Poker is a card game with many variants, but it is essentially a card game that requires strategic thinking to win. This is why the game is one of the best games for improving your critical thinking skills. There is no other game that forces you to constantly evaluate the quality of your hand and make decisions based on the strength of it.
The game of poker also teaches you how to make decisions under uncertainty. You have to determine whether the pot odds and potential returns work in your favor or not – especially when it comes to the more speculative hands like 7 6 or 5 5.
In addition, you learn how to read other players. I’m not talking about making movie-like “tells” that tell you their secret, but more about noticing subtle things about their play. For example, if someone who calls every bet in the tournament suddenly raises on the river, it might mean they have a big pair of cards.
The game of poker also teaches you to stay calm and cool during losing sessions. This is essential to surviving the long grind of breaking even as a beginner player and becoming profitable in the long run. When you’re able to sit through countless bad sessions without getting emotional, you gain mental toughness that you can carry with you in all aspects of life.