Mental Skills That Poker Teach

Poker is a game that involves skill and probability, but it also requires players to make decisions based on logic and risk management. Even if you don’t play for money, there are many mental skills that can be acquired while playing poker, which can be helpful for business owners and other people in high-pressure situations.

Body Language

One of the most important skills that poker teaches is how to read other people’s bodies. This skill can help you to make decisions in a variety of situations, from giving a sales pitch to leading a group of people. You will learn to look for tells – signs that someone is stressed, bluffing, or happy with their hand – and apply them to your strategy on the fly.

It’s also a great way to pick up on other players’ habits, which you can use to your advantage. For example, if you see that some players tend to limp a lot, then try to bet more frequently against them. This will force them out of the pot and leave you with a large pot, which is much more likely to win than a small one.

Logic and calculation

Poker is about mental arithmetic, so you’ll become better at it as you play. This can be especially useful in business because it teaches you to be more patient and think about the bigger picture when making your decisions.


While you may be tempted to play more often when you have a good hand, you must always remember that your losses will eventually catch up to you. That’s why it’s important to manage your risks correctly and never bet more than you can afford to lose.


While bluffing is an important part of poker, you should never rely on it too heavily. This is because you’ll be playing against other players, who are likely to notice that you’re bluffing, and will call your bets if they have a strong hand.

Mixing It Up

Another key skill that poker teaches is how to mix up your hands. You’ll need to be able to show weak and strong hands to your opponents, so that they don’t know which one you have until the turn or river.

This is essential if you want to stay competitive against the more competent players at the table. It can be tough to do when you’re new, but it can pay off in the long run, as you’ll be able to pick up on their weaknesses and exploit them.

You’ll also need to be able to play well for extended periods of time, so it’s important that you practice your stamina. If you’re not in peak physical shape, you’ll find it more difficult to keep your attention focused and make informed decisions.

In addition, it’s also a great way to improve your social skills, so you can interact with others more easily and build relationships. This can be a valuable skill in business, as it can help you make friends and get the support you need.