5 Ways That Playing Poker Improves Your Brain


Poker is a card game where players place bets on the outcome of a hand. While the game involves a lot of luck, it also requires the ability to think strategically and act quickly in changing situations. This makes it a great exercise for the brain. The more you play, the better your critical thinking and analytical skills become. It’s these skills that separate break-even beginner players from big time winners.

1. Teaches emotional stability in changing situations

One of the most important lessons that poker teaches is how to remain calm and cool under pressure. This is a crucial life skill and it’s something that can be applied to many different scenarios. A good poker player won’t panic when they lose a hand, instead they will analyze what went wrong and work on improving in future hands. This type of mindset can help you in all areas of your life.

2. Improves quick math skills

Poker involves a lot of quick calculations, and the more you play the more you’ll develop your fast thinking abilities. You’ll start to see the odds of a hand in your head, and you will be able to determine whether or not it is worth calling, raising, or folding. This type of thinking is a huge benefit in poker and will help you win more money in the long run.

3. Enhances reading skills

Poker can teach you to read other players better. While there are a lot of subtle physical poker tells that you can learn, the majority of the information you need to read an opponent comes from their betting patterns. For example, if an opponent always raises in EP then you can assume that they are playing crappy cards.

4. Builds strong instincts

The more you play poker, the faster your instincts will become. Poker is a game of deception, and the best players are able to read their opponents’ reactions and predict what they will do next. You can practice your instincts by watching experienced players and imagining how you would react in the same situation.

5. Improves cognitive function

The mental side of poker is just as important as the physical side. In fact, many people who don’t play poker very often don’t achieve their full potential because they can’t keep their emotions in check and their thinking is too sloppy. Poker can help you sharpen your focus, and by learning to stay focused you will be able to make more accurate decisions in all aspects of your life. By exercising your mental muscles you’ll find it easier to do other tasks that require a high level of concentration, like studying for a test or analyzing an argument.