Risk-Taking Lessons From Playing Poker

Poker is a game of chance, but it also requires a great deal of skill. The most successful players know that they need to be comfortable taking risks—and risk-taking can take time to develop. Jenny Just, 54, co-founder of financial firm PEAK6 Investments and a self-made billionaire, says she learned important lessons about risk management when she started playing poker in her teen years. She now applies those lessons to her business strategy.

First, you must “buy in” for the amount of chips your game uses. A white chip (or the lightest-colored chip) is worth one unit of the minimum ante or bet; a red chip is worth five whites; and a blue chip is worth 10 whites.

When you’re dealt cards, you start betting into the pot in clockwise order. If you have a good hand, you can raise the bet. But be careful: A weak hand is a good time to fold.

If you’re unsure whether your cards are good, you can check to see if the other players call. This will help you figure out which players are conservative and which are aggressive. Conservative players tend to fold early in a hand, while aggressive players risk their bankroll by raising bets too high.