Poker is undoubtedly a fun game of chance, but if you’re an experienced poker player, you may have noticed that learning poker has equipped you with useful life skills. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone because, essentially, life is a poker game. Here are some ways in which playing both offline and online poker can equip you with certain skills that can positively impact your life and improve your day-to-day living.
1. You can learn to make the best decisions with the cards you’re dealt, regardless of how weak or strong they are
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “if only I’d been born rich” or “if only I’d been more attractive,” but poker reminds us that we don’t always start the game of life with a strong hand. As in the game of poker, we must always make the best decisions we can with the cards we’re dealt to move one step closer to success or happiness or whatever our goals may be.
2. You can learn to work well under pressure
Poker is an emotional rollercoaster, so there’s no doubt that it can be even more stressful if you’re playing poker and there’s money on the line. However, if you want to learn to be a successful poker player, you’ll need to learn how to manage the pressure so that you don’t tilt, lose your cool and make poor decisions at a crucial moment. There are many ways you can learn to manage stress and improve your emotional resilience in a poker game which are essentially life skills and, therefore, equally applicable to other areas of your life. The method is up to you – whether that’s ensuring you get a good night’s rest, practicing meditation and breathing exercises or learning what causes you to get upset so you can avoid it. You could find that the skills you develop playing poker can even apply to your business.
3. You can improve your financial management
Regardless of whether you’re a casual or competitive player, the best poker players all understand how important it is to manage their money in each individual game as well as in the long term.
In each individual game, poker players must decide whether to call, raise or fold, with each choice resulting in the player’s bankroll changing in size, sometimes for the better, but sometimes for the worse. This skill is particularly important in both offline and online poker tournaments when you don’t have the option to re-buy, since you are limited to a specific amount of poker chips and can’t just get more if you need to.
But even if you’re just someone who likes to play poker cash games, you still need to learn how to manage your spend. If you don’t, you may accidentally find yourself short of money for rent or groceries after a few games that didn’t end as well as you planned.
4. You can learn how to make decisions and take risks based on incomplete information and variance
Poker has an element of risk because you are playing with incomplete information. Because you don’t know what cards your opponents are holding, there is an element of risk to every decision you make. There’s also the fact that you don’t know what cards will be drawn from the deck, which could completely alter the course of the game. However, you still need to learn what choices to make, whether that’s folding, calling or raising to move forward in the game. A successful poker player will learn how to make the best decisions based on the information they do (and don’t) have.
Life is similar in that you don’t know what will occur, either based on the “cards” other people have or other random things that occur during the day. You can take the lessons you learn from poker about calculated risk and apply them to your day-to-day life to decrease any negative outcomes and increase positive outcomes.
5. You can improve your understanding of others
This skill is mostly applicable to those who play poker in person, as you are given the opportunity to study your opponent face-to-face and can better gauge how they react to events that take place during a game. Whether you’re looking for tells (body language habits, such as a player who fiddles with their poker chips when they are nervous, who scratches their face when they have a strong hand) or how your opponents tend to bet, being observant can teach you a lot about others.
Being observant and paying attention to other people can also teach you a lot about who they are and how they act, giving you vital information on how you should engage with them.
6. You can learn how to improve your focus
You’re not going to get very far in poker if you can’t focus. Imagine trying to win a poker tournament when you’re distracted by the spectators around you or even shifting your attention to the TV your friend left on during a friendly game of poker at home. You’re likely to miss vital information that will affect your decision-making and the game’s outcome. This is why focus is important. Every piece of information could help you move towards a more successful result.
Taking advantage of different ways to increase your focus, whether it’s by meditating, using specific kinds of music or taking regular breaks to stay mentally sharp, can help you increase your wins in poker and can be easily transferred to other areas of your life.
7. You can learn how to manage your expectations and become outcome independent
In an interview with Wired.com, Maria Konnikova, a writer who became a professional poker player, shares how “In poker, you can win with the worst hand; you can lose with the best.” This resonates strongly with a quote from Star Trek: The Next Generation, when Captain Picard states, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” What both of these quotes allude to is the simple fact that in poker (and in life,) even when you make the best decisions, things may still not turn out the way you planned.
This idea is also known as “outcome independence” – a state of mind or skill that can be learned by playing poker. Whether it’s learning to accept failure and rejection, learning to understand that failure is a part of growth or learning to accept that there is an uncontrollable randomness to life, detaching from the outcome is vital to long-term success in poker and in your life.
Enjoy thrilling online poker and more at Borgata Online
Now that you’ve learned how a variety of poker skills can help you improve your life, it’s time to have some fun playing real online poker. At Borgata Online, you can join in exciting online poker cash games and thrilling online poker tournaments. And if you feel like mixing things up a bit, you can also try some of our other gambling games like blackjack, roulette, slots and more!
Register at Borgata Online to experience all the world of online gambling has to offer.