The Cognitive Benefits of Playing Poker


Poker is a game of skill. While luck will always play a role, the more skilled you are at poker the better your chances of winning. Many people play poker to unwind after a long day or as a way to meet new people. However, few realize that the game also provides a number of cognitive benefits.

1. Poker improves decision-making skills

Poker forces players to make decisions constantly. They must decide whether to call a bet, raise or fold. This constant stream of choices helps them develop their ability to weigh risks and rewards, a valuable skill that can be applied to other areas of life.

2. Poker improves math skills

When you play poker regularly, you’ll quickly learn how to calculate odds in your head. This isn’t your standard 1+1=2 type of math; it’s calculating the probability of different outcomes based on the cards in your hand and the table. This type of thinking can be applied to other areas of life, such as investing.

3. Poker improves emotional control

Poker teaches people how to control their emotions, which is important in any situation. For example, when you hold pocket fives and the flop comes A-8-5, it’s not a good idea to start complaining about how bad your luck is or how unfair your opponents are. It’s not cool to be a sore loser and it makes other players uncomfortable at the table. It’s also not good to berate dealers, which can lead to a bad atmosphere at the table and spoil everyone’s fun.