Self-made billionaire Jenny Just is encouraging women to learn poker to prepare them for success in what are normally male-dominated fields. The co-founder of Peak6 Investments says that the strategical nuances of the game are perfect for learning how to overcome persistent gender bias in the professional world.
Jenny Just Recommends Teaching Women Poker
Jenny Just is one of only 23 self-made billionaires in the United States today, kicking off her career in finance on the Chicago Board Options Exchange floor.
There were so few women working there in the early 90’s that there wasn’t even a women’s bathroom.
Today, Just is thought to be worth $1.5 billion and recognised as a leader in her field, focussing on business-changing technology.
Why Does Jenny Just Recommend Poker for Girls?
The realisation that poker is the ultimate strategy-learning tool came during a tennis match in which Just’s daughter was losing.
Just saw that her child wasn’t strategizing and learning how to adjust based on game flow and came up with a poker-playing experiment.
Her husband Matt agreed with the assessment.
“She’s a very good tennis player, but she may as well be hitting against the wall. She may as well be hitting with her teacher. She doesn’t realize she’s hitting against someone who’s strategizing on what they’re going to do back. She needs to learn to play poker.”
A four-week experiment with Just’s daughter’s friends and later their mothers became an eye-opener. Just was now convinced that learning poker was an incredibly powerful tool for improving performance in many different areas in finance.
This realisation eventually led to a new company being formed that was aiming to teach women about poker and specifically how it relates to the business world. Poker Power is growing fast and is supported by many billion-dollar business leaders.
“We’re women teaching women how to play poker. We teach poker because it’s more than a game; it’s a game changer. Thinking like a poker player gives women the skills to succeed from the classroom to the boardroom.”
Just is clear that poker in her eyes is far more than making money. The lessons learned are focussed on a higher-level mission. She thinks that sitting at the poker table is no different to a seat in a boardroom.
It is estimated that less than 10% of poker players are women but that could change fast with figures like Jenny Just promoting the game as a way to get ahead in business.
“That poker table has a forcefield around it and it feels an awful lot like the meeting room. … Practice going to the table to get over one hurdle, to get to the next one.”
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