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How Poker Can Make You Better at Football Manager

FMInside Oct 10, 2022 Last modified: 10 Nov 1,759 views

Football Manager is one of the longest-running sports franchises in the gaming industry. Its success has been due to how the game has evolved to not only adapt to changes in modern football but also how the gamers themselves think and act. 

With the next iteration of the game released soon on PC, PlayStation 5, and Apple Arcade, the game will reach even wider audiences. Football Manager is a game of tactics, risk, and patience, which means it shares many attributes with poker. Those who play poker will be able to transfer many of their skills to Football Manager in order to be better managers. Here are 3 ways playing poker can make you better at Football Manager.

Better at Calculating Player Potential

Numbers in both poker and Football Manager are vitally important to success. In Football Manager, a player has two options to calculate the quality of a player, current ability (CA) and potential ability (PA). The numbers range between 0 and 200, with top players like Messi having both a high CA and PA. In order for a player to reach their PA, a manager must carefully calculate how they use the player in relation to age, personality, mental attributes, hidden attributes, and playing time.

This is where playing poker can help. During a hand, a player must be able to calculate poker odds in order to ensure that they are making the right call with minimal risk. For example, “if there’s $100 in the pot and the bet to you is $50, you’re getting 2-1 on your money. If the pot had $150 in it and you were facing a $50 bet, the pot odds would be 3-1”. Poker players can look at this return on investment, along with their hand, to make a call on whether it is worth the risk to proceed.

The same applies to calculating how players will evolve, especially during the transfer market. In Football Manager, managers must take a risk with every new player, but understanding the different variables, such as form and traits like determination, will decrease the chance of acquiring the wrong player.

Better at Staying Patient

Just like a football season, a poker player will experience ups and downs, and how they react to these situations will determine their success. This is why patience in poker is one of the key skills all successful players rely on. While patience may seem like a passive action, it is actually an ability that needs to be learnt. In a poker game, a player that lacks patience will often bet, or be too aggressive, early on when there are a lot of players still in the game. This increases their chance of losing their hand compared to players who wait until the field has cleared a little before becoming more aggressive.

In Football Manager, especially if you are starting with a lower league team, it will take time to develop a squad that is capable of winning a league or domestic trophy. Football Manager player Barry Collins explains how a squad requires a lot of depth to create a winning team as you will be beset by injuries and a lack of form. He recommends forming an A and B first team. In order to build this depth you will need to play through a couple of seasons. Just as in poker, you may need to wait until you are ready before you can start winning prizes.

Better at Developing a Strategy and Sticking to it

While poker may seem like a hand-by-hand game, the best players will have formed a strategy to implement before they start playing. This could be playing fewer hands and being more aggressive on good pocket cards or trying to steal the blinds by betting big early on. Poker players who play regularly will also have individual strategies against certain opponents in order to give them an edge. Having an overall strategy and sticking to it is a skill that can be used in Football Manager. If you build a team around a particular formation or tactics, avoid the instinct to constantly change if you pick up some defeats. Endlessly changing your tactics will prevent you from seeing areas of improvement on the pitch and hinder your team’s development. Like top poker players it also is best to have different strategies against different teams depending on how they rank in comparison or what competition you are playing in. Being ready to adapt to different situations and opposing teams will increase your chance of success.

If you are a Football Manager and poker fan we hope the above article has demonstrated how the skills are transferrable. They may even help you develop your team into a title-winning one.


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