You’re probably familiar with this cliché. A university student misses his exam because he was up all night playing online poker. His personal life suffers because he isn’t connecting with his friends, but more importantly his academic life finds itself in a downward spiral because he’s missing class.
That cliché has played out in responsible gambling and anti-online gambling television spots since the first card hit the online felt in the early 2000s. But what if there was a different side to the story? What if playing online poker – or live poker for that matter – could actually make you a better student? Many university students swear by that mantra, and we’ll tell you why.
Poker can actually improve your math skills
Poker is a game of skill. It’s not just how you read players and how you read situations, but also how you read the deck. There are a lot of uncertainties in poker, but there are some certainties too. If the board hits 3s, Ks, Ks, you’re well aware that it’s impossible for more than two Kings to hit the board. You can use the number of in-play cards to figure out the odds of hitting the cards you need.
Sound confusing? Maybe you’re not good at math. But playing poker can help you make quick calculations. And you don’t have to learn it on your own. By playing live, your friends can talk you through the stats and help you understand odds and how certain variables can affect them.
Poker can help you negotiate better marks
Reading players is a big part of poker. Rather than just
call a raise immediately, you can sit there calmly and talk through it in an attempt to get a read on your opponent. This actually applies to college a lot.
If you’ve written an essay and your professor deems it worthy of a B, you can use the rationalization strategies you’ve learned playing poker to reason with the prof and come to a better mark.
Remember, some of the best poker players do well by bluffing players out of hands and making them think they have something better than they do.
Poker teaches discipline
While your friends are in cramming for an exam on the weekend because they haven’t studied, you’re free to party the weekend away. Why? Because you spent the two weeks leading up to the exam studying for a few hours each and every night. You did that because you’re disciplined. And you learned that discipline playing poker, online or live.
It takes a lot to bow out of a hand holding pocket Queens when the board shows another Queen but there’s also a straight flush possibility on the board. But disciplined players can do that without thinking. And disciplined players are disciplined in life – and in school.
There are loads of reasons why playing poker can actually be great for your academic career, but you should approach the game as a hobby and focus on your academics. Of course, it’s a hobby that you can make a lot of money at if you play your cards right.