The fascinating thing about poker is that it is more than just a card game. It’s a metaphor for life. Some 50 million people enjoy the game. It is played by presidents, celebrities, Supreme Court judges, reality stars, gangsters, grandmothers, men and women. The image of the poker has changed dramatically over the last 10 years thanks to the TV cameras and the seven-figure cash prizes that any player over 21 with the entry fee can win. Poker is an equal opportunity “sport,” which has no regard for socio-economic class, sex, height, weight, or physical capabilities.
I started playing poker with my mom when I was a teenager. Back then, the game was seven-card stud, and the stakes were low. I abandoned the game for a while, but came back to it about a decade ago when I moved from corporate America to entrepreneurship.
Now the game of choice is Texas hold ‘em . It’s a pretty easy game to learn, but it takes a lot of practice to get good. You can go through big money swings very quickly, and you will see some crazy things happen with the cards. You get a real high from the adrenaline rush of winning a huge pot. And you can meet some pretty interesting people sitting at the table.
The game is more about personalities than it is about the cards. Poker is about reading people and personalities, managing money swings, deciding when it is time to take a risk, knowing when to be aggressive and knowing when to get out. It’s about creating a persona and modifying it based upon the people you are with.
But one of the most interesting things about poker, much like life, is how differently men and women play the game. Men play to win and women play not to lose. It could be wiring, breeding, or societal pressure, but it is clear that there is a pattern.
We can find out more about what motivates and hinders the sexes as we delve deeper into the psyche of the game. Whether you are a seasoned pro or you don’t know a full house from a flush, in the weeks to come we will explore the many ways poker mirrors life, love, and business, and how you can benefit from understanding the principles of this provocative game.