8 Cognitive Benefits of Playing Poker


Poker is one of the most popular games played worldwide, and it can be a fun way to pass time or a lucrative hobby. But it can also have a wide range of mental benefits, especially when you play regularly and take advantage of the many cognitive training opportunities it provides.

1. Improves your math skills

You’ll notice that you quickly learn to calculate the odds of certain events when playing poker. This ability is great for all sorts of situations, and it helps you make better decisions.

2. Increases your confidence and critical thinking abilities

If you play poker, it’s important to build up confidence in your own judgment. This can help you make better decisions in other areas of your life, such as business.

3. Teaches emotional stability in changing circumstances

While playing poker, it’s essential to be able to remain calm and composed in different scenarios. You may be tempted to panic or become overly emotional at times, but this will only hurt you.

4. Increases your social and communication skills

If you’re a serious poker player, you’ll have to interact with other players in order to learn the game. This requires you to develop social and communication skills, which can reduce stress levels and anxiety.

5. Enhances your observation skills

You need to be able to spot patterns in other people’s behavior when playing poker, and this is one of the main skills that you’ll develop. You’ll learn to pick up on things like eye movements, hand gestures, betting behaviors, and more.

6. Improves your reading skills

If you’ve been noticing that other players are calling often but then suddenly raising, they’re likely to be holding an exceptional hand. If you can identify tells, you can bet on them and win big!

7. Encourages smart game selection

You’ll want to find a poker room that is a good fit for your bankroll and skill level. This will ensure that you’re playing in games where you can win and maximize your earnings.

8. Improves your logical thinking skills

You won’t be able to win at poker if you don’t think critically and logically. You’ll need to consider your opponents’ hands, your cards, and the cards in the pot when deciding how to act.

9. Strengthens your focus

Poker can be a highly mentally demanding game, so you need to be focused and committed to playing well. This is especially true if you’re new to the game or playing online, where the stakes can be high.

10. Lowers your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease

While there are no hard statistics available on the effect that poker has on reducing your risk of developing dementia, it’s clear that it can have some significant benefits. Researchers have found that players who regularly play poker can reduce their risks of developing the disease by as much as 50%.

Poker is a game of deception, so you need to be able to keep your opponents guessing. If you can’t do this, you won’t be able to bluff, and your big hands will be paid off much more slowly than they should be.