By Joanne Rivers

Two poker cards and poker chips 20170611

Any trader who has ever played poker will tell you that there’s a lot that any new trader cutting his chops in the game could learn from spending some time on the felt. In fact, there have been quite a number of seemingly incredible stories of pro poker players making the move into full- time trading with a more than a modicum of success. So, what is it about the game of poker that makes the casino the perfect training ground for traders?

Well, let’s start with strategic thinking. You see, poker involves a lot of planning and requires the player to adopt a strategy to gain the best possible outcome. And while it may often put the poker player at odds with their gut instinct, in the long run, sticking to a strategy almost always pays off. Sound familiar? Of course, it does, because it’s pretty much trading 101. By playing poker in their free time, a trader can get a feel for strategic thinking with the result not too far off into the future.

This can also help them develop an analytical view of the situation at hand then act accordingly, which brings us to our next point. Poker teaches you how to react to unforeseen circumstances. No matter how well a player plans his game, there’s always the chance that the unexpected will occur. But the seasoned pro will know how to adapt to this new situation and change his tactic accordingly. They will never panic; they will simply analyze the situation and choose the best course of action. So, how valuable is this style of thinking when a dip in the markets throws a spanner in the works?

Spend any time at all watching the pros, and you’ll see that the guy that wins is most often the guy that knows when it is the right time to quit. A player cannot win every hand, just like a trader cannot profit from every deal. Knowing when to cash out and call it a day is a hallmark of a pro that knows the game inside out and one that will never go bust. Again, a most admirable quality that any aspiring trader should look to replicate.

And if you think poker is all overweight guys sitting around a table, then think again. Poker players go all out to improve their physical and mental performance because they believe that it improves their chances at the table. As a result, more and more players are trimming their waistlines and abstaining from a drink at the table, so they can keep a clear head. And they exercise regularly, understanding that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is worth its weight in gilt-edged casino chips.

But perhaps the single most important skill that almost every successful poker player possesses, and all traders should look to hone is the ability to control their emotions. Regardless of how terrible a situation might seem, remaining calm allows poker players to make those analytical decisions we mentioned earlier. Conversely, allowing emotion to creep into their play often results in high-risk plays that could see them lose everything — and all for the sake of pride or some other emotion that they really should have ignored.

While we’re not suggesting that you hit the casino and spend your evenings at the poker table until the early hours of the morning, we do think that a game or two now and then could do wonders for your trading. Think of it as a meditation of sorts as you learn to control your emotions. Or as an exercise in self-restraint as you make decisions based solely on your game plan. But remember, above all else, know when to call it a day. Unless you develop a superhuman talent for the game overnight, stick to playing for fun and leave the big money games for the pros.

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