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Mastering the Game: What Football Managers can learn from Poker Players

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Unlocking Managerial Prowess: What Poker Can Teach You About Football Manager
Football Managers can learn from Poker Players

Unlocking Managerial Prowess: What Poker Can Teach You About Football Manager


Football Manager is easily among the top sports simulator games on the market at the moment. What makes it stand out from so many of its rivals is that the gaming revolves around being a boss rather than a player.

People play Football Manager to prove their abilities in areas like man-managing the players and tactical astuteness. In terms of the latter, it has something in common with another popular game, namely, poker.

That suggests understanding the rules of poker and playing it regularly might provide some perspectives that can improve your chances with Football Manager. So, what exactly can poker teach you that will be helpful?

Poker and Management Parallels


There are clear parallels between football management – even in simulated game form – and poker. Unlike some other casino games, notably the slots and roulette, poker is as much a matter of strategy and psychology as luck.

It is possible to affect the outcome through those things, just as football managers use tactical awareness and mind games to try to outflank opponents. Great managers like Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho have many qualities that would make them equally brilliant at poker.

Read on to learn what poker has to teach you.

Financial Management


Financial Management

Football Manager aims to simulate the experience of managing a team as closely as possible, and that includes working to a transfer budget. As a manager, you have to try to strengthen your side in all key areas without running out of money.

Transfers in Football Manager are carried out using the drop-down menu labelled Transfer, but you can only make offers within your allotted budget. Equally, you are restricted in poker by the bankroll you have to play with.

Success is down to being careful not to bet too heavily in rounds where you do not have a very strong hand. That awareness can then be applied to Football Manager by resisting the urge to bid too much for a single player when you have several areas to strengthen.

Reading Opponents


As mentioned earlier, being able to read what is going on in the heads of your opponents is a skill that all the best football managers have. It is also one that is at the heart of top-quality poker play.

One of the main tactics in poker is the bluff, which is all about trying to make the other players believe that your hand is better than it really is. Mastering that ability to psych out other managers leading teams that are stronger on paper will be of tremendous benefit when playing Football Manager.

These are the mind games that were referred to earlier in the article. Reading opponents can also be useful from a position of strength, though.

In poker, that can mean piling the pressure onto a rival player when you have a strong hand by upping the ante and raising their bet. At the right time, it can be a smart move in Football Manager, too, deploying the press tactic of closing down opposition players when they are in possession to harry them into making mistakes.

Emotional Control


Being able to control your emotions is essential in poker. You must be able to avoid giving away information about the strength of your hand and also to keep emotions out of your decision-making.

That is true of managing football teams, too. There will be times when your tactics are not working, and your team is being overrun.

This is when effective changes need to be made, either tactically or by introducing substitutes. Good poker play is about making moves based on a rational assessment of the situation rather than an emotional one. Applying that to Football Manager will enable you to make smarter choices during a game and before the next one.

Assessing Risk


At every stage in poker, you need to be able to assess the risks both of your own planned strategies and those presented by the other players. For instance, if you plan to use the bluffing strategy, there is always the chance that another player will call your bluff.

The ability that poker will give you to assess and manage risk can be very helpful in Football Manager, especially when you are new to it. Every tactic will involve risk: e.g. pressing can lead to gaps at the back that the other team can exploit if they have pace.

Being capable of thinking through potential risks and having backup strategies should they become a reality is one difference between good and bad management. It is also something that separates top poker players from mediocre ones.

There are lots of ways poker can help you get better at Football Manager if you give it a try.

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FM Blog | FM24: Mastering the Game: What Football Managers can learn from Poker Players
Mastering the Game: What Football Managers can learn from Poker Players
Unlocking Managerial Prowess: What Poker Can Teach You About Football Manager
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