Chamath Palihapitiya: "Poker is the best training for real life"

Chamath Palihapitiya
Terrance Reid
Posted on: June 14, 2023 06:08 PDT

Chamath Palihapitiya took his seat at the World Series of Poker at Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas yesterday for the $100k High Roller No-Limit Hold'em event.

The popular venture capitalist, businessman, and CEO of Social Capital has been around the poker scene for quite some time.

Tournaments vs. cash

Palihapitiya is a regular face around high-stakes cash games, but he occasionally mixes it up in the tournament streets. He seems to have reasons to prefer cash, though.

"I've been playing high-stakes cash games for 15 years now," said Palihapitiya, "so that's a pretty comfortable game for me. Cash plays obviously very different than tournaments. I've never really studied tournaments, so I don't understand the optimal approach, especially as I get short-stacked."

Phil Ivey and Chamath Palihapitiya take seats in the new player rotation on High Stakes Poker (Image source: PokerGO) Phil Ivey and Chamath Palihapitiya take seats in the new player rotation on High Stakes Poker (Image source: PokerGO) Antonio Abrego

Besides the strategy and study elements, there's another reason Palihapitiya doesn't fire too many tournaments.

"Tournaments are not a big part of my life just because they're very time-consuming," he said.

What poker teaches us about life

As with many sports and games, poker can teach us much about life. Palihapitiya knows this all too well, and poker influences his business relationships.

"I tell all the companies that I invest in, and anybody that'll listen, [poker] is the best training that you can have for real life," said Palihapitiya. "It puts you in this little microcosm of having to deal with the wins, deal with the losses, be graceful, be kind, make good decisions, and be unemotional yet stubborn. These are all great traits of businesspeople. If you're willing to learn, I think it teaches you all those things. It's a beautiful game."

"Poker...puts you in this little microcosm of having to deal with the wins, deal with the losses, be graceful, be kind, make good decision, and be unemotional yet stubborn...I think it teaches you all those things. It's a beautiful game."

Chamath Palihapitiya on what poker teaches us about life and business.

Whether we're talking poker, life, or business; Palihapitiya's perspective is spot on. We're happy to have him at the table.

Best of luck in all your endeavors, Chamath. We hope you figure out that short-stacked tournament strategy, we'd love to see you get a bracelet.