Think playing as investment

Think playing as investment

May 29, 2018 3:00 AM


If you play the game of poker as you would make a wise business investment, you would much improve your chances of winning, and more often overcome the cost to play.

Investing is simply the process where you can risk a relatively small amount of money to gain much more. You could invest in the stock market; just be sure you select the “right” stocks – based on past performance, the market it serves, and potential for future growth. Astute and experienced management will help.

You might want to invest in real estate. Be sure the property is in good condition and located in a favorable location. Going into business is yet another form of investment. Be prepared by knowing the market it serves and its growth potential.

Likewise, you can be an investor when you play poker. Indeed, if you don’t “invest” wisely, then you are gambling – and likely to be a loser!

Investing does entail risk. The investor could lose some or all of his capital. He uses his knowledge, skills, and available information to make the best possible investment of his money, hoping to maximize his profit gain.

Gambling is the opposite of prudent investing. It’s like playing the slots in Las Vegas where the odds are set to favor the house. You are an underdog from the start. How well you do is just a matter of chance; but the odds are against you. More often than not, you will go home a loser.

So, isn’t investing pretty much the same as when you are playing poker? In a sense, yes, they are very much alike. But there is one big difference: In playing poker, it is much more difficult to have all the key information you would like. As a result, it is also harder to build your capital base. You might say the odds are much higher against being successful – profitable; but it can be done.

Let’s explore that premise a bit further – playing poker for profit compared to wisely investing in, let’s say, the stock market.

To begin with, you should become very familiar with the ins and outs of that market; get all the information available. Your education and knowledge are so important. Take classes; read books; discuss the stock market with experts who have been successfully involved for many years. You may decide to hire a specialist to advise you along the way to help you select the “right” stocks, at the “right” time. Similarly, there are such opportunities in the poker world.

Also desirable is a strong familiarity with the company in which you are considering investing, its market, and its competitors. That’s akin to selecting the variety of poker in which you will concentrate your efforts. As a recreational player, you might prefer low/middle-limit hold’em cash games. Professionals usually favor high-limit cash games and/or tournaments.

Likewise, it is important in poker to “know” each of your opponents. Is he tight or loose, passive or aggressive? Is he deceptive – likely to bluff? Is he a calling-station who will stay to the end once he invests in that pot? In that case, you ought not to try to bluff him out. On the other hand, you can gain more of the calling-station’s chips when you raise for value.

When is it best to sell that stock? What is your prognosis for that stock based on the economy? Are there new developments that will compete with the company’s products? Similar considerations should apply to your poker game. You are well ahead; but the texture of your table has changed. You prefer to play in loose games that are not so aggressive. Two new players have been seated, and they love to raise and re-raise. That’s not for you. Get out of that game.

Conclusion: Play poker as if you were making a wise investment; then, you are more likely to go home a winner. Otherwise, you are gambling – just depending on getting lucky. On the other hand, wise investing is analogous to being highly skilled when playing poker.