While there is still a certain level of “taboo” when it comes to playing any gambling games, online and live poker is still on an upward trend in terms of popularity. It is slowly getting rid of the stigma it was under in the past when it was seen as a pass-time activity for bandits, lower-class citizens, or questionable rich gamblers.
Many people have even started seeing that playing poker can change your life for the better. Not only because you can earn life-changing amounts of money, but also because the game in itself is a relatively healthy activity if you do it right.
It’s not easy to become a renowned poker player or even a mildly successful one. It takes a lot of effort, it requires a lot of learning and regardless of the number of poker strategy books you read, most of your experience will come through a trial and error process. If you make it though, you will thank yourself for choosing this path. The life of a pro poker player is not only glamorous and luxurious, it is also exciting and super fun.
Does playing poker come with benefits?
The short answer: Yes. Poker does provide players with a couple of very important benefits. It is a highly strategic game where players are required to think ahead, constantly calculate odds, and make tough decisions.
Becoming a poker player means changing the way you think and will have a positive effect on how you see the world and how you react in real-life situations.
It is a highly mathematical game that involves a lot of strategies, a considerable mental effort to stay ahead of your opponents and, if you play it live, it can teach you a lot about reading people and understanding them. It forces you to think of all the possible outcomes of every single hand you play, keeping your brain active and agile.
What are the most important benefits of being a poker player?
Let’s see a couple of the most notable benefits of being a poker player. While we are certain that the number of actual benefits is a lot higher, these are the most important ones that can change your life for the better in the long run.
Workout for your brain
Even though our brains have almost nothing in common with our muscles anatomically, they do work in a surprisingly similar way. Your brain requires constant exercise in order to stay “fit” and agile. Playing poker forces you to think, calculate odds, and correctly apply strategies, being a great workout for your brain. This kind of brain activity has been even proven to delay or even prevent the onset of mental decline with old age or the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Rewires your brain
Poker simply rewires your brain. It strengthens certain neuronal connections, accelerates the decision-making process, and helps you think differently. It has an amazing effect on your math skills and can help you think in a more straightforward way.
Develops social skills
Playing live poker forces you to sit around a table with a bunch of strangers in order to play the game. This can have a positive impact on your social skills, as it will forcibly teach you how to talk to people, how to interact with others, and have random conversations with people you just met.
Teaches you to be patient
Patience is essential if you want to become a good and profitable poker player. You have to wait for the right hand in order to make a successful move, you will fold most of the hands you will be dealt. The reward for following the right strategies is going to be a strong motivator to become a more patient person. And this skill will extend to different other aspects of your life.
Improves your ability to make tough decisions
Most of us these days find it quite hard to make tough decisions. It has a lot to do with how cuddled we’ve been, and how the world works nowadays. Fears like FOMO or FOBO have no place at the poker table, and you will learn this the hard way. Since you’re going to be forced to make decisions constantly at the poker table and you will need to face the outcome like a man and accept it, this will be great practice for your day-to-day decision making.
Improves emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as one’s ability to stay in touch with their own emotions, understand and process them correctly, and do the same with other people’s emotions as well. In other words, an emotionally intelligent person will find it easy to understand why certain people act the way they do, will have a clear idea about their feelings and this can play a huge role in how you approach life.
Your poker skills, especially in live poker, are quite strongly connected to your emotional intelligence. You need to be able to read people, to figure out whether they are lying to you or now, whether they are trying to scare you off a pot or trying to lure you into paying your way to a showdown they know they will win. All of this will have a positive effect on your day-to-day life. You will be harder to lie to, harder to manipulate into doing something you know you shouldn’t and you will find it a lot easier to convince people of whatever you want them to be convinced of.
Final thoughts on the benefits of playing poker
If you play poker the right way, using the right strategy and with a correct mindset, there’s a lot for you to benefit from, even aside from the money you will win.