What Poker Taught Me About Life

  1. “It depends…”
  2. There’s a difference between a good decision and a good outcome
  3. There’s a difference between being broke and having no money
  4. There’s a difference between a winning person and a winning player
  5. It’s all one long game
  6. The long run is longer than you think
  7. Inaction can be very risky behavior
  8. Embrace the beauty of uncertainty
  9. Objectivity is the only thing that’s impossible
  10. Whatever your “leak”, that’s what will get you in the end
  11. Luck and skill are two sides of the same coin
  12. Material wealth is a manifestation of interior wealth
  13. There’s time enough for counting… when the dealing’s done
  14. There’s no difference between value and values
  15. Your word is mightier than the law
  16. Win-win beats win-lose any day
  17. Trust everyone, and don’t count the cards

  • Chris Hanel

    18. All things being equal, the person acting with more information wins.
    19. All the strategy and execution in the world might be powerless to help in the short term. It’s having confidence and continuing on to the next hand that makes you a winner.

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  • 20. Circumstances change, Knowledge remains

  • Paul

    Poker is zero-sum (slightly negative-sum if you factor in the rake), whereas life additionally presents non-zero-sum games. What poker lessons have you found to be misleading away from the table?

    • Rafe Furst

      Great question. Poker misleads us into thinking life only occasionally presents positive-sum games, when in actuality they are all around us. More accurately though, if we just stick to what “life presents” we remain stuck in this illusion, whereas if we believe we can create win-wins, we surely can and do.

      • Paul

        -2. (Heh, not sure how to number the poker anti-lessons.) In poker, you don’t want to educate your opponents, because your profit comes from their mistakes. In life, you want to promote education, especially when others’ misconceptions hurt everyone.