Skills to pay the bills

Skills for the bills

Can casino and table games really improve our chances of getting a job or a promotion? asks an interview coach to find out…

The link between playing online casino and table games and honing your skills for an upcoming job interview may not immediately be obvious. How, you may ask, does playing blackjack on your lunch break or spinning the reels on a slot machine while sat on the sofa watching TV improve your chances of impressing prospective employees or making sure you hit performance targets on the way to getting that big promotion?

It is a question we have been pondering for some time here at, so we decided to take a closer look at some of our favourite casino and table games, and what skills and knowledge were required to play them successfully. We also spoke to experienced interview coach, Claire Jenkins, from to see if there was any merit in our thoughts and findings.

Blackjack is a numbers game

We first looked at blackjack, very much a numbers game where players with solid arithmetic skills stand the best chance of beating the house. The logic, therefore, is that the more often you play, the faster and more accurate you become at basic math and numbers skills. For those facing numerical testing as part of the interview process, blackjack could therefore provide the perfect training ground.

Claire says: “Numerical reasoning is often tested as part of the recruitment selection process, so practising quick mental arithmetic and remembering number sequences are useful skills to keep as sharp as possible. This is also the case in jobs where numeracy is a vital part of the role. Blackjack is a good way of perfecting and maintaining these skills.”

The best way of improving blackjack and numerical skills is of course to play the game, but those looking to take things to the next level can learn the art of card counting. Not only will this improve a player’s chance of beating the dealer, but requires expert arithmetic and memory capabilities.

It’s all about your poker face

A key element of playing poker is, of course, the poker face. The likes of Phil Ivey, Antonio Esfandiari and Liv Boeree have mastered the art of remaining cool when under pressure – or at least appearing to be. Interviews and new roles at work are just as stressful as a high-stakes poker game, and require candidates and employees to maintain their composure. Playing poker teaches us to rein in our emotions, think clearly and act decisively despite being under the spotlight.

Claire says: “Appearing calm and composed at a job interview is a real asset, even if underneath that exterior the nerves are jangling. Being able to put yourself into a frame of mind where you can convey a relaxed confidence and positive attitude, while listening carefully of what is required of you, can help so long as it is kept at a believable level.”

“Over confidence and an over relaxed state risks being misinterpreted as being blasé and unfocused or, worse still, that the candidate is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

For those wanting to practice their poker face, there are several sites offering training tools and guides. But if you want to bring your a-game to an interview or your workplace, poker legend Daniel Negreanu offers private lessons including tips on how to master your poker face, with prices starting from $42,000.

Spinning and winning

Slots may not demand the same level of mathematical and emotional skill as blackjack and poker, but they require different characteristics which can help interviewees and employees up their game. Risk and budget management are key to extracting maximum enjoyment from playing slots, and knowing when to stop spinning the reels even if you are on a winning streak.

Those who regularly play slots quickly learn how to read and assess risk, and understand the random outcome of each spin. They take a calculated approach, wagering an amount they are comfortable with based on the probability their gamble will pay off. The more they play, the better they understand the different game mechanics, volatility and prize pay-outs, adjusting their betting habits accordingly.

These risk management skills transfer to several roles and situations in the work place.

Claire says: “Being able to judge probability and likely impact are the cornerstones of risk management. They also help in minimising likely negative outcomes and in scoping the extent of the need for mitigating action to prevent these.

“Most jobs involve some element of calculated risk taking. Understanding the likelihood of a scenario, being able to do options appraisals and fully appreciate the extent of the consequences of each potential choice, form a skill set that ensures resources are targeted where they will have the greatest result, reducing waste and maximising efficiency.”

Whether improving arithmetic skills, learning to remain calm under pressure, or developing a sixth sense for risk management, casino and table games can help players develop the necessary skills to nail intense interviews and smash performance targets while at the same time providing the entertainment and fun most players seek when accessing these games.

But now knowing they are also beneficial to personal and career development, you should feel a little less guilty for playing them a bit more often.