What Poker Can Teach Us About App Development

What Poker Can Teach Us About App Development

App development is a rewarding but challenging pursuit, and something best learned by doing. As you progress with creating an app, you learn how to make key choices, create engaging content, and fix errors in coding as you go.

However, there are skills from other walks of life that can come in handy, and as is the case with so many things, poker is one hobby that can be helpful. You might not think it, but playing poker, and utilizing the skills it teaches you, can make you a better developer.

Let's check out what poker can offer if you’re thinking about app development.


That’s right. Poker is a game of math – odds and pot odds – to be specific, according to a post on Medium. If you understand the odds, and you know your position at the table, then you have a better chance of making the right decision when it comes to your hand. That’s not to say that you’ll make the right decision every time - it’s a game of luck, after all - but an understanding of math plays a huge role. If the field of app development, there’s also quite a bit of math involved: it might be the chance of certain loot being dropped by enemies in gaming, the boolean logic triggering events and the prerequisites for it, and even character models require a certain understanding of math and proportions.


Resilience is a key attribute people often underestimate; the ability to 'roll with the punches', 'take the rough with the smooth' and all those other metaphors is actually incredibly important. Poker.org outlines the importance of mental skills in poker, and that failure is part of the game even for the best poker players. They will need to pick themselves back up again after a lost game, even if they’re upset, frustrated, and defeated. There is a certainty of failing in poker - again, it’s a numbers game after all, and learning to push through failure is an incredible skill. Also, successful poker players have a tendency to focus on the big picture, which is something we all need to be able to do, regardless of profession. Developers often face a lot of frustration and complications along the way to completing a project and building a great app, so resilience is an important skill that can help them make it to the finish line without pulling any hair out.


As with most careers, being able to reflect on your past performance and make improvements and tweaks when necessary is an invaluable skill. Poker players will often watch their previous tournaments in order to find mistakes they made and avoid them in the future. Almost all developers go through a similar process - they can look at previous projects and give themselves feedback that will help make future projects even better. Berkeleywellbeing.com explains that self-reflection can help us respond more effectively to our current circumstances - something that both poker players and game developers need to be able to do very well.

Working with Incomplete Information

Poker players don’t know what the dealer has, nor what cards their opponents hold. That’s simply the nature of the game, and it doesn’t make poker players’ lives any easier. Still, their success is partially based on how they handle this fact. As we mentioned before, poker players have a working knowledge of pot odds and chances, but nothing is guaranteed - much like app development. While you’re coding and trying to make sure that each new element works with the last, you’re working with incomplete information - either because it’s not accessible, or because you don’t need all of this information at the moment. As a result, however, developers may run into problems because of the complete information. The skill of being able to work without all the information you need is an important skill indeed.

If you found this interesting, you might also enjoy our piece on front-end development, entitled ‘5 Projects Every Frontend Developer Should Create’.