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Poker: The Key to Business Success
Greg Dinkin is a successful man, there is no denying that. He was a professional poker player for several years and he was good at it. His crowning glory a six figure win at the Poker World Series. He is now an author; having produced 4 books about his experiences in the cut-throat world of poker. He runs his own literary agency that has to date paired over 130 books with publishers and he even has a toe in the film industry. His transition from professional poker play to successful author and businessman appears to have been seamless, but how? Greg is evidently charismatic and intelligent but is there something in the skills any poker player needs to be a success that translate to business? If so, what are they? Greg lays his cards on the table…
Why does playing poker serve as a formidable tool in business and life?
The longer answer to that question can be found in my book The Poker MBA, and the answer requires at least 200 pages. In short, it teaches you how to make decisions. Playing poker builds the muscles of strategic thinking and emotional intelligence. Because emotion, fatigue and human nature play a role, it creates an environment that tests you and develops your skills faster and more efficiently than anything.
How has poker helped you in your career? Is it fair to say that you would not have achieved what you have in your career without poker?
Poker impacts every decision I make. The premise of The Poker MBA is that I learned more about business from playing poker professionally than from business school.
What do you believe are the key principles learnt from playing poker that can be directly transferred to business situations?
Measuring risk. Walking in your opponents shoes. Linear thinking.
It’s all about human nature…
As we say in poker, courtesy of (Mike) Caro’s Book of Tells: “strong is weak and weak is strong.” When you have a strong hand (in poker, business or life), there’s no need for aggression. It’s when you are weak (bad cards, no leverage, no respect) that you overcompensate. The more I hear someone brag, the more convinced I become that they believe, and deep down, that they’re not enough. The loud-mouth in the bar talking smack never throws a punch. Strong is weak.
What advantages will these skills gives you in the boardroom?
Too many to list. Being cool under pressure. Reading body language. Thinking four steps ahead.
What is the most important thing you have learnt from playing poker?
Walk in other people’s shoes. Seeing things from someone else’s perspective helps you take your opponents’ money. By taking the time to think about what they have and want, you make the appropriate move. 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.
By: Sean McMahon
More information on Greg’s work can be found on his website.
Interviewed by Full Tilt Poker 2014