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A Seat At The Table: A Conversation wth Poker Power President Erin Lydon

(Image courtesy of Poker Power.)

To succeed in the choreographed business world, you need to rely not only on business acumen and economic principles but also on emotional intelligence and adaptability. But how can you step in time? The answer is simple, poker.

(Image courtesy of media from Wix.)

Erin Lydon, President of Poker Power, understands the beat of business. She comprehends the stage the dancer (employee) performs on. Lydon knows that the dancer needs to master both the rhythm (business principles) and moves (explicit and implicit business skills). As President of Poker Power, she leads a team of twenty Instructors women who want to teach you the moves and techniques needed to succeed in your decision-making. I had the chance to speak with her to learn more about Poker Power. Here are the highlights I captured.

(Image courtesy of Poker Power. The image depicts Erin Lydon.)

1. Why should someone learn to play poker?

In most games, a person wins due to chance or luck. Poker is not one of those games. It is a game of adjustments and imperfect information. One must hone leadership, negotiation, and strategic thinking skills to succeed in a poker game.

(Image courtesy of Getty Images. The image was taken by Briana Jackson and found on Istock. )

When playing a poker game, you play against other humans who might not always act efficiently or logically. In poker, the player is dealt two hole cards (hidden so no one else can see them). As the play begins, you start to make decisions without knowing what anybody else has in their hands or the outcome. Throughout the game, you need to adjust your decision-making and strategy with each round of play. Consequently, poker is where a person plays both the cards and people.

(Image courtesy of Poker Power.)

In terms of business, poker allows players to hone negotiation skills through gameplay. Throughout the game, you start to see how people process information and show up during a negotiation. Poker is a fast-moving game. You need to make sound decisions using inferred information and seeing how others react. It is a vital skill to put value behind your decision-making by pushing in your stack of chips because that is what you believe.

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

2. How does Poker Power empower women?

The poker table is a meritocracy. When you sit at a poker table, your educational background, job title, or gender does not affect the game's outcome. The only thing that matters is how you play your cards. Frequently, people find themselves in hierarchical situations where others have decision-making authority. That's not the poker table. Consequently, many people love how they are on a level playing field at the poker table.

(Image courtesy of Vogue. Henry Clarkle took this photograph. This image was published on July 1, 1952. The image was found on Vogue's website.)

3. How does Poker Power incorporate its mission and vision into its services?

At Poker Power, 95% of our community has never sat at a poker table. Poker Power works with women at the very beginning of their poker journey. Women have an advantage at the poker table because women have high levels of emotional intelligence and receptivity. Often, they can interpret their opponents’ tells (which can range from patterns of behaviors and movement or speech inflection). Yes, you can do the math and be analytical with your cards, but it's vital to remember that you are playing with the other people at the table. And humans are unpredictable.

(Image courtesy of Getty images. The image depicts Kristen Stewart and Julianne Moore playing poker at Chanel's Couture Casino in Paris in 2015. The image was found on Vanity Fair's website)

4. Why do people become a part of the Poker Power community?

People play poker because it's fun and social. We launched during the pandemic when everyone desperately sought connections to other humans. We transferred our lessons to an online format. We quickly discovered how to create a curriculum, use a poker app, and engage our community. Poker is a highly competitive environment that is fast-paced, challenging, and rewarding.

(Image courtesy of Poker Power.)

At Poker Power, we focus on stacking your skills through repetitive gameplay, which leads to measurable behavioral improvements. At Poker Power, we do not transact in real money; it is all social gaming. We have taught over 28,000 girls and women how to play poker no matter their life stage.

5. What is the future of the company?

Because we began during the pandemic, we started as a completely virtual company. Today, we operate as a hybrid business that operates parallelly in the virtual and physical worlds. We continue to teach poker in 40 countries and build relationships with over 150 corporate and higher-ed partners.

(Image courtesy of Poker Power.)

In 2022, we launched our app called Poker Power Play. The app is the only teaching app in the marketplace created solely to educate users about poker. Poker Power Play's gender-neutral tone and design make everyone feel included in this space.

(Image courtesy of Poker Power.)

Poker Power does not solely exist in the business world. We work with 14 law firms to connect and build relationships with lawyers, paralegals, clients, and more. And we are very mission driven with our philanthropic programs in high schools and nonprofits.


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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