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4 Killer Poker Skills That Help Your Business Grow

4 Killer Poker Skills That Help Your Business Grow

Most professional poker players are earning a living from the game precisely to avoid working in a traditional corporate structure. Rather than punch a clock and work for somebody else, poker pros pay their own way while grinding the circuit, living an independent lifestyle while attempting to build a secure financial future.

Eventually, though, many seasoned players realize that the very same skills that propelled their career on the felt can also be transferred to the world of business and entrepreneurship. Modern poker pro players like Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and Jason Somerville have built their own brands, leveraging good standing within the poker community to pursue projects which are both financially lucrative and personally fulfilling.

The 5 skills listed below not only help poker players overcome variance, they are in fact wholly transferrable in many aspects of life and can have a direct impact in helping you to grow and improve your business venture.

1. Reading People

For all the talk of having an inscrutable “poker face,” the game doesn’t really hinge on scanning your opponent for tells like the movies would suggest. But reading people is an essential poker skill, in the sense of sizing up their demeanor, tolerance for risk, and other intangible factors before proceeding accordingly.

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Even more importantly, reading people in poker involves anticipating their next moves and carefully observing for patterns and trends. The same holds true for successful businesspeople. Whether you’re assessing the reliability of potential clients before signing a contract or monitoring market conditions before making an investment, knowing how to read both people and situations is pivotal.

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    Source: Wikimedia

    2. Risk Assessment

    Before putting their entire stack on the line with an all-in bet, poker players run through an array of mental calculations before deciding on the correct course of action. Knowing how to determine the exact odds that a needed card will come or how a particular hand rates against an opponent’s all serve to help poker unlock the game’s sheer complexity.

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    Even with the exact same cards in front of them, certain situations may warrant taking an additional risk, while other scenarios require more conservative play. Assessing the ratio of risk versus reward, which defines every single poker hand ever dealt, is a fundamental skill that separates successful players from break-even or losing status.

    In business, every purchase order and expenditure represents a certain level of risk, and the best businesspeople are capable of continually managing that risk. Knowing when to cut your losses with an unproductive employee or how the pursuit of new revenue streams may impact current productivity levels are just some of the countless risk assessment decisions business owners must navigate on a daily basis.

    3. Money Management

    Whenever a poker player breaks through into the big leagues — winning gold bracelets at the World Series of Poker or playing in the nosebleed cash games running night and day in Las Vegas — they still have a long way to go. After all, money won can just as easily be lost, and seemingly every year a few well-known pros drop off the poker map due to poor money management.

    The same economic traps that can ensnare poker players, such as taking on too many loans or spending more money than they’re bringing in, can also spell doom when running a business. The most enduring poker players, like the most iconic business brands, know when to walk away from a bad deal, how to save money for a rainy day, and the value of scaling back expenditures during a downswing.

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    4. Patience and Planning

    Despite the nonstop onslaught of all-in pots and bad beats you might see on televised poker broadcasts, the game can actually be quite a grind for players. Thirteen-hour days are the norm, and the best players can find themselves doing nothing but folding for dozens of hands in a row.

    For recreational players, the reality of toiling for hours on end in a tournament can lead to boredom, and even a phenomenon known as “punting” in which bored players who simply can’t stand the inaction any longer put their stack at risk with a marginal hand. Top pros, on the other hand, use their downtime to observe their opponent’s tendencies, planning future traps out in their head before springing into action at the most opportune time.

    Every business owner has been forced to weather the slow season when the invoices dry up and the phone calls stop coming. Some resort to impulsiveness, striking out with ill-conceived product lines and advertising campaigns to try and right the ship, but successful businesspeople approach the situation like poker pros — by planning ahead in order to exploit future boom times most efficiently.

    When it comes the time to choose their bet sizing, the best poker pros can work like a computer, adding up the previous bets to find the size of the pot, scanning their opponent’s stack to count their chips, and choosing the perfect bet for the situation. As a business owner in today’s society, you can profit by adopting the same meticulousness with your calculations, mitigating risks but being valiant enough to strike beneficial deals even when there’s no guarantee they’ll be successful.

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    Above all, consistency is key: a regular maintenance of solid business practices will stand you in good stead for those high-pressure moments where you are put on the spot. Your ability to make accurate decisions on the fly just may be the difference between closing a deal and losing an account.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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    Last Updated on April 6, 2020

    How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

    How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

    Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

    Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

    Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

    But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

    Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

    Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

    What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

    As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

    What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

    Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

    Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

    Types of Career Changes at 50+

    There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

    Industry Career Change

    In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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    With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

    An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

    This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

    Functional Career Change

    A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

    For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

    In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

    Double Career Change

    This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

    An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

    When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

    With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

    Entrepreneurial Career Change

    Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

    After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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    By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

    Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

    A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

    Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

    So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

    1. Deal with the Fear

    As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

    If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

    I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

    It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

    2. Know Your “Why”

    It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

    Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

    3. Be Realistic

    Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

    This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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    Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

    4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

    Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

    An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

    The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

    5. Update Your Skills

    Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

    The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

    Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

    6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

    Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

    Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

    Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

    Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

    7. Overhaul Your Resume

    Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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    When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

    Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

    8. Know Your Timeline

    There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

    Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

    There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

    Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

    Final Thoughts

    Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

    Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

    And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

    Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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