NEW DELHI, Sept. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Prof. Deepak Dhayanithy from the Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, who formulated an elective course called ‘Competitive Strategy: The game of poker’ or CSP as it is commonly called, and has been teaching it for six years spoke to 9stacks recently. “I feel satisfied when I teach this course. Managers are professional decision-makers and poker is a great mental sport to teach them the skills of decision-making. I am happy to bring the two together,” he says.
In an interview with 9stacks, one of India’s fastest growing online poker platforms, Prof. Dhayanithy explains how the course came about. As a strategy faculty member in IIM-K, he is constantly on the prowl to devise courses that enhance probabilistic and psychological analytic skills of his students and the poker course originated from the same thought process. “Most people think with the certainty of hindsight that business is very deterministic. But it is not. The challenges in business strategies are in a constant flux, and the managers have to constantly adapt to the changes happening in the world. Poker is a great way to teach probabilistic decision-making. It may be new in India, but courses on poker strategies have been being offered in Harvard, MIT and other universities across the USA. And these courses teach approaches that are relevant in a variety of business settings, ranging from stock markets to vendor negotiations to capital investment decisions under uncertainty – and even extend to normal real-life decision making,” he expressed.
He himself was introduced to card games when he was a child and used to actively participate in the family sport. Being a sports buff, he was fully convinced of poker through ESPN. ESPN late night programming included poker telecast. Intrigued by the skill and strategy used by professional poker players, he started playing poker and he liked it. Being a poker player himself, Prof. Dhayanithy is very pleased that the course has proven popular and effective. Before every class, he plays a tournament and spends time studying about poker strategies, so that he can teach the class.
Talking about the elective course, Prof. Dhayanithy says, “From about 60 students in its first year of inception, CSP is now sought by over 200 students. An almost equal batch proportion of boys and girls opt for the elective in their 2nd year. Most girls in the class are as competitive as the boys,” Most students enjoy the classes which include playing tournaments, discussions, participating in live sessions and understanding business parallels as well as the business of poker itself. However, about 20 percent of the students still think of it as taboo. He tells them to not change their beliefs and experience poker for what it is. They still attend the elective classes,” he smiles.
While poker has gained respectability abroad, it is still frowned upon and disapproved by many parents in India. However, with the advent of many online poker sites, Prof. Dhayanithy thinks this is improving. When asked if he faces any issues with the parents of his students, he laughs and says “My students introduce me to their parents during convocation as their poker professor. All I do is say Namaste and try to get off the topic as soon as possible.” For the budding poker industry in the country, he says the best way to protect the game and help in destigmatizing the name is to promote brand ambassadors – poker players who carve successful careers for themselves. Further, they are well-spoken, free-thinking, intelligent and hard-working – characteristics that would resonate with the larger audience.
Millennials riding the information wave have to constantly tweak their brains just to keep up with new technological developments that make their lives easier, yet complex in many important ways. In addition, management students have to learn trusted old skills as well as new skills in people management, while adopting newer and more novel methods to help in decision making. IIMs churn out top-notch management graduates year after year and are always on the lookout for innovative methods, courses and initiatives to improve the decision-making skills of the students.
Prof. Deepak Dhayanithy graduated from the School of Architecture and Planning (SAP), Guindy Chennai, and went on to IIM Lucknow to complete the Fellow Programme in Management. He now resides in Kozhikode with his landscape architect wife Anjana and two young sons.
9stacks is one of India’s leading online poker platforms, offering poker as a fun, skill-based online game that can be played anytime anywhere.
Sudhir Kamath is an IIM-A alumnus and ex-McKinsey consultant with over 17 years of experience. Prior to 9stacks, he was CEO of Suntera Energy.
Pratik Kumar is an IIT KGP alumnus, with over 12 years of experience in e-commerce and online marketing. He was the CMO of Nykaa.com and founding team member of Zivame.com
Abhinav Nigam is an IIT KGP alumnus and ex-BCG consultant, with over 12 years of experience with Accenture Strategy and the Boston Consulting Group.
Rishab Mathur is an IIT KGP alumnus with over 12 years of experience in technology. He was the Head of mobile technology for Nearbuy and CTO of 9monks and Blot Canvas.
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