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4 Skills Poker Players Can Learn From Top Managers

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Being a football manager requires a certain skill set that runs beyond that of understanding the game from a playing perspective.

There are a range of skills a manager needs in order to succeed, some of which are very similar to those required around a poker table. Some players like Gerard Pique and Ronaldo for instance, have tried their luck at poker. Teddy Sheringham has done both; he was manager of Stevenage for a short while and is a known fan of poker too.

Sheringham claims to have learnt the game from his time travelling on team buses, but that’s not the only way new players can get guides on how to succeed. PPPoker’s Twitter feed shows how players often turn to online resources for tips on how to improve, with some posts providing quizzes on which hand is the best one to play. Perhaps potential poker players should also look towards Premier League managers for some of the skills they show in order to become a better player.

Here are four skills that are needed in both areas.

Patience and Discipline

Image result for pochettino


Credit – Wikipedia / Víctor Gutiérrez Navarro

Some of the very best Premier League managers have often had to be patient. Clubs might be demanding big transfer fees for their top player, but a manager needs to remain calm and ready to move at the right time to get the best deal. Mauricio Pochettino had to be patient in the transfer market in the 2018/19 season and was rewarded with a Champions League final last season.

poker player needs the same skills, knowing when to lay down a good hand, but also when to fold a decent hand if they know someone else is holding better cards.

Reading Abilities

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Credit – Wikipedia / Steindy

This is one of the most important skills in poker, knowing exactly how to read people. What does that flutter of the eyelids tell a player about their opponent’s hand? What can be gleaned from an unusually high stake early on in the game?

Premier League managers are no different. When Virgil van Dijk’s Liverpool transfer first fell apart, Manuel Pellegrini dropped him and claimed he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play for Southampton. It’s important for a manager to understand that their players and what their tells might be.

Mind Games

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Credit – Wikipedia / Дмитрий Голубович

One of the masters of the management game, Jose Mourinho, used mind games to make his opponents think all sorts of things. Whether it was through his team selection or whether he wanted to be controversial to deflect criticism from his players, Mourinho knew how to play people.

Jurgen Klopp got under the skin of Pep Guardiola at the beginning of the season in much the same way with a jibe about transfer policy. Around a poker table, making players think and worry is an art and you can influence the outcome of a game as much by what you do as which cards you have.

Financial Management


Credit – Wikipedia / md.faisalzaman

Knowing when you can afford to take a risk is vital in poker; you wouldn’t be flippant when you were struggling for chips, but you might look to bully someone in the same situation if you had the means.

Managers are the same, particularly around transfers. Knowing what to buy for, how much to value your own player and when to take a gamble is important and the very best managers can turn a huge profit on a player. Brendan Rogers paid just £8.5m for Phillipe Coutinho in 2013 but the club sold him on for a whopping £146m in 2018.

Knowing when you can afford to take a risk is vital in poker; you wouldn’t be flippant when you were struggling for chips, but you might look to bully someone in the same situation if you had the means.

Managers are the same, particularly around transfers. Knowing what to buy for, how much to value your own player and when to take a gamble is important and the very best managers can turn a huge profit on a player. Brendan Rogers paid just £8.5m for Phillipe Coutinho in 2013 but the club sold him on for a whopping £146m in 2018.

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