4 Key Life Lessons You Can Learn From Playing Poker

Poker is a card game that involves betting. The first step in the game is to ante something, usually a small amount (our games are a nickel). Players then get dealt cards and can choose to check, raise or fold. At the end of each hand the player with the highest hand wins the pot. If two hands have the same ranking the higher card breaks the tie. Examples of hands include one pair, straight, flush, and a full house.

1. Teaches self control and emotional stability.

While there are certainly times where unfiltered expression of emotions is justified, most of the time poker teaches people to control their anger and stress levels and keep them under control. This is a valuable life lesson to learn in general, as it helps you avoid making rash decisions that can have negative consequences for you and others.

2. Develops quick math skills.

The more you play poker the faster you will be able to calculate probabilities in your head. This is not just a 1+1=2 type of quick calculation; this includes working out implied odds and pot odds in your head, which can be very helpful for making big bets and calls.

3. Inherently teaches you how to read your opponents.

This is arguably the most important skill in poker. You must be able to identify your opponents’ tendencies and exploit them. This includes being able to classify your opponent as a LAG, TAG, LP Fish or super tight Nit. You can then use this information to your advantage when making decisions at the table.