Poker, they say, is the game of the learned and a game of the fools. Never has a game that requires so much understanding, natural curiosity and desire to learn have attracted such a diverse and ample crowd of players. Many are hopeful that they can turn blind luck into a remarkable performance and walk away winners.

Others, far more pragmatic and serious players, understand that in order to make any material gain at the green felt, they need to approach the game more critically and not let their emotions dictate what they do next. Regardless, playing online poker has clear benefits to the individual and your personal growth – that is if you want to grow and develop.

Poker won’t automatically make you sharper in life nor will it make you see life, investment or finance any different than you would normally approach these subjects – that is unless you put in real effort. Let’s take a look at what we mean.

1. Poker can improve your learning ability

We often get caught in daily lives with barely any time to self-improve outside of working hours and even then – we are caught in repeating the same tasks over and over again. Poker is a great opportunity to combine our natural love for learning with the means to do just that.

A game of poker is constantly going to introduce you to some new situation that will keep you engaged and will require from you to tap into your knowledge to better read the cards, calculate risk, and make decisions based on that. If you are actively trying to learn something, you will notice that poker in general makes you better at learning things which is precisely what the game should be about in the first place.

2. Poker builds up confidence

Confidence is not just about being right. When you play poker – whether in person or online – you have to make decisions. Just like in real life, you are not very likely to always be right, but this is what confidence is about – taking a decision even though you have factored the possibility of being wrong.

This is a great way to build up your confidence and learn to make judgment calls that can have a very real impact on your life outside of poker. Many players are intimidated to make “riskier” decisions, and this is why they need a bit of training. Poker is the ultimate training environment in which you will leverage your knowledge, skill and yes – ability to overcome fear, in order to take a decision and build your character as you go along. If you are not really sure where to start, there is no need to go to a land-based casino to play the game. You can try online poker for cash at the best poker sites which will put you in the hot seat and will ask of you to make decisions that will help you increase your confidence with experience.

3. Great mental gymnastic

There have been countless studies that prove the value of being mentally engaged and active. This, studies have shown, is one of the best ways to combat the effects of old age on the body, and specially – the brain. That is why people who tend to play poker with understanding and are more committed to the game will also have greater mental health benefits.

Poker will exercise your mind, keep you lucid, combat neuron degeneration and generally ensure that you have a healthy mental life. Sure, poker is not the only game that can achieve this for you, but it’s definitely one of the best mental gymnastics there is, so why not benefit?

4. Learn important live licenses

This may seem like a little bland advice to give, but it’s actually one of the biggest benefits you will derive from ever playing poker. Poker is a game of chance – there is no arguing against that. If poker weren’t, then people would not go on to consistently make millions of dollars playing the game, correct?

With this aside, poker can teach you important lessons about life. For one, it will show you that even though you may think you are doing something perfectly, the outcome may be different than expected. The natural reaction to a loss is one of embarrassment, shame, anxiety, depression and anger.

These are negative emotions that impact your well-being – both mental and physical, and the best way to address this is to learn how to control such emotions. Poker will teach you just that. If you strive to improve your poker play, you will soon learn that some things are down to chaos. This doesn’t mean that you didn’t take the right decision, however, as you can always learn to act based on the best information available to you. It doesn’t mean that you will get it right, however.

5. Discipline and emotional maturity

We have already touched on this in the previous points in the article, but emotional maturity and discipline are incredibly important skills to have in life. Luckily for those of us who love poker, the game is the ultimate training environment in which we can grow and increase our emotional maturity. 

Poker will provide you with many challenging situations too where you will find yourself exasperated or willing to lash out. However, over time, you will also learn that discipline is the best way to go – some hands and games will be bad, yes, but if you keep a cool mind, the majority of your games will be good.

Of course, you need to pair this with a deeper understanding of the game. However, just like in life, in poker too keeping a cool mind is the way to learn from your mistakes and make a real difference in your fortunes. Whether you like poker or not, you can really learn something about yourself and whether you need to work on your personal growth by playing a few hands – or even games, why not?