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The CFA Women Advisory Group hosted a sold-out Poker Power workshop to over 60 women (and men) at The Vault on March 15, 2023. The workshop taught the basics and strategy of poker, followed by open play and networking.

The Poker Power program was born after co-founder Jenny Just and her husband (co-founders of PEAK6 Investments) wanted to improve their teenage daughter’s (Poker Power co-founder Juliette Hulsizer) tennis game and mental toughness. They determined poker would be the perfect vehicle. Poker Power believes that there is a strong connection between the game of poker to success, money, and confidence. However, only 4% of poker players are women. The program looks to close this gap by teaching women poker in a fun, supportive, and safe-to-fail environment. Ultimately, the program’s goal is to empower over one million women to bet on themselves in often male-dominated spheres.

Poker Power teaches No Limit Texas Hold’em, the most popular variation of poker. The instructors first went over the basics of poker – how to play, hand rankings, and table position. After everyone quickly picked up the basics, they moved on to the exciting part – strategy.

Poker Power encourages players to be 1) aggressive and 2) tight in their play. First, aggressive play consists of raising (increasing the bet) on all hands you play and avoiding calling (matching the bet). Raising tells your opponents you like your hand – if you do not raise, your opponents will know you are not confident in your hand! Applying pressure, being confident, and making quick educated decisions at the table can translate over time into players’ professional and personal life. Second, tight play describes only playing a very small number of hands dealt to you. The best poker players only play their best hands (professionals fold up to 80% of their hands!). The discipline and assertiveness learned in this style of play can translate into increased financial management and risk assessment skills.

Lastly, Poker Power teaches how to avoid giving off tells, or changes in behavior when you have a good or bad hand. In real life, this could translate to a tense boardroom meeting or negotiating for a promotion. They encourage players to have a Zen approach – always sit in the same confident position, have a neutral facial expression, and keep a steady pace. Even when other players are pressuring you to speed up – be assertive, and let others wait for you.

Ultimately, the business world is not all that different from a game of poker. By inviting women to have a seat at the table, we are building a generation of female leaders that are not afraid to go all in.