When we think about a game that helps us make better decisions, the one that often pops into our mind is the game of chess. It’s the game of champions, a hobby that military generals of old allegedly used to plot their moves and what many consider the thinking person’s game. But the truth is that the game of chess isn’t for everyone.

So, rather than spending your days trying to become a chess champion, why not pick up a deck of cards and take a different approach? Of course, we’re not talking about playing Snap or Go Fish, but rather the world’s most popular card game: the game of poker. But before we get to how the game improves your decision-making skills, we’ve something important to discuss regarding making the wrong choices.

Sometimes, it’s hard to think from a logical perspective. That’s doubly true when the matter at hand is a personal one, or even one relating to your finances. Your heart rules, and there’s nothing you can do to make a logical and rational decision.

Thankfully, a little time spent at the poker table can help you ignore your heart and take that analytical approach we mentioned earlier.

Poker teaches us to think in probability. You have the cards in your hand, and you know those that are on the table. You can also guess at what your opponents hold by the way that they play. That means that there is a set number of outcomes for any decision that you make.

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With this in mind, you can then determine your chances of success and decide based on those odds. So, you might make an educated guess that there’s a 75 percent chance that your opponent has a lesser hand than yours. You then raise the pot or call based on this analysis. Chances are you’ll win more often than not, but should you lose, you’ll have more experience under your belt for the next time a similar situation arises.

It all sounds quite complicated, and it is, but the beauty of regularly playing poker is that all this complicated analysis and figuring out of odds and percentages becomes second nature. Yes, it may be hard to believe, but trust us, if you spend any time at all playing with your friends, or even playing online poker, it will come to you.


It Stops You from Trusting Fate



Don’t Hide from Bad Decisions

Bad decisions are a fact of life, and we all make them from time to time. It might be something as simple as the wrong choice of holiday destination or as major as accepting the wrong job offer. However severe they are, bad decisions are a part of life, and the sooner we accept this fact, the sooner we can move on.

In the world of poker, they have the whole accepting bad decisions thing down to a fine art. We’d even go so far as to say that they embrace these errors of judgment. And that’s because they are so common in the game.

In fact, every poker strategy guide on the market will tell you that you’re pretty much guaranteed to make bad decisions. And despite what you might think, that is a good thing indeed. You see, poker players realize that bad decisions provide learning opportunities. They make a wrong call, lose the chance to win and all the while learn how to avoid the same scenario in later games.

Those who play the game regularly find that this becomes second nature. They then bring this analytical way of thinking into their everyday lives and make better decisions based on their previous experiences. So, by embracing their bad decisions, they not only improve in the game but also their life decisions, too.  


It Encourages Analytical Thinking

Gut instinct has been responsible for great feats throughout history, but then again it’s also likely been responsible for as many failures, especially at work. And while many people swear that they “just know” how to read a person or a situation, it’s no way to make your major life decisions. That’s also true for leaving things to fate or Lady Luck.

Now, it’s probably shocking to learn that fate or luck plays no major role in poker. That’s why roulette and slot machines exist. Poker, on the other hand, is, in fact, a game of mathematics and permutations and one that requires no small amount of skill.  

There is, of course, a small psychological benefit to blaming a bad outcome on luck. It makes you feel better that no matter what you would have done differently, luck was not on your side. But as you can imagine, this removes the opportunity to learn from your bad decisions (see above).

Poker players know that they have no control over the cards that they get. However, they also know that once they have those cards, it’s how they play their hand that determines their fate. They never leave anything to chance unless they have shortened the odds, putting them in a stronger position.

Learn to play poker, and you’ll find that you’ll stop trusting fate. Not only that, but you’ll stop feeling aggrieved at outcomes that haven’t necessarily gone your way. You’ll know that the only way to improve your results is to make better decisions based on the information that is available to you.


So, if you’re planning on picking up a new hobby in the coming months, or you’ve found that you’ve been making poor decisions of late, perhaps poker could be the answer. Whether it’s a few friendly hands at the dining room table or a serious game at the casino is unimportant. What matters is the fact that you’re regularly playing, so all that rational thinking we mentioned earlier becomes second nature to you. Now, anyone for a quick hand or two?


Published by Zubair Hassan