Teaching the Mind Sport of poker to businessmen
Things are going well for me in 2013, as I'm playing a lot of poker and also having a chance to do other fun things like play golf and enjoy myself. I'm also getting increasingly involved in hosting poker tournaments for some businesses and other groups, thereby introducing poker to a variety of people who are otherwise new to the game.
What I have been doing is going to annual meetings for some of these businesses, huge get-togethers with say 400 or 500 attendees. They'll give me a corner in a room and I'll set up kind of a small "poker school" where I'll teach people how to play. We'll have sit-n-gos, too, and it becomes an interesting way not only for the people at the conference to interact but also to learn about poker.
For example, not long ago in Frankfurt we had a nice event with a more than 400 invited guests where I taught about 70 of them how to play Texas hold'em and we played a small tournament. We also talked about PokerStars and playing online, and in the end a lot of people went away interested in poker who had never really played the game before.
There's a lot of demand for this sort of thing in Germany right now, with poker becoming more and more popular and the public perception of the game improving as well. When people participate in an event like this, they come away saying "Oh, poker is like a sport -- a mind sport!" They realize that some of the negative associations of poker with gambling or other activities aren't really so true anymore.
I've already got five more events scheduled going forward, and am anticipating several more in the coming months. I have a four-hour seminar planned for the next one where I'll be showing some of the parallels between poker and business. We'll talk about psychology and management strategy and all sorts of areas where strategic thinking in poker can apply to business.
I believe right now there are around 3-4 million people in Germany who play poker, but that leaves about 76 million or so who don't. So I'm doing what I can to introduce the game to more people, and they're benefiting as well by having fun and also learning how the negotiations and other strategies in poker can apply in a business setting.
It doesn't hurt that I'm talking to people in the business world about poker, either, as they tend to have a bit more influence in the world. If you think about it, they're the ones who have the "big stacks," in a way, and thus perhaps can affect future "action" a little more than others!
Michael Keiner is a member of Team PokerStars Pro