Mental Benefits of Poker


Poker is a game that requires a lot of thinking. Some people play this game just for fun, while others use it as a way to improve their skills and win big tournaments. Many people have a misconception that playing this game is bad for you, but the truth is that there are some significant mental benefits to poker. These benefits include learning to read other players, critical thinking and logical reasoning.

The first benefit that poker offers is the ability to develop a strong reading skill. This means that you can assess the behavior of your opponents and see what they are trying to do. This is an important skill for life, but it is particularly useful at the poker table. You can often tell if someone is bluffing or if they have a weak hand by their body language and their betting patterns.

Another thing that poker teaches you is how to be aggressive. This is not to be taken in a violent sense, but rather in the sense of being assertive when necessary. In business negotiations, for example, you will sometimes need to be aggressive in order to get what you want. Poker is a great place to learn how to be more aggressive, and this can translate well in other areas of your life as well.

There are a number of other things that poker teaches you, including how to manage your bankroll, how to set goals and how to study the game effectively. You also learn to be patient and how to accept losses. Additionally, you will improve your mental and physical health by working on your concentration, your focus and your stamina.

Finally, poker will improve your math skills. This isn’t the normal 1 + 1 = 2 kind of math, but more like odds and percentages. You will learn to calculate probability in your head, and you will have an intuition for things like frequencies and EV estimation.

All of these skills are useful in life, and they can be developed through the play of poker. While it is true that luck plays a role in the game, you can learn to control how much of a role it takes by studying and practicing. This will lead to greater success both at the poker table and in other aspects of your life. Keep in mind that you must be consistent in your studies to improve, so don’t bounce around too much. If you watch a cbet video on Monday, listen to a podcast about 3bet strategy on Tuesday and then read a book about ICM on Wednesday, you will not get the most out of your poker studies. Instead, try to focus on studying ONE concept each week, so you can really understand it and apply it to your games. This will lead to faster improvement over time. Good luck! -Geoff Moehring, Author, ‘The One Percent’ Online Poker Course