Poker Face: Greg Dinkin Lays His Cards on the Table

By on May 23, 2014
Poker Face Greg Dinkin Lays His Cards on the Table

At the poker table; a very specific and useful set of skills separate the successful and the not so successful. In professional games the stakes are often monumental so it takes a confident and assured person to deal with that pressure. If Greg Dinkin is anything, he is confident. A former professional poker player who tasted success at the Poker World Series, Greg has now turned his hand to more traditional business. He is a successful author, his most popular book The Poker MBA is all about the lessons he’s learned around the many felt topped tables he’s sat at. The very lessons that have helped propel him to success in a completely different sector. If the skills needed to be a success in the poker world are transferable to business, what are they? Can they be learnt and how can they help you become a winner?

In a game of poker you have to think quickly. You have to analyse your opponents weaknesses through tells and previous experience. As Greg puts it, “[playing poker] teaches you how to make decisions…it builds the muscles of strategic thinking and emotional intelligence.” Decision making is perhaps the most important aspect of play, weighing up your hand with speculation of your opponents and knowing whether or not to act. Just like a salesman your job is to figure out what your consumer “has already and what they want, then you make the appropriate move.” The ability to “walk in someone’s shoes” is something Gregg stresses. “While this sounds ruthless, by learning to take the time to figure out what others want, it builds the muscle of compassion. Used appropriately, with the right intention, you create win/win situations in business and life”

Knowing yourself is just as important as knowing your target though. “Having realistic expectations with regards to your own abilities and, more importantly, how much money you can afford to lose will result in you, or your business, becoming more profitable.” So although confidence is definitely an important attribute the ability to manage the risks you undertake is just as vital. Playing it safe one day might be the right decision and may even create a base for your business to take a calculated risk the next day. Letting emotions affect your business can be a major problem too. Your own emotions as in life have an effect upon the decisions you make in business. Making emotional decisions on past experiences may come back to haunt you, an analytical approach to your success or failure is required.

In many ways Poker can be viewed as a microcosm of the business world. To be a poker player you have to be the ultimate salesman and sell yourself. In business you may be selling shoes, irons or brokering financial deals as your trade but success will only come when you learn to sell yourself. You have to be informed about your industry and your consumers but the forward thinking decisions and analysis you undertake are what makes you and poker may be one way to hone these skills. Greg certainly agrees as he puts it: “Poker impacts every decision I make. I learned more about business from playing poker professionally than from business school.” See interview here: (Poker: The Key to Business Success?)


By: Sean McMahon


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