5 Ways Poker Can Make You Smarter


Poker is more than just a game; it’s also an excellent way to learn and improve a wide range of skills that can be applied in many situations. From developing critical thinking skills to learning how to make the right decisions under uncertainty, poker can help you get smarter without even realizing it.

1. Boosts your working memory

Poker requires the ability to remember a large amount of information at one time. This can be challenging for some people, but playing poker regularly helps to improve this skill. In addition, poker requires players to make decisions under uncertainty, which is something that all areas of life have in common. The more you play, the better your decision making under uncertainty will become.

2. Teach you how to read other players

Poker teaches you how to study the habits of your opponents and understand their motivations. You must be able to read your opponent’s behavior in order to determine how strong or weak their hands are. This is an essential part of the game, and it can be used to your advantage by bluffing or calling with less than optimal holdings. It’s also important to pay attention to subtle physical tells, such as scratching your nose or shaking your hand when you fold.

3. Improves your math skills

Poker forces you to think mathematically and analyze the odds of each hand, even when you’re not at the table. This is an invaluable skill that can be applied to all areas of your life, including personal finances and business dealings. In fact, studying mathematics and probability can actually help to delay degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

4. Develops your risk assessment skills

Whether you’re in the casino or at home, making the best decision under uncertainty is a crucial part of life. Poker teaches you to assess the likelihood of negative outcomes and makes you more comfortable with taking risks in general. This skill can be applied to all aspects of your life, from buying a new car to investing in stocks.

5. Retrains your brain

Despite the fact that poker involves random chance, you can improve your game by learning the game’s fundamentals and understanding how to think strategically. There are a number of different ways to study the game, such as reading books on the subject and discussing difficult spots you’ve found yourself in with winning players. It’s also a good idea to try to play as often as possible, as this will force your brain to work hard. This can help to strengthen your memory and your neural pathways, which will eventually lead to improved cognitive function.