There has always been similarities drawn between chess and poker over the years, so much so that many a chess player eventually end up playing the more lucrative game. In the main they have been pretty successful too.
Martin Stazko who finished runner up in the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event was a keen chess player before he made the transition. He claims that chess taught him early on how to play games that required being sat next to a table for so long and he also says that poker is a piece of cake compared to chess.
Jeff Sawyer was also a prominent chess player and he has made final tables in many big events in the World Series of Poker and on tours such as the European poker Tour.
This has led us to think about what exactly are the similarities between the games and why chess players seem to suit the game of poker so well. From the outside looking in, the games actually look completely different but there really are a few reasons why chess players can walk into the game easily.
The Same Studying Mentality
You will know that the top poker players in the world today are constantly learning, analysing, developing and improving their game. When they are not playing they are reading, studying and going over their hand histories to see if there is anywhere that they made a mistake or where they could have played better.
This mentality is what separates professional players and recreational players. Chess players are already accustomed to these requirements to become a better player. Top chess players themselves do exactly the same and are suited to putting in the hours and hard work to improve.
Already Adept At Playing Mind Games
Chess players and poker players alike share the same thought processes when it comes to making their move. They will both plan ahead and will scrutinize every move they make to ensure that it is the very best one at that given moment. They both know that a single mistake can cost them the game, so they are always trying to ensure that it never happens.
They are also very adept at learning how their opponents play, so much so that they can almost second guess what their opponent will do each time.
They Understand The Importance of Patience
Both games can require long sessions sat around a table, which requires lots of patience. In fact if you do not have good patience levels then either game really is not for you. In poker it can really test you if you are not getting any good cards and things are not going your way, this can sometimes lead to players being impatient and making moves when they really should not.
A good player will always wait it out and then strike when the time is right. This is similar to a chess player who will have a set strategy and will make the killer moves at exactly the right time.
So as you can see, although the games look and play completely differently, you can see just why chess players will always have a good starting base when switching to poker. They have already developed many of the skills needed, they now just need to pick up the rest.