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7 Skills Poker Taught Me for Life Success

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Poker can be fun, but at the same time, a wonderful life coach from which you can learn great new skills and abilities. It will probably not transform you into a superhero, but with it, you can sharpen your skills and be more prepared when faced with risky and dangerous situations. As for Patrick Van Negri, his career playing poker started when he was very young. Even then, he would play to win money. Here are seven of the best lessons he picked up while playing poker that help him to this day.

  1. Reading People

As a poker player, you learn to read people like people read books. One of the most important life skills you need to stay ahead of the game is being able to understand people, and being able to tell their next move. Reading people requires your ability to notice their body language. You then interpret this into information that you can use to your advantage. Patrick could understand the signals that people gave off subconsciously. These include fear, anxiety, excitement, among other giveaways. He then was able to decode the message that they signaled, and used it for his game.

  1. Predicting What Others Do Before They Do It

This skill is related to the first. However, you need to calculate what your opponent will do before they do. They also shouldn’t catch you doing it, or they will change plans. Here, the key is to be intuitive. The intuition is built up from all the experience you gain playing for too long. This skill is one of the hardest to master, but certainly one the most rewarding, therefore you need to give it time.

  1. Staying Composed Under All Circumstances

When someone is losing, they will display all sorts of emotions. These range from complaining to anger. This way, an opponent is able to identify their weakness and take the advantage. From poker, Van Negri was able to learn to suppress the need to make excuses as others made the most of it. Although it’s hard to hide your vulnerabilities in these tough times, to be a winner you must be ready to stay composed. The important thing is to keep the focus and keep your eyes on the prize without worrying about temporary setbacks and victories.

  1. Winning Even When My Odds Are Against Me

This is the basis of winning mentality. In life, Patrick has made  a majority his achievements from a point where didn’t have the upper hand, or didn’t have anything at all. For instance, he hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro without any prior experience, and that is exactly why he did it. Patrick likes to put himself in losing positions, where all the odds are against him, that is where he learns the most. Once you come back from losing points a couple of times in poker, you get the feeling that nothing is impossible. Keep believing in yourself no matter what, even when the whole world is against you.

  1. I Make My Own Luck, Rather Than Getting Lucky

Working extra hard in patience is key. Millions of people believe that athletes, business people, and celebrities might have been lucky and became overnight successes. In truth, they worked hard on themselves for many years just to become an overnight success. With poker, there is no getting lucky. You learn to play the game, you get patient over the years and develop your winning skills. Once you start getting more wins, it’s not because you were lucky, it’s because you made your own luck.

  1. You Play the Opponent, Not the Odds

You don’t control the odds, but you can control yourself. Your emotional intelligence, and some of the aforementioned skills can help you get here. Develop a habit of recognizing patterns, and master it, using it to your advantage. This life lesson helps you as you come across big situations in life that you must conquer to be successful. Adapt rapidly and be ready to take on whatever boss, client or opponent who is more favorable to defeat you.

  1. Being a Risk Taker

It is known that with no pain, there are no gains. When you are young, take as much risk as you can. You can always go back and recover if you fail. Any successful person needed to take risks to get where they are. This is a lesson that poker teaches for a stake. If you play it safe, you might remain stagnant for life.

Conclusively, Patrick Van Negri is a living example that skills learned in poker are useful in life. Skills such as being a risk taker, calculating the opponent’s moves and staying composed can be learned by anyone to propel them to success. The good news is that you do not have to start a whole new poker career to learn them, as here they have been mentioned for you.

Jourdain Bell is a Columnist at Disrupt Magazine. Based in Santa Barbara, California, he specializes in VC, Tech, Branding, and PR. He's been featured in Influencive, Future Sharks, Thrive Global, Vanity Stardom, and more. Jourdain currently works at one of the most active Venture Capital Firms in the world, Alumni Venture Group. Prior to entering the Venture Capital Industry, he Co-founded Beast Media Agency, a digital marketing and PR company focused on helping founders get their stories featured in online publications. Jourdain currently interviews entrepreneurs, founders, and influencers who are making an impact on the world for publications like The Hustlers Digest, Kivo Daily, Future Sharks, Thrive Global and Disrupt.

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