Risk v Reward: Putting Poker Skills to Work

Power Poker or risk vs. reward

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Kenny Rogers once sang that you have to know when to hold ’em, fold ’em, walk away, and run. And while the original “Gambler” was referring to the game of poker, the same rules apply to the game of life. Knowing how to weigh the odds and calculate the risks when making big decisions are essential skills for anyone to hone, especially women. The female-led organization Poker Power recognizes that fact. It is changing the game by providing a free online platform to teach women how to think strategically and make bold, fearless choices. Through interactive lessons using the popular “Texas Hold ’em” game, they are given the tools to build the confidence they need to go all-in both professionally and personally, regardless of age or occupation.

No Risk, No Reward

Risk vs reward, weighing outcomes

Hesitating to ask for a promotion at work, second-guessing every decision you make, and lacking the confidence to go after something you really want. These are all signs of risk-aversion. And while there’s nothing wrong with playing it safe, you can’t go through life without taking a few risks along the way. The trick is understanding how and when to do it. Just as a wise poker player doesn’t walk up to a table and lay down his money without first assessing the conditions, a wise decision-maker doesn’t rush to action without identifying any potential consequences and weighing them against the benefits.

Every decision in a poker game is based on risk versus reward. Poker demands that players not only cultivate the ability to recognize a bluff but also develop their own strong bluffing skills. It requires decisive action in the face of uncertainty and addresses every aspect of risk evaluation, including computation and probability. It takes an understanding of how to position yourself strategically so that more than one outcome is a win. It involves knowing how to segment your risks into smaller, more manageable pieces. And finally, it asks you to play the hand you are dealt with to the best of your ability, which means knowing when to back down and when to confidently ante up.

Business negotiations; shaking hands

These are principles that translate to every area of life, from asking for a raise at work to making a significant change in your personal life or career path to choosing whether or not to make a large purchase. Arming yourself with knowledge and strong risk evaluation skills can make these and other potentially daunting situations feel less threatening and allow you to move forward with confidence.

For example, you can set yourself up to win in salary negotiations by asking for more than you would be willing to take. Chances are, you will land somewhere close to where you want to be. Or rather than go all-in by leaving your day job and pursuing that singing career you’ve always dreamed of, bet smaller. Take singing gigs on the weekends, talk to other professional singers about what you can realistically expect to earn, and find people who will be honest with you about your talents and abilities. This will give you a much better idea of whether the risk of giving up your current job security will result in a reward.

Developing Successful Traits

Woman playing online poker

Poker Power helps women learn these techniques by teaching them to hone the traits of successful, risk-savvy people. Each group lesson focuses on leadership characteristics, including enterprising, visionary, analytical, and perception abilities. Players work as a team to address various scenarios while building their collaboration skills at the same time. This environment is particularly helpful when it comes to identifying other subconscious characteristics that a skilled risk-taker must learn to manage to stay in control of the game.

Things like body language, reaction time, voice inflection, and other subtle cues that you may not even be aware of can tell people a lot about you. Becoming aware of and controlling these actions is known as emotional intelligence, and there’s no better place to learn it than at the poker table. Remember, they don’t call it “poker face” for nothing. The slightest change of your expression, the shift in the position of your body, the speed with which you place your bet, or the hesitation before putting your money down can all tip your hand to your opponent. Working in Poker Power’s collaborative and interactive setting makes it easier to learn to identify these traits in yourself and others and make bold, calculated moves.

How To Ante Up

Four aces in Poker Power

With more than 200 clubs and a community spanning 40 countries, Poker Power is taking the high-stakes game out of the traditionally gate-kept gambling groups and into the homes and offices of women eager to stack the deck in their favor. By partnering with over 75 corporate and higher education institutions, Poker Power is sharing a must-have toolkit packed with negotiating, decision making, financial intelligence, and more. Plus, with Poker Power’s easy-to-access virtual lessons, learning poker has never been more convenient, interactive, or fun.

Perfect for the beginner to the seasoned poker player, sessions are led by a female team of champion poker players, billion-dollar business leaders, and other heavy hitters who are well versed in the nuances of the game. Money never changes hands in Poker Power. It is simply an educational tool designed to help females from high school students to high-powered executives take their seats at the table, ante up, and win at life—all while having a great time! Join the game and sign up for Poker Power’s community lessons today.

Free poker classes for women


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