The Cognitive Benefits of Poker


Poker is a game of strategy and chance, but it’s also a fun way to pass the time and develop social skills. It has gained a negative connotation due to its association with gambling, but it’s actually a skill-based game that can improve your mental health.

While some players will only play poker for a profit, others use it to build their skills in order to compete in major tournaments. No matter how you play poker, it has some incredible cognitive benefits that can help you in your everyday life.

1. Teaches you how to make decisions under uncertainty

One of the most important things that poker teaches you is how to make good decisions under uncertainty. This is an essential skill to have in life, whether you’re dealing with business situations or other areas. Poker teaches you how to calculate odds in your head and assess the chances of a certain outcome.

2. Trains you to be mindful of your own emotions

Poker can be very emotional, especially when the stakes are high. However, good players must always be mindful of their emotions and keep them in check. If a player’s stress levels rise uncontrollably, it could lead to disastrous consequences. Poker teaches you how to recognize your own emotions and control them, which can be beneficial in your personal and professional lives.

3. Helps you become more analytical

Poker teaches you how to analyze the game and its players in detail. By paying attention to your opponents’ betting patterns, you can narrow down their possible hands and determine which ones you should raise or call. For example, if someone raises after you see a flop of A-2-6, it’s likely they have a two-pair or better.

4. Develops your quick instincts

A big part of poker is making fast decisions. This requires you to have good instincts, and it helps if you’ve played enough games to be familiar with the typical outcomes of different scenarios. A good way to develop your instincts is by watching experienced players and imagining how you’d react in their position. This will give you an edge in your next game.

5. Builds your resilience

Being a successful poker player takes a lot of mental strength and discipline. You have to be willing to lose some hands that you could have won, and you need to be able to accept defeat without getting angry or frustrated. This can be hard for some people, but it’s an important skill to develop in order to improve your overall game. This will pay off in the long run, and it’s a great way to learn how to deal with setbacks. In a game of poker, as in life, you need to be able to pick yourself up and try again.