The Cognitive Skills That Poker Teach


Poker is a game that puts a player’s mental and social skills to the test. Despite having a reputation as a game of chance, it’s actually a highly skill-based game that requires concentration, alertness and the ability to read other players’ tells and body language. Moreover, there’s growing scientific evidence that playing poker can help develop certain cognitive skills.

A good poker player is able to deal with failure and learn from it. They don’t get caught up in the emotion of a bad hand and they understand that it’s not worth chasing their losses. This is an important life skill to have because it’s not uncommon in the real world that we will be faced with failure. But if we can learn from our mistakes and move on, then we can grow stronger as people.

Another skill that poker teaches is being able to make quick decisions. While luck does play a role in poker, a skilled player can outweigh the luck of their opponents through practice and studying bet sizes. It is also important to remember that there are always opportunities to improve your hand. In life, being able to quickly weigh the odds of winning can help you decide whether or not to take a job offer or go all in on the lottery.

In addition to developing fast instincts, poker also helps improve a player’s memory and attention span. By constantly practicing, a player can increase their speed and accuracy of decision making, which will lead to success. This is similar to how a student can become more proficient at a subject by spending more time on it.

One of the most important things that poker teaches is how to control emotions. It’s very easy for a player to get carried away by their emotions when they’re at the table, especially in a live game. If the player becomes too emotional, it can have negative consequences both at the table and outside of it. Poker teaches players how to manage their emotions and to keep them under control, which is an essential life skill.

Lastly, poker teaches players how to study the game in detail. This is because the divide between break-even beginner players and big-time winners often has very little to do with skill. Rather, it has more to do with a player’s ability to change their perspective and view the game in a more analytical, mathematical and logical way than they do presently. This is why it’s so important to practice a strategy and then study the hands that you played afterwards. This will allow you to see the flaws in your strategy and make necessary changes to improve your game. This process is called ‘grinding’ and it’s an integral part of becoming a successful poker player.