While everyone can reason that the benefits of poker training will result in you being better at poker, they go way beyond that. Because the game itself is such a mixture of skill and luck, there is a lot that goes into every hand.
By combining in-game and real-life benefits of receiving good poker training, these are the top boons you will get in the end:
- Better at math
- Used to read faces
- Improved judgment
- More patience
- Better focus
- Improved charm
- Better money management
And the best thing is that there is no minimum point where you will start gaining these skills. Gradually, as you learn, you will start improving in all fields at once, finishing only when you become the master of the game.
Finally, the more you practice and the more you learn, the easier it gets. Being good at poker is an amalgamation of all these skills, and one will always push all others.
Knowing Games Means Knowing Life
You will often hear that “poker is like life,” or “chess is like life,” or “any sport or game is like life” … and all of those people are technically telling the truth.
Games are made for the express purpose of emulating some life’s activities that would otherwise be dangerous or devastating. The goal of playing games is to simplify the rules of life and compete in a bit more moderated environment.
For this, poker is made to emulate trade. But, in the game, everyone’s a buyer and everyone’s a seller, and there is only one winner in the end. Though, unlike regular trade, in poker, nobody really has an upper hand.
Some will still try to cheat, but there are only so many aces a sleeve can hold.
Yet, if you are not good at keeping a straight face your winnings with a good hand will be slim and you will regularly bleed money. Similarly, if you can play with your opponent’s psyche you can win with a high-card because everyone else has folded.
Thankfully, there are now communities and online tools like those at beastsofpoker.com that can push you in the right direction easily. It’s not like the old days where you needed to find a master and go on what can only be described as a “Karate Kid” journey.
Benefits On the Table and In Life
To dwell a bit deeper into how and why the benefits of poker training occur, we will need to look at each of them individually.
It is also important to mention that not every single one will be experienced by everyone at the same time. Those with mode deductive minds and technical thinking will excel with math and odds, while those with better social skills will improve those first.
But, in time, everyone will see all of them, to a degree. That is the point when you will be the best in the game and have the most fun. Once you become a master of the game, the fun ceases to be simply in gaining chips but figuring out the minds of your opponents.
#1 Counting the Odds
This might sound as if it is straightforward calculus, and that is the main part of is. But, odds, in the end, are just possibilities.
When you know how to better count the odds you will also have the wisdom to know when they are good and when the deck is stacked against you. Then you can use other queues, such as faces and behavior, as well as betting changes, to know when to act.
Sometimes you will want to push two pairs, other times you will need to fold on a strong triple. The hand will always depend on the circumstances, and you will have a math basis to know when to use those circumstances.
#2 Learning to Read Faces
Humans are strange creatures. For an alien coming to our planet, it will be hard to explain why we do things that we do, and how we really communicate.
Thankfully, if you are reading this, in a moderate time after publication, the chances are that you have some experience in being a human. This means knowing how people look when they are sad, happy, or surprised.
And, when you get better at it, you will know how they look when they are trying to hide those emotions or fool an expression. That is when you will get a clearer picture of what hand everyone has, and calculate that into what you have seen on the table.
Additionally, this works in real life as well. You will be able to figure out what people are thinking by simply looking at them, and thus know if what is coming from their mouth is truthful or not.
#3 Reading the Table
This benefit alone is a mixture of several abilities. Alongside the first two points, you will also gain tactical wisdom on how to use everything you see. And while it is hard to explain the experience in detail, you will know it when you see it.
In a way, it is like seeing buttons that you can push and movements that you can make to have the most impact. In some cases, it can be tripping someone up to fold, or it might be laying low and waiting for bets to roll in.
When away from the table, this will equate to reading the room, or some specific situation. You will know exactly when you should back down, or when you might want to push your advantage.
#4 Learning Patience
Impatient people are first to leave the poker table. That is why one of the primary focuses, and a major benefit of poker training, is learning to wait. You are waiting for your ideal hand and trying to minimize your losses otherwise.
In poker, you learn that you can’t win every hand and that you don’t actually need to. You should always wait until the opportune moment to strike and separate as many chips from your opponents as possible.
#5 Improves Focus
You may have noticed that there is a lot at play when at the poker table. You need to see your cards, the cards being discarded, or some might be on the table, and then there are the faces and the bets.
Having a good focus isn’t just about seeing everything that you need to see, but also knowing how to prioritize. Every one of us has a limited capacity to notice and remember, and better focus means pinpointing what is important quickly and disregarding distractions.
#6 Practices Social Skills
Poker might be a game that is alike to life, but it should still be a game. With good training, it will be easy to relax and enjoy what you are doing, without any stress involved.
This is also good for the game itself because through conversation you can learn how others think and feel, and maybe learn their tells ahead of time.
And once you are off the table you will bring that charm to the outside world.
#7 Changes Relations to Money
Money is not the goal, and it should never be the goal. Money is a tool that you use to turn your vision into a reality, if possible. Aspirant poker players who don’t discard money as the ultimate goal will quickly find themselves without it.
But, those who master their training will only see the result, only aim for the win, not for the chips alone.
It is somewhat a law in life that what you chase the most will always elude you. This means that if you are chasing money, you will never have it. If you are chasing approval from others, you will never get it.
But, if you learn to chase satisfaction and imagination, you will get everything else. Your dreams will still be beyond your reach, as they should be, but that will just give you the drive to push onward even harder.