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Mental Health Benefits of Poker

Poker is a game that can have significant psychological effects on players. It teaches them how to control their emotions, set goals, develop observation skills, learn how to make strategic decisions and be resilient. Unlike some games of chance, like roulette, poker is a game that has a lot of skill involved and therefore can provide positive mental health benefits for players who play it.

It also teaches players how to handle losses, as no one can win every single hand they play in. A good player won’t chase their losses or throw a tantrum over a bad session. They will simply take it as a lesson and move on. This is a highly valuable life skill, which will benefit players in their professional lives as well as in their personal ones.

Poker teaches players how to read other people’s actions and body language. This is an important part of the game, as reading other people’s bodies can help players determine if they have a strong or weak hand. It can also help them decide if they should call, raise or fold.

Another way that poker teaches players how to read is by teaching them the odds of certain hands. For example, a pair of Aces is a great starting hand at 6-max tables because it’s unlikely that someone will call you if you are betting, meaning you can easily steal the pot. But a pair of 10s or lower is not so good because they are unlikely to win the pot even if you bluff.