Five Things that Make Boxing Similar to Poker

Boxing and poker. At first glance, the two have little in common. Boxing evokes images of two men in a ring, wearing gloves and punching each other while the audience is cheering and yelling. When we think of poker, we imagine smartly dressed men in casinos, gambling with large amounts of money and keeping the “poker face” in an intense and almost solemn atmosphere.

Despite the entirely different images these two competitive activities present though, they have more in common than one might expect….

It Takes Time to Master the Skill

Nobody becomes a master of anything overnight, and this goes for both poker players and boxers. Any competitive poker player will tell you that he or she is still learning new things and tweaking strategies on a regular basis. Similarly, boxers keep at their craft constantly in pursuit of unattainable perfection. Case in point, recent videos of Mike Tyson suggest that the 55-year-old former champion is still trying to master his skill (ahead of a possible exhibition bout against Logan Paul). Both poker players and boxers are simply relentless in their pursuit of excellence.

No Solo Training

Boxing is sometimes referred to as the toughest and loneliest sport in the world. And in poker competitions, players are famously alone with their thoughts, often so private as to barely glance at their own cards for fear that others might see. As intensely lonely as both activities can be though, both also demand social training. Save for against punching bags and sophisticated AIs, respectively, boxers and poker players cannot train alone. Both types of competitors must migrate between social training situations and isolated states in competition.

Losing Is Part Of The Game

When poker players learn how to win, one of the first things they figure out is that they also have to lose. Winning every hand or game of poker is simply not possible; in fact, winning even more than a small majority of games is essentially the pro-level. Boxing is a little different, because the very best in the sport do win just about every fight they’re in. But most boxers still lose plenty, even if only in practice bouts or individual rounds. And in both activities, the best competitors understand that losses are learning experiences. They aren’t reasons to hang your head so much as opportunities to grow.

Both Are Competitive

While the points above have largely focused on patience and improvement, we should also stress that both poker and boxing are practiced by very competitive people. You simply don’t sit down at a casino poker table or step into a boxing ring unless you’re trying to win. In fact, most competitors in these two areas don’t show up unless they expect to win.

Both Are Psychological

We don’t always think of boxing as a psychological competition. Yet most fighters spend as much time reading their opponents and strategizing as any other aspects of their game. Consider Floyd Mayweather Jr. for instance. He’s arguably the best ever pound-for-pound boxer, and what made him good was largely his defense and anticipation. He read his opponents and reacted accordingly, essentially exploiting psychological advantages. It’s more or less exactly how poker players attempt to win.

Of course we aren’t suggesting boxers and poker players are the same. But when you consider the points above, the two activities may be more closely related than most would tend to think. If you are looking to explore more about poker, have a look at this website.

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