Poker is a card game that puts a player’s analytical, mathematical and interpersonal skills to the test. It also indirectly teaches life lessons that many players are not even aware of.
1. Teaches the importance of risk versus reward.
While most people enjoy the thrill of winning, a good poker player knows that to win often means losing. This is because a good poker hand requires taking calculated risks in order to maximise the amount of money that can be made. This skill of weighing up risk versus reward is something that can be applied in all aspects of life, not just at the poker table.
2. Improves observational skills.
A big part of being a good poker player is the ability to observe your opponents and understand what they are doing. This is important because it allows you to read their tells and pick up on small changes in body language or betting patterns that can help you determine the strength of their hands. This is not easy and it takes a lot of concentration but it is an essential skill to have in order to be successful at poker.
3. Toughens the mind.
Playing poker can be a very stressful experience, especially when the stakes are high. A good poker player will not allow their emotions to dictate their actions and will remain calm and courteous regardless of what is going on around them. This is an important lesson in life as it teaches one to be resilient in difficult situations. Being able to take a defeat with grace and learn from it is an invaluable skill that can be applied in all areas of life, not just poker.
4. Improves critical thinking skills.
While it might not be obvious, playing poker can actually boost your mental arithmetic abilities. The reason is that when you’re playing poker, your brain is switched on and constantly trying to figure out the best move. This constant process of analysing the situation and making decisions helps to strengthen your analytical and critical thinking skills. It can also help to improve your maths skills if you’re good at numbers.
5. Teaches the value of position.
If you’re a newcomer to the game of poker, you may be surprised at how much information can be gained by simply being in position. In a typical poker game, each player is dealt two cards face down and then five community cards are revealed in three stages known as the flop, turn and river. The player with the best poker hand wins. The key is to recognise what hands are likely to be winning on the flop and then to play those hands in late position.
Having a balanced poker style is important because it prevents your opponents from knowing what you’re holding. If they know what you’re holding, they can easily put you on a bluff and you won’t get paid off on your big hands.