Want to Start Competitive Gaming? 13 Skills You Can Learn From Poker
It’s an undeniable fact that eSports is taking the world by storm. According to Statista, the global eSports market was valued at approximately 1 billion dollars in 2020, and is expected to keep growing.
Competing in eSports is a new field that’s full of great opportunities for players, and requires not just gaming skills but mental and psychological strength as well. And just like the much older competitive card game poker, sometimes victory comes down to who has the strongest mindset.
If you want to start competitive eSports and want to cover all your bases, here are five things you can learn from a game like poker.
1. How To Make Quick Decisions
Poker is a game that requires the mind to think, analyse, and make quick decisions. According to an article at Forbes. Today, a player needs to be thorough with the hand sequences, and must still be able to figure out how to get a hand that has the best chances of winning even under stress.
Similarly, during an eSports competition, players must also think fast, scrutinize every situation, and make a quick decision that will bring about the best possible outcome.
Whether you are competing in a first-person shooters game like Fallout 4, or a multiplayer online battle arena game like League of Legends, being able to make a quick analysis will help you gain an edge over other players, just like in poker.
2. Planning For Long Term Strategies
A big part of winning in poker is the strategy you develop, and it’s not just about going “All In” or “bluffing” with every hand. You have to develop your own winning strategies off of the experience that comes from playing against several opponents.
The same goes for eSports: a strong strategy comes from numerous practice sessions to develop your gaming skills. Planning out strategies also sometimes requires making initial sacrifices.
For example, in Age of Empires IV, having military units queued all the time may cost you resources in the present, but this also ensures a good defence should you be attacked at any time in the future. With poker, some players may also choose to play weak hands to get better gains later on in the game.
3. Managing Finances
Like poker, eSports is a high risk, high return investment. All poker players know about bankroll management, which teaches them how to properly handle their money for the game.
Bankroll management, or BRM, is a way of managing finances, just like how a business manages money, when playing. These same accounting principles can be applied to your winnings from eSports — such as, putting your winnings in a separate account, have a base amount in your bankroll that you’re willing to risk, and know when to move up in stakes, especially if the odds are in your favor.
The simple accounting rules can play a crucial part of financial success throughout a poker and eSport career.
4. Work Under Pressure
Poker players are under huge amounts of pressure when competing and must learn to play with emotional maturity during live tournaments — and the same goes for eSports players.
A study at the University of Chichester found that eSports players faced 51 different stress factors like communication problems and nervousness when competing in front of live audiences, which is the same for many poker players. Learning how to cope with these high levels of pressure will allow a player to compete at their maximum performance level.
5. Improve Visual Alertness
Aside from mental and psychological strengths, playing poker also improves a player’s visual alertness. This supports the player’s ability to pay attention to the cards, observe the movements of opponents and pick up on things average players usually miss out on.
In eSports, visual alertness can prove to be a very useful skill as it is required to notice quick details, sudden movements of attack and where your opponents and team members are located at any given time. Some eSports players may turn to brain training games to help them stay sharp, but poker is a great substitute.
Before attempting to dive into this new gaming arena, it is best to equip yourself with the proper skills that will give you an edge over the competition. Fortunately, you can take your cues from players in other competitive games like poker. Whether it’s the poker table or the virtual battlefield, all’s fair in love and war.
The art of mastering patience is beautifully exemplified in poker. Players understand that the key to long-term success is waiting for the right cards, opportunities, and circumstances before making a move. This patience can be translated into various aspects of life, such as pursuing the ideal job, investing in a long-term project, or building meaningful relationships.
In stark contrast, impulsivity tends to lead individuals down a path of hasty decisions and negative consequences, often resulting in regret and a lack of fulfillment.
7. Dealing With Difficult Situation
Dealing with Difficult Situations vs. Avoidance: Poker exposes players to a myriad of challenging situations, from handling formidable opponents to coping with unexpected setbacks. As they learn to navigate these obstacles, players develop a strong sense of resilience and adaptability that can be applied to real-life situations.
Conversely, avoiding difficulties denies individuals the opportunity to grow, leaving them vulnerable and unprepared when faced with adversity.
8. Reading and Understanding People and Surrounding
Poker players must be perceptive, keenly attuned to their opponents’ intentions and strategies. This ability to read people and their environment can prove invaluable in social and professional settings, as it helps to build rapport, make informed decisions, and anticipate future events.
In contrast, being oblivious to these subtle cues can lead to misunderstandings, strained relationships, and missed opportunities.
9. Making The Most Of What You Have
Making the Most of What You Have vs. Focusing on What’s Lacking: Poker players quickly learn that the secret to success is working with the cards they are dealt and maximizing their chances of winning.
This mindset can be applied to life, encouraging individuals to make the best of their circumstances and resources, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and rewarding experience. On the other hand, focusing on what’s lacking can breed feelings of inadequacy and discontent, hindering progress and stifling personal growth.
10. Understanding Risk vs. Reward
Understanding Risk vs. Reward vs. Risk Aversion: Poker players constantly weigh the potential gains against the risks involved in each decision. This deep understanding of risk and reward can help individuals make well-informed choices in life, such as deciding on investments, career moves, or personal relationships.
On the contrary, being overly risk-averse can limit growth, stifle creativity, and prevent individuals from seizing valuable opportunities.
11. Being More Assertive
Assertiveness is a vital skill that poker players hone in order to win pots and make their presence felt at the table. This assertiveness can be translated into personal and professional settings, empowering individuals to stand up for their beliefs, make their voices heard, and pursue their goals with confidence.
Passivity, on the other hand, can lead to missed opportunities, feelings of being overlooked, and ultimately, a lack of control over one’s own destiny.
12. Learn to Focus
Poker demands intense focus and concentration, requiring players to keep track of their opponents’ actions and adapt their strategies accordingly. This ability to maintain focus is beneficial in various contexts, from completing tasks at work to engaging in meaningful conversations and nurturing deep connections with others.
In contrast, succumbing to constant distractions can hinder productivity, stifle creativity, and obstruct the development of meaningful relationships. By learning to focus and eliminate distractions, individuals can unlock their full potential and lead a more satisfying, successful life.
13. Better Communication
n today’s world, effective communication is paramount, and interestingly enough, the game of poker serves as a platform for developing and refining a variety of communication skills. The game not only teaches players to read their opponents non-verbally but also fosters an environment that encourages social interaction.
Foremost, poker instills the ability to perceive and interpret visual signals, providing insight into unspoken thoughts and emotions. Mastering these non-verbal cues enables players to better understand and respond to the needs of those around them.
Additionally, poker is often a highly social game, offering a unique opportunity for players to hone their conversational abilities. In an age where face-to-face interaction is dwindling, poker serves as an arena for practicing essential social skills and nurturing a sense of ease in interpersonal communication.
The benefits derived from poker may not be specific tricks that instantly unlock success in professional life, but the enhancement of one’s overall communication skills can undoubtedly lead to substantial professional growth. By engaging in poker and refining these skills, individuals can become more adept communicators, reaping the rewards both in their personal and professional lives.