While many people perceive poker as a simple game of chance, the truth is that it requires a lot more skills than you might think. Many of these skills will carry over to your life outside of the poker table, and can help you become a better person. In this article we will explore some of the unique benefits that come with learning how to play poker.
1. Teaches you to decide under uncertainty
Poker is a game of risk where you never know which cards are in other players’ hands, what their bet patterns will be or what their future actions might be. The most successful players are able to stay calm and make good decisions even when the odds are stacked against them. This skill is useful in all areas of life and helps you develop emotional stability.
2. Teaches you to read opponents
A big part of poker is reading your opponent. Some of this comes from subtle physical poker tells like scratching your nose or playing nervously with your chips, but a large amount of it is simply working out their betting range. If you see a player raise all the time it is likely that they are holding a strong hand, while if they play a lot of hands and fold often then they must be holding crappy ones.
By watching other poker games, and by analysing your own past hands, you can work out the range of possible hands that an opponent could have and then decide what action to take. This is a valuable lesson that you can apply to your own live poker and will improve your decision-making in the long run.