While it’s common to think that games destroy the player, poker and other table-based games bring some significant positive impacts on a person. For one, poker increases critical thinking skills by forcing a player to constantly assess their situation and make decisions quickly. These same thinking skills can be applied to other aspects of life away from the poker tables.
Poker also teaches players to be more aware of their own emotions. Even the best players will have times when their stress and anger levels rise uncontrollably. Keeping these emotions in check will prevent them from boiling over at a bad time, which could have negative consequences in the long run.
Lastly, poker teaches players to manage risk by teaching them to be careful with their money. They must learn to play cautiously, to never bet more than they can afford to lose, and to never get too cocky after winning a hand. This skill can be transferred to other areas of life as well, allowing the player to avoid reckless or stupid decisions.
As a bonus, poker also teaches players to read other people better. They must be able to pick up on tells, which are the small ways in which a player reveals their emotions and their hands. For example, a player may fiddle with their chips or a ring to show that they have an excellent hand. This can cause other players to be afraid to call their raises, which can lead to a good bluffing opportunity.