Poker can teach us a thing or two about business, but it has also been regarded as a game of psychological and emotional warfare -- there's a reason for that. Poker players possess exceptionally high emotional intelligence (or EQ) that pushes them to the top of the list. Here's why:
They've Mastered Emotional Control & Discipline
Poker has serious emotional swings. Imagine starting out with 10,000 chips and you double up to 20,000 with a great hand. It's almost a euphoric feeling when the dealer gives you your chips. On the other hand (pun intended), say you're on the losing end and your 10,000 chip stack goes down to 1,000 after some really bad luck. The opposite feeling occurs. You feel broken. You immediately go into the abyss of 'paralysis by analysis' and have to fight the urge to immediately go "all-in" with sub-par cards because you're steaming (aka 'tilting'). Poker players anticipate these swings, acknowledge them, but don't let their emotions take over. They stay in control.
They Have An Advanced Ability To Read Body Language
The ability to read body language is a huge aspect of emotional intelligence. Poker players are acutely aware of this and try to extract anything from a player that would allow them to make a more informed decision. Are they making or avoiding eye contact? Have their breathing patterns changed? Can you see their pulse throbbing on their neck? Are they talking more or less? Alternatively, they know they'll be on the receiving end of a player trying to read them, too. So, they equally need to be aware of their body language and be emotionally poised. #PokerFace
They Know Every Hand Counts
In Texas Hold'em, you average about 18-25 hands per hour playing live poker. If you play online, that easily doubles or even triples. So whether you're playing in a hand or not, every hand provides a new, fresh opportunity to hone your emotional intelligence and put it to work. Poker players take advantage of this and whether they're right or wrong, are continuously able to practice with every hand that is dealt.
If you've never played poker before or you intend on playing at the World Series of Poker in July ($10,000 buy-in, folks), poker players are, hands down, at the top of the emotional intelligence food chain.