Readers of the Forbes magazine website were asked an intriguing question in the business section last week. Was it better to spend $100,000 on a business degree or $3 on a deck of playing cards with which to play poker?

Forbes VideoQuite an either-or you might think but President of the United States Poker Federation (USPF) Peter Alson was quick to suggest that the $3 investment wasn’t such a bad idea after all, arguing that poker serves as a remarkable educational tool, particularly for those in business.“Poker, like business, is a game where you quite often are making decisions based on incomplete information so that you know some of the factors involved but not all of them,” Alson told Forbes.The USPF, along with the International Federation of Poker, are working to reposition the game as a mainstream sport, demonstrating that poker, like chess or bridge, has intellectual and cognitive benefits for those who master it, not least in a business sense.

“It’s also a game where you’re making decisions based on risk and reward and there is also the element of reading your adversaries to know where they’re coming from…(and) sometimes you have to cut your losses and those decisions will determine whether you succeed or fail.”

Stating what many poker players already understand, Alson maintained that poker skills such as calculating risk, projecting authority and assessing opponents’ leverage can all be applied to business transactions.

“All the businessmen I know say that they learned more from poker than they did from business school because the game itself plays out like business in terms of how you can read your competitors and assess their relative strengths and weaknesses and take advantage of them,” said Alson. “All of these things Poker teaches in ways that business school can’t.”

Maybe the $3 deck of cards isn’t a bad alternative after all?

Well, the reality may not be quite so simple. But knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em has always been a useful skill in any field.

You can read the full article here.

Shuffle up.