Whenever the subject of poker comes to mind, it is often connected to money. Either someone has just won heaps of it from a tournament or someone has found a way to blow through an insane amount of it. There are many stories that share the risks associated with the gambling aspect of poker. While it may be true for some and anyone with a gambling addiction should seek professional help, there are also many positive benefits from playing poker that are rarely discussed. One such valuable lesson that players gain is the ability to adapt to change.
The dynamics at a poker table are always evolving. A great player gets moved to your left, a bad player gets a huge stack, someone gets drunk, the blinds go up, the table is six-handed, someone just took a bad beat, etc. What once was a fantastic position ends up being terrible with just the turn of a card. There are too many situations that can arise that make it impossible to plan and account for all of them beforehand. The best players in the world are able to process all the information and modify their strategy to maximize their chances of success.
The great players like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey use their experience and become malleable. They don’t wait and pray for a good opportunity to hopefully occur. Instead, they adapt to the new circumstances and adjust their actions to either minimize a problem or to help maximize an advantage they have gained. That’s something everyone can learn and apply to everyday life.
For instance, Postmedia Network recently cut 90 journalist jobs across Canada. The changing journalistic environment resulted in many of the fine writers at the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun being unemployed. The decision was out of the journalists’ control and there’s no way to reverse that now. There’s often some anxiety associated with uncertainty but how people respond to adversity is the key to their success in the future.
The poker player mentality would be to reduce the financial constraints while exploring new possible life opportunities. Although the journalist may need to address how they handle their finances, they also have more time, time that can be spent with family, to research and publish a book, to learn newer technologies like podcasting that reach a loyal audience, or to explore any other passion they may have. This is time that wouldn’t be available without this new development.
There aren’t many things in life that stay constant forever. Whether it’s your classes at NAIT, your career in the future, your health, your relationships or just about anything else, change is often inevitable. Whenever someone is placed in a new environment, it is often uncomfortable, unnerving and scary. These feelings are normal and most people will experience the same sentiment. Poker teaches you to respond to these transitions in life by minimizing the negative consequences, while maximizing the positive developments that can occur as a result of these changes.
Ka Chun Yung