5 Unexpected Benefits of Playing Poker


Poker is a popular card game played in many settings from glitzy casinos to seedy dives. Some people even play poker for a living, either in home games or at live events like the World Series of Poker. While there is a lot of debate about whether poker is beneficial or harmful to players, the game does provide a number of unexpected benefits.

1. Boosts Math Skills

No doubt, poker is a mathematical game, and it helps improve your math skills in a more unique way than standard 1+1=2. When you play poker, you learn to determine the odds of any given situation in your head based on the cards you have and the actions that have already taken place. This is a valuable skill to have in life and can be applied to almost any situation that may arise.

2. Develops Better Body Language Skills

One of the most important skills in poker is being able to read your opponents’ actions and emotions. This is a skill that you can use in other areas of your life, from when you are trying to sell something to someone to leading a group of people. Poker teaches you to be able to interpret an opponent’s body language and understand what they are telling you by their betting and calling patterns.

3. Teach Players About Taking Risks

Poker is an extremely risky game, and learning how to assess risks and take calculated chances is a key element in playing well. In addition to this, it also teaches players how to properly celebrate wins and accept losses in a healthy manner. This is a useful skill in all areas of life, and one that many poker players develop during their time at the table.

4. Strengthens Relationships

In addition to the social benefits of poker, it teaches players how to effectively interact with their opponents and how to be respectful and kind. This is a great skill to have in the workplace or at home and can help you build stronger relationships with those around you. In addition, it teaches players how to remain calm and confident under pressure, which is an important part of any profession.

5. Teaches Players About Position

The importance of understanding your position in a hand can not be overstated. This is one of the most fundamental pieces of poker strategy and it can make or break your winning streaks. For example, if you are in early position and the player before you raises, it is often best to fold your weak hands unless they are very strong. In late position, however, this is not always the case and you can often win a big pot with a weak holding.

6. Boosts Critical Thinking Skills

Poker requires you to analyze and think critically about the situation at hand and how it could affect your play. This is a valuable skill that can be used in any area of life and is one of the reasons why so many people love this game.