How Life is Similar to a Game of Poker

Like us, do you also sometimes wonder how similar Poker and life are?

Poker is more than just a game. It teaches us some absolutely priceless lessons about focus, patience, discipline, goal-setting, perseverance, handling success and failure, decision making, and money management that we carry with us even after leaving the tables.

Here are the key aspects of the game which are equally relevant in life.


Both are unpredictable, and that is why both require taking calculated risks. When you play Poker, you have to implement a strategic outlook to predict an opponent’s card strength and possible moves. As you don’t know which cards your opponent is holding, you have to make decisions on the basis of opponent’s table position, table image, chip stack, betting pattern, etc. In life, we usually shy away from taking initiatives and bold decisions due to our fear of failure, rather than taking an analytical approach to understanding the situation. If the “safe” and “comfortable” way is not taking you anywhere in life, you have to strengthen your risk-taking ability and mental toughness to respond positively to challenges. We have to learn how to make complex decisions by doing a comparative analysis of situations, complications, and results. It’s riskier to never take a risk.

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You have to compete to achieve what you want, in Poker as much as in life. At Poker tables, you compete with players of different skill levels, personalities, playing style, and experiences. To win the hand, you have to categorize them and create the best strategy to beat them. You compete with yourself (or we can say, chase your future self!) to improve your gameplay to become a better player. Similarly in life, growing in your career requires finding out areas you want to improve in and look for the best ways to make your best efforts to make your better than your past-self.

Goal Setting

You must choose your goals. In Poker, it can be winning a coveted tournament, making long-term income, or proving your mettle against seasoned players. Goals provide direction to our efforts and motivates us to create a game plan to achieve them. If you are not sure what you are playing for, you cannot adjust your strategies accordingly and might not get a sense of achievement when you succeed. In life, if you don’t have goals, you cannot find ways to work towards fulfilling his expectations.


Both require constant learning. Among all the successful Poker players, not a single one started out being an expert of the game. Everyone started small and worked their way up through studying Poker game rules, practice and training. Over time, they learned how to analyze situations better, handle losses, and take the best possible decisions. In life, to make your way up in your career, you have to be mentally prepared to deal with challenging situations and tough opponents.

Emotion Control

Emotions can take control of your game or our life if we let them do that. Whenever we face adverse situations, we can either get bitter, quit, or consider them as an opportunity to earn experience. We have seen players who quit after losing a few hands. Some players who feel anxious and stressed when setbacks occur go on tilt. And then there are players who know how to stay composed and level-headed in order to make the best of the situation. It works the same way in life. We cannot allow ourselves to be beaten by negative emotions like anger or frustration when things don’t go our way. If at first you don’t succeed in achieving your goals, you have to reevaluate your strategies to fix their weak spots and try again. Rather than blaming someone for your loss, focus on how you can improve the possibilities of achieving success.


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