5 Ways Poker Is Like Real Life

5 Ways Poker Is Like Real Life

Poker is the game of life played over a felt table.

A wise man once said: ‘Poker is the game of life played over a felt table.’ Well, actually it was me.  I said that.  There’s a reason why poker has become a worldwide game, there’s something universal about it that people across all cultures can relate to.  Here are 5 ways in which the struggles at the poker table mirror those in real life:

No Risk, No Reward

In poker the saying goes, ‘scared money is dead money.’ Meaning that if you play with the fear of losing money, you’ve already lost.  In my experience you can say the same thing about real life.  The world is full of people who hate their job or living situation but do nothing to change it. They are paralyzed by fear and trap themselves in a situation that doesn’t make them happy.  Whereas most happy and successful people have taken huge chances at one point or another, either by dropping out of school, investing all their money, moving to a new place or simply defying the expectations placed upon them by their family, culture etc.

The Strong Eat the Weak

Just like in nature.  Those with the strength to keep their head, withstand pressure and fend off negativity and the stress of losing money, will destroy those who do not.  It’s no coincidence that losing players are referred to as ‘fish’ while pros are called ‘sharks’.  Weak players are reckless, emotional and easily manipulated.  Strong players are strategic, logical and don’t get manipulated into making mistakes.

Skill Mixed With Luck

Over the long term, poker success is 100% skill based.  However, luck plays a huge role in the short term.  Even the best players in the world have prolonged streaks of bad luck where they lose money.  Of course, the same can be said of real life.  The most talented and intelligent people often need a bit of luck as well in order to realize their full potential.  It’s important to be in the right place at the right time.  Opportunity is just as important as ability in this world.  What good is it to be the best at something if the right people don’t notice and give you the opportunity to capitalize on it?

Tragedy Can Strike At Any Time

In life, we don’t get advanced warning when something terrible will happen.  The same can be said for poker.  Bad beats can happen at any time, turning an obvious success into a horrible failure in an instant.

A Positive Attitude Goes A Long Way

Shit happens.  In life and at the poker table.  We all have to deal with disappointment or loss at one point or another and the way we deal with it is what makes all the difference.  If you approach life with a positive attitude and do your best not to let the bad things bring you down, you’ll be better equipped to withstand them.  In poker, a positive mindset is crucial, as it’s a brutal and unforgiving game which will crush your soul if you let it.  Approach poker with the attitude that nothing that happens at the table can hurt you, and you’ll be much better equipped to deal with bad luck and other frustrations.


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