Why Poker is Great for Your Mental Health

Keep yourself on the right track with poker.

Now, this may come as a surprise to some of you, but the poker players among us will nod their heads in understanding at the following statement: Poker is good for the mind. Yes, that game that was once played only in smoky casinos and dens has some quite surprising health benefits. And this is especially true when played at home in the comfort of a cigar-less house. Check out W88.

While poker is, of course, all about the money, it is essentially a mind game. It’s on a par with chess in strategic thinking and gives you a much more rigorous mental workout than Sudoku or even one of those plain white jigsaw puzzles. And with the rise of online poker, the game has finally come into the mainstream where people can see its players as the highly skilled people they are. But what is it about this game that makes it so mentally stimulating and challenging?

Building Self-Confidence

Dealing with a lack of self-confidence is something we have all struggled with at some point in our lives. Whether it’s when learning to drive, opening a business or having a child, there’s often that nagging feeling at the back of your mind telling you that you’re not up to the task. But playing regular poker can nip that self-doubt in the bud long before it takes root.

Poker is all about making decisions (more on that later), and as such, it’s a game that requires confidence in your ability. In a real-world scenario, as opposed to playing online, this air of confidence is essential. It prevents you from revealing too much about your hand to your opponents, which, as you can guess, is hugely important.

Playing regularly is a great confidence booster, regardless of the outcome of the game. Sometimes knowing when to fold is as crucial, and poker players often feel a sense of achievement when they know they folded at the right moment. So, as you can see, win or lose, the game does impact your self-confidence.

Dealing with Pressure

Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a CEO or a student, the pressure of your role can get to you. And sports psychologist Jared Tendler feels that the strategic maneuvers of poker psychology make the game the perfect training ground for learning to cope with pressure. Better yet, it often becomes second nature to regular players.

Now, this is where the money comes into the equation. You don’t have to play for college funds (why would you?), but you can play low-stakes poker on an online platform. The reason this is a good thing is because of the idea that your decision could result in a financial loss or gain puts on the pressure. Admittedly, it may be little money to worry about, but nevertheless, it encourages you to cope with the pressure of making the right decision. Poker players cope with this pressure every single time they sit at a table, and as a result, they are better equipped to deal with pressure in real life. Trust us: If you need a person to deal with a high-pressure situation, then a poker player is always your best bet.

Controlling Your Emotions

Don’t mistake this for hiding your emotions because that can eat you up inside. We’re talking about keeping your emotions under control. You know, thinking with your head, instead of your heart.

As we mentioned earlier, poker is a game of strategic thinking. No matter what Hollywood might tell you about placing bets based on your gut feeling, that’s not how the best players go about their game. A real poker player will analyze the table, pay close attention to their opponents’ style of play, and then work out if the odds are in their favor. And all of this occurs with a cool head. It would be impossible to do it any other way.

Play the game regularly, and you’ll find that it gets easier to ignore the heart and follow your head. That’s especially true when you’re on a losing streak, and you know it’s time to bow out. Perfecting this decision is perhaps the greatest attribute any poker player can have.

Decision Making

And speaking of which…at last we come to decision-making. Poker is a game of decisions. Stay in the game or fold? Bet big or play it safe? These are the decisions that can define the outcome of a poker game, and they’re all made in the space of a heartbeat.

Poker players make decisions all the time. Every hand they play could consist of scores or even hundreds of micro-decisions that have a huge bearing on their success. But as we mentioned earlier, it’s not only about making decisions that win games but also those that keep you in good shape to fight the next battle. Professional poker players will tell you that knowing when to quit is one of the hardest skills to acquire but also the most important.

And yes, we’re once again going to tell you that playing poker regularly can teach you this useful skill. How many times have you made a decision you knew wasn’t quite the best thing to do? We’ve all done it, but we’re guessing poker players do it a lot less than anyone else.

Making decisions in poker combines all the benefits we mentioned above. You need to have confidence in your decision, you must make that decision when under pressure, and you must do so with a cool and analytical head. We’re sure you can agree that being able to do all those things can help a great deal in both your career and personal life.

So, the next time you’re thinking about picking up a hobby, consider poker. It’s got everything you need to keep your mind in peak condition. Now, where did we put those cards?

Thanks to Ava

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