Man dropping poker chips on table

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Poker mastery may be the key to killing it in your chosen profession.

“Professional poker players are experts at extracting signals from noise across many channels,” reports the authors of “Information Encryption in the Expert Management of Strategic Uncertainty.” “By understanding uncertain strategic behavior…, we offer a detailed account of how experts extract, process, and conceal valuable information in high-uncertainty, high-stakes competitive environments.”

The study, which was lead by a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis was published in the journal Cognitive Science. Here’s what social scientists say all professionals can learn from their research.

Out-Think  Your Opponents

According to the study, successful strategy isn’t about your resources but understanding your opponent’s resources and how he or she may use them. “[Poker experts] pull their informational advantage not from their own cards, and not from their opponents’ signals, but specifically from how those two information sources interact. As long as their cards are private, their behavior is encrypted: an opponent can’t reconstruct their reasoning without access to both sources of information,” says Seth Frey, a researcher on the project.

Reveal Less, Learn More

Information is power. You want to know more about your opponent and their plans, but protect your own. How, Sway? Carefully select what you allow people to know. “Sharks (expert players) accomplish this feat by carefully managing how their wagering behavior is informed by public and private information sources. Their peculiar information management behavior allows them to maximize their coherence with the information they use without ‘tipping their hands,'” says Frey.

Pay Attention to Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

“Professional poker players are experts at extracting signal from noise across many channels, and at integrating information from those channels both to exploit their opponents and protect themselves,” say the authors. In short, learning how to decode expressed messages (i.e., bluffs or intentional misinformation) is the key to creating a winning personal strategy.

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