Poker is a game that requires a lot of thinking. This is because, unlike most casino games, the outcome of a poker hand depends on a number of factors. It’s no wonder that this game has so many benefits for players in terms of their life skills.
The most obvious benefit of playing poker is that it improves your math skills. The game is full of numbers, odds and percentages that all get ingrained in your brain as you play. You’ll start to see patterns in the odds of certain hands and develop an intuition for things like frequency estimation and EV calculation. This will be beneficial to you both in poker and outside of it.
It also teaches you to think about risk vs. reward. When you’re in a poker hand, you have to decide whether or not to risk your entire stack for the chance of getting a big win. This is something that you will need to learn how to do in other areas of your life.
Another important thing that poker teaches you is patience. It can be hard to sit through a long losing session, but the more you do it, the better you will become at it. This will help you in other areas of your life where you might need to be patient, such as during a business meeting.
In addition to learning patience, poker also teaches you how to read other people. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to make movie-like reads on the other players in your home game, but it will teach you how to think about what they might be thinking and why they might be doing what they are doing. This will help you in your personal and professional life.
Finally, poker teaches you how to be more aggressive when it’s necessary. This can be in the form of a well-timed bluff or pushing for what you want in a business negotiation. This is a skill that you’ll need to master in your life, and poker can help you do it.
There are a lot of different reasons to pick up the game of poker. It’s a great way to socialize with other people and it can even improve your mental health. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! So the next time you’re looking for a new hobby, consider picking up a deck of cards. You may find that you’re surprised at how much it can benefit your life! Just don’t forget to stay safe while you’re at the table. Good luck! – Danielle D. Cannon, PhD, is a research scientist and a full-time poker player. She writes about poker strategy and mental game improvement on her blog, The Mental Game. She’s also a contributor to The Huffington Post. She resides in Chicago with her husband and two children. Follow her on Twitter @daniellecannon. You can also find her on Facebook and Google+.