponent is playing, and then beat them by using a counter strategy. However, the business world is not a zero sum game,and opportunities can easily bewin-win. Collaboration amongst teams and partners is the key to success. The following article is below as it was published:

Early on in our career, a businessperson learns that building relationships is a crucial element to success. Fundamental to this concept is our ability to tailor our communication style. My natural tendency, like many other sales and marketing folks, is a friendly story telling approach. However, considering that people like what is familiar to them, I try to deliver my message in a way that best relates to the person I’m speaking with.
For example, if I’m talking to a CEO, I use straightforward and concise messaging, whereas when meeting with a CPA, I focus on analytical tools and data driven concepts. The takeaway is that people have certain styles that they prefer. Being successful in business, and in the game of poker requires an understanding of whom you’re dealing with. Players have certain tendencies based on their value of money and understanding of the game.

If you know what to look for, your opponents give you information that helps you read their hand and play optimally against them. Your capacity to consistently win directly relates to how well you figure out what your opponents are doing. The first step is to observe betting patterns to identify where on the spectrum each player falls in terms of passive/aggressive (how they play their cards) crossed with loose/tight (how many hands they play).

Passive: This player is more risk averse, valuing safety and security. Interested in seeing cheap cards, these players hang around, hoping to make a good hand. This player type rarely raises pre-flop or bluffs post-flop. You’ll know someone is more passive because they tend to check and call frequently.
Aggressive: This player is comfortable taking risks. Interested in building larger pots and bluffing. You’ll know someone is aggressive because they tend to bet and raise often. To assess how aggressive an opponent is, pay attention to the quality of their cards at showdown.

Tight: Plays fewer hands and generally continues only with good holdings.

Loose: Plays lots of hands and often continues with marginal holdings.

By identifying your opponent, you can figure out what their bets mean and make the best possible decision against them. In poker, like business, sometimes you make the right choice and things don’t work out. Do not be so attached to immediate outcomes, and focus instead on making the right decision for long run results. Learn the game, play within your means, have fun and start winning!

Josh Silverstone

Blurb about Josh: Josh has a background as a management consultant, and is now a Pokerpreneur. He plays in tournaments like the World Series of Poker, and coaches players at all skill levels. Josh uses poker as a tool to help organizations raise money, and for businesses to up their game. For more poker strategy and winning mindsets, check out

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