Poker is a pastime that’s been around as early as the 1800s, and it’s gained plenty of loyal players since. In the 21st century, the card game exploded in popularity, with poker tournaments becoming a widespread phenomenon and the game growing even more via online platforms.

While poker can sometimes be intimidating to complete beginners, there is plenty of fun to be had and lessons to learn from this classic game — lessons that can be applied both on and off the poker table. Here are some of them:

Learning How to Read People

When you’re playing poker, you’re up against other people — constantly wondering whether your cards are better than theirs. So, whenever you make a call, you don’t just base it on your hand, but also on what you think the opponents’ hands are. You can do this by studying their movements, their body language, and their past turns.

Making a habit of studying your poker opponents can help you better understand people outside of the game. Because as far as real-life applications go, people reading has plenty. It can help you choose the right partner and friends. It can even help you if you choose to enter the business sector. A keen eye for people’s motivations and reasoning helps you connect with upstanding business partners, manage employees well, and communicate effectively with your clients.

Strategizing with the Hand You’re Dealt

When you play poker, you have no control over the cards you’re dealt, and these won’t always make a winning hand. And that’s okay. Poker teaches you to make the most out of whatever you’re given. Instead of brooding about the things you can’t change, you’re taught to focus on things that you can control and use those to improve your chances.

The idiom, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” rings true here. There will be many times when you’ll be in less-than-ideal circumstances. Though it makes your life more difficult, you need to make the most out of these challenges. You should also learn to find the positive even in the worst situations. This gives you a better outlook and can help you cope with the stresses of life. Work with what you’re given, and if things get bad, always look for the silver lining.

Knowing When to Cut Your Losses

You can’t always win in poker. That’s why you have the option to concede. In poker terms, this is known as folding, which is to surrender your hand and sit out a round. Players usually do this when they’re given a bad hand, and they don’t want to lose any of their chips. Knowing when to fold can pave the way for better rounds and possibly winning the next time around.

This kind of thinking applies to plenty of aspects of your life — your career, relationships, and even your finances. For instance, quitting a job that has had adverse effects on your physical health and wellbeing opens an opportunity for a better job. The same goes for cutting off a toxic friend or family member. And with finances, withdrawing your assets from a failing investment is often wiser than letting it depreciate in hopes that the market turns around. A small loss now can lead to a bigger win in the future. You just need to be smart about it.

Coping with Failure

But of course, there are times when you’ll neglect to fold and have to suffer the consequences. You won’t have time to mope because the dealer’s already distributing the next set of cards. In short, you need to take your failure in stride and learn from your mistakes if you want to win at poker.

Outside the game, this mindset can teach you to be resilient. The pandemic has taken its toll on our psychological immune system, but we need to keep going despite these feelings of fear and uneasiness. Resilience entails the ability to learn and persevere amid hardship. After all, you might be losing the game now, but with the right mindset, you can succeed later.