5 Ways Poker Can Make You Smarter


Poker is a game of strategy where the object is to execute the most profitable actions (bet, raise or fold) based on the information at hand. The game requires a level of discipline that is useful in all walks of life, including finances, personal relationships and business dealings.

1. Improves your mental math skills

Poker requires you to evaluate the quality of your hand against your opponent’s, so it’s no surprise that this game can make you smarter without you even realizing it. It’s because when you play poker, your brain is constantly switching gears to figure out the best move, which ultimately helps hone your critical thinking abilities.

2. Teach you to read players

Poker reads are an important aspect of winning poker, and they’re a lot easier than most people think. For instance, if you notice that a player has headphones on, scrolls on their phone or plays nervously with their chips, they are probably playing crappy hands. Conversely, if you see a player betting frequently and raising their bets, they are likely playing solid hands.

3. Develops your resilience

One of the biggest lessons poker teaches you is how to deal with loss. Whether you’re down a few bucks or an entire bankroll, a good poker player will be able to shake it off and learn from the experience. Being able to bounce back from failure is an invaluable skill that can be applied to all areas of your life, from personal finance to work-related situations.

4. Improves your memory

Poker is a great way to build and strengthen your memory, especially if you practice often. In fact, some studies have shown that regular poker play can improve your working memory, which is crucial for complex tasks like remembering lists and numbers.

5. Increases your decision-making skills

The best poker players know how to make the most of every situation at the table. One of the most important decisions is deciding whether to call or raise a bet. For beginners, it’s recommended to start out small and try to win a few pots instead of going all-in for every hand. This way, you can improve your decision-making while not risking too much money in the process. Once you get the hang of things, you can gradually increase your stakes while learning more about the game.