The Mental Benefits of Poker
The game of poker sees players engage in a battle of wits to create the best hand of cards or just the impression in the minds of others that this is so. Each of the players in the game is given the same number of cards by the dealer at the start and can then add more throughout if they want to.
It is a popular game and has been around for nearly two hundred years. In the past it was always played by people sitting around a poker table, but these days it is just as likely to be online poker that people choose.
Poker may not be as quite as big as slots games like 9 Pots of Gold at Jackpotjoy and other casinos, but it is still popular. The customers for poker games are often different, as it is a complex, psychological game and it is also one that can have real mental benefits.
Read on to learn more.
Poker is a Social Game
It has been well established by years of research into mental health that socializing with others is good for our levels of happiness. Poker is an inherently social game as it cannot be played by one person alone.
That is, unless you opt for one of the purely online games that involves playing against algorithms. Most people choose to play live poker games at online casinos or play with friends in the real world, precisely because the social part of the experience is important to them.
Having fun in the company of friends can help people to reduce their levels of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, as a primarily male form of gaming, poker can be an opportunity for men to address worries with their friends.
Poker Sharpens the Cognitive Processes
Whereas slots and roulette are essentially games of fortune, winning at poker is as much about strategy and skill as luck. Playing it well requires an immense degree of concentration and also demands logical decision-making and some mathematics ability.
Therefore playing poker can enable people to hone those traits, all of which sharpen their mental processes. If you decide to learn poker it will improve your mind in that way.
Poker Teaches Players Psychology
It is possible to learn almost as much about human psychology by playing regular games of poker as it is by taking a college course in the subject. Out of all the different types of casino games, poker is by far the most psychological.
That is because success at the game requires you to be able to read the thoughts of the other players through their physical cues. Spotting them is how you can tell whether your opponent has a hand of cards as good as they claim it to be or whether it is a bluff.
Everyone has ways of responding to pressure that they are oblivious to. These unconscious visual cues are known as ‘tells’ within the poker world.
Becoming better at understanding people in this way will provide you with greater emotional intelligence. That can make everything from your personal to your professional life more fulfilling.
Poker Teaches the Management of Emotions
Of course, being able to express our emotions is vital to our mental health, but so is being able to keep them under some degree of control. Another real cognitive benefit that comes with playing poker is that of learning to manage the emotions.
The intensity of a poker game will lead most players to experience a wide range of emotions: from anxiety to elation or deflation. However, playing the game effectively is all about keeping those emotional responses in check.
If you react to a good hand of cards with visible joy it will give the game away to your opponents. Equally, if you allow your feelings of deflation after defeat to take over that will cloud your judgment in the next game.
Good poker players maintain a cold, emotionless disposition at all points in the game and there are times that this will be necessary in the rest of life too.
Poker Can Improve the Memory
A single round of play in a poker game often lasts for 20 minutes or more and players have to commit a lot of data to memory during that period. From observations of the other players to what cards from the deck are already on the table.
This means that playing the game on a frequent basis trains the memory. That is another way in which it strengthens players' mentally and a good memory is very useful in the working world.
Cultivating an interest in poker can be a way of having fun and winning yourself some extra money but can also make your mind healthier and stronger.