What Poker Teaches Us About Startup Pitches

Lessons on Startup Pitch Decks

What is the most important aspect of your startup? 

Is it the determination to succeed? Maybe, but it could be a great product with the capacity to turn heads. It might be your ability to work within a team to deliver your goals, or it might all be about timing and luck.

Whatever you think the most important aspect is, you should always consider it your startup pitch. Nobody can have an idea and drive it to success purely on their own. You need investors, partners to take you to the next level, and landing those is crucial. You’ll need two things for that process – an engaging and thorough pitch deck, which LaunchModule.com can help with, and the ability to sell yourself in the all-important pitch. Don’t underestimate the importance of this element. As Forbes.com explains, raising capital is difficult and time-consuming. You must get the preparation right, and that means getting your pitch deck spot on. That said, nobody can help you when you’re in front of those potential investors; it’s all down to you.

How do you handle that pressure? How can you find the attributes needed to put on your poker face and convince people that you are the real deal, extracting from them the investment or resources you need to take your startup to the next level. The clue is in the second line – a poker face. Poker is essentially one big pitch, a game where only you know the exact value of your hand, but you spend time convincing others that you have something worth their chips. In poker, you bluff and deceive, which you certainly should not do in a pitch, but there are valuable lessons to be learned from those successful enough to make a living from poker.

Here are three vital lessons you can learn from poker which apply to your startup pitch. 

Make sure you have a strong close

A pitch is usually a story, your story, told from the beginning and weaving towards a strong close. You have the killer idea, the motivation and the desire, but make sure that as your pitch comes to a close, you’re leaving your investors wanting to know what the next stage is and desperate to be a part of it. Medium.com discuss how the final slide is just as important as the last words, as it often stays on the screen for the longest period. When it comes to a strong close, you can learn from poker, especially if you have a good hand. You need to extract as much from the opponents around the table as possible, but remember, a strong close is crucial to let them know just how strong your hand is. If you hold all the aces, a big finish will see you take the pot.

Be the best

When you’re pitching your startup, it is likely the most important thing you will have done in days or weeks. Across the other side of the table, those you are pitching too might have seen a hundred before, just like you. That’s why you have to be the best; you have to catch the eye and put yourself firmly in their sights. In poker, there are hundreds of players at big tournaments. The poker capital of the world is Las Vegas, a city in which Poker.org reveals there are more than 30 reputable poker rooms. That’s lots of rooms full of players, and to be successful, you have to have something different from the others. Think about what makes your pitch different and use that to your advantage.


Last but not least, and perhaps most important is practice, a lot. Good poker players play more small hands and online tournaments than you’d ever give them credit for, honing their skills, and you should do the same with your pitch. Deliver it to friends, colleagues, family, even your dog, but make sure you know your business and your pitch inside out when you step in front of investors. Honestly, practice really does make perfect.


An excellent startup pitch can mark the difference between winning and losing. Remember these three lessons from the World’s elite poker players.

  1. Make sure you have a strong close
  2. Be the best
  3. Practice

For further help in preparing your winning pitch, contact our team.

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About the author

Leslie Morales is the CEO of Launch Module and a Certified High Performance Coach. Learn more about Leslie and her team on our About Us page.