3 Cognitive Abilities You Can Improve by
Playing Casino Games
The average person spends at least five hours a day looking at their smartphone. It’s easy to see why, as these devices can take care of everything from news and weather, reports to organising our calendars. With the answer to every imaginable question sitting in your pocket throughout the day, it’s easy to neglect the power of your mind.
The Flynn effect is a well-known phenomenon whereby populations advance in IQ every decade, with the average person becoming smarter and smarter as time goes on. However, over the past decade the Flynn Effect has been working in reverse, with research suggesting that people are actually getting dumber. Startling reports show that each generation is reducing in IQ by seven points on average.
The prevalence of mobile phones has been cited as a major cause of this global decrease in IQ. After all, what’s the point in learning and memorising information that can help us solve problems when anyone with a smartphone can access it in a few seconds?
But phones can be used to enhance cognitive ability through gaming. Research shows that playing video games can improve basic mental abilities. Some argue that online casino games in particular can boost our problem-solving and decision-making skills by giving us experience of working out odds and taking risks.
Let’s take a look at some of the cognitive skills you can improve by playing casino games.
1. Logical Reasoning
A good game of poker can boost your cognitive ability – as well as your bankroll
One of the founding theories of modern society and populations is logic, a term first coined by the Greeks thousands of years ago. You’re probably already well aware of logic as a concept, but just to refresh your memory it is the process of making valid inferences from a series of patterns.
Logic is the most general law of truth – a pragmatic way of seeing things, and a practical way to make judgements and decisions. Logic is free of emotion or feeling and based solely on reason and all of the available data – therefore a fundamental part of society and learning.
In the age of smartphones, the average person has less need to critically analyse things for themselves or make logical conclusions. That’s because phones will work it out for them – for example, by plotting out the most efficient route from A to B.
However, in some online casino games, players must use their own logic to win. When playing with nine other players, you can logically work out the chances of success of the other competitors on the table using the information available to you. The cards in your hand are known to you, as well as the amount of cards in the deck – the flop, the river and so on. You know how strong they are, so you use your logic to bet accordingly.
And of course, part of betting on poker is working out how much you should bet to make it worth seeing the cards on the table, or to raise the right way. This is all based on how much money is currently in the pot – basically making sure you’re getting a smart return on investment when you bet – so the logic of knowing this should inform your next move.
As you’ll see when playing online casino games such as poker, the more you practise, the more you work out the likelihood you have of winning. That’s because regularly practising poker forces your brain to operate logically and make informed decisions. It could come in particularly handy when working out finances – specifically investments – which involve weighing up risks like in poker.
2. Decision Making
It’s easy to choose the wrong path when confronted with a decision. Learning from that is key to your future development
When presented with a decision in life, the options are usually binary – yes or no. That means that the risk of making a bad decision is huge, a fact which often scares people off being bold and affirming their decisions.
However, the most strategic thinkers understand that there’s no such thing as a bad decision – only positive or negative reactions to situations and consequences. The next time you are faced with a binary decision, think this: “There are two options, either the correct option or the one that offers me an opportunity to learn.”
Everyone makes bad decisions, they are vital to being a human and help us to form balanced opinions and decision making plans in the future. Casino games such as poker, roulette, blackjack and many more require players to make binary decisions every couple of minutes.
The effect of a bad decision could leave you in an unenviable financial position – whereas a good decision could make you very wealthy. There’s a lot of pressure on the shoulders of gamblers when it comes to making a decision and sticking to it.
Just as in life, in gambling a bad decision is often more beneficial than a good one in the long run. They offer you the chance to feel hardship, learn from experiences and, and most importantly, come back stronger.
Decisions in gambling are, more often than not, based on logic. By forcing yourself to make reasoned decisions, you’lll not only boost your confidence for future endeavours – you’ll also be improving your cognitive ability.
3. Risk Management
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the average human’s needs, priorities and concerns were very different from what they are today. Every decision taken would be amid the backdrop of basic survival needs, food, water and shelter – and these judgement calls would have been based on a meticulous understanding of threats and risks. As human civilisation has progressed, many of us no longer have to worry about these factors on a daily basis.
While the human eye is able to see more shades of green than any other colour because of our need to spot predators in primitive times, generally our ability to identify risks has decreased. This makes us more susceptible to unexpected risks and ‘catastrophes’.
Gambling is almost primitive in the way that it presents players with constant risk. Losing a hand of poker is obviously less disastrous than not eating for a week, but it still represents a major blow if you’ve wagered a large amount.
To make an informed decision while gambling, your brain will need to constantly identify risks, quantify them and measure them up against the chances of reward. These risks can be from other competitors, from the potential weakness of your hand, or from the house edge of a games. And measuring up these risks effectively will mean you can take better decisions – and know when to play it safe, or go for the win.
If you can successfully do this you will not only become a profitable gambler but you will become a more productive person. When you’re offered a chance of promotion at work, you will be able to easily identify the risks and rewards from the experience gained from gambling.
As a society we’re outsourcing most of our cognitive problem-solving skills to technology, meaning we’re less able to take use logic to take big decisions that affect our lives. However, as we’ve demonstrated here, online casino games could be the antidote to this trend.
There are a myriad of cognitive benefits associated with gambling – too many to mention comprehensively in this article. The most basic and obvious benefits are represented in the form of logic, decision making and risk management.
Mastering these three key cognitive abilities will not only improve your gambling ‘luck’, but it will also allow you to excel in your everyday life. Don’t neglect your brain and your intellect – always search out new ways to maintain and improve your cognitive ability.