Poker is a game that puts your analytical, mathematical and interpersonal skills to the test. However, it is also a game that indirectly teaches many life lessons that can be applied to other areas of your life.
1. Teaches the value of discipline
Poker teaches players the importance of being able to control their emotions, particularly under pressure. This is because the stakes are high and your opponents will be looking for any sign of weakness that they can exploit. Whether it is your nerves, lack of concentration or other emotional weaknesses, it is important to be able to keep your cool and make decisions based on logic rather than emotion.
2. Teaches the importance of having a well-stocked arsenal of weapons
A good poker player has a vast arsenal of tactics that they can use to unsettle their opponent and put them off their game plan. This is especially important if you are playing against a more experienced opponent who has figured out your style of play. A solid poker strategy requires that you always have a plan B, C and D ready to go so that you can change your game on a dime when your opponent has a read on you.
3. Teaches the importance of taking a long-term view
A major lesson that poker teaches players is to take a long-term view when making decisions at the table. This is because the game of poker is very cyclical, with periods of ups and downs. A successful poker player will be able to keep their losses to a minimum by making rational decisions throughout the session and not getting caught up in short-term fluctuations in their bankroll.
4. Teaches the importance of being able to pick yourself up after a fall
A great poker player will be able to recover from a bad beat and learn a valuable lesson from it. This is because they will know when to fold and not get carried away by their emotions or ego at the table. They will also be able to see when they are out of their depth and will only play with money that they are comfortable losing.
5. Teach players how to read their opponents
Poker teaches players how to read their opponents and their betting patterns. This is particularly important in heads-up games where you can gain an edge by understanding how your opponent plays the board and what their range is. For example, if they are checking on the flop and turn, this can often be a sign that they are drawing to a flush or straight. In this case, you can raise your bet and steal their chips by playing a strong bluff.
Poker also teaches players how to communicate effectively with their opponents, which is vital in all forms of poker. This can be in face-to-face games, online or over the phone. This can be done by using body language, tone of voice and other non-verbal cues.