The top skills you can learn by playing card games

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Card playing is often frowned upon by society as either a frivolous distraction or the sign of a dissolute lifestyle, but those who play cards regularly will know that card games can have all kinds of benefits. Playing cards can teach you a great deal about yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses, and it can also help you to develop a range of life skills that have wider applications.

Patience

The most obvious skill that card games teaches you is patience. Whether you are waiting for the cards to be dealt or for an opponent to decide whether to fold, call or raise, playing cards teaches you the importance of remaining unflappable and cool, whatever the state of play. This is an increasingly important quality to be able to access in a society that is becoming ever more impatient. Learning how to patiently put a strategy into effect has all sorts of wider applications in life and business.

Concentration

Closely allied to patience is the quality of concentration, another skill that is under pressure in a society where everyone seems glued to their phone and in which we are constantly bombarded with distractions in all forms, from random information to incessant social media alerts.

Whether you are playing the latest online card games here or enjoying a friendly game of poker or bridge with friends, concentration is key to successful card play. You need to be able to keep up with what your rival players are doing and remain vigilant at all times for any scrap of information or tell that could give you a clue and help you win the game. Being able to focus on the task at hand for prolonged periods can be invaluable in all types of situations.

Memory skills

We’ve all experienced the frustration of not being able to remember where we left our car keys or walking into a room and forgetting the reason we came in for.

Memory is an important component in a range of fields, particularly in learning. Being able to memorise, retain and then recall complex information in a consistent way can give you an edge in a variety of spheres, from academic learning to job training and skill development. Whatever your preferred card game, it is likely that memory will be a key factor to success, whether it is remembering what your opponent did in a previous round of betting or recalling which cards have already been played.

Mental math

Closely allied to memory skills and concentration is the ability to carry out mental calculations quickly and effectively. This is particularly important in games such as Texas Hold ‘Em in which detailed recall of the probabilities at every stage of gameplay combined with the mental math skills to make rapid calculations can make for a deadly combination.

We may all have access to calculators, spreadsheets and other shortcuts in our daily lives, but none of those are a substitute for the ability to make rapid calculations in your head. This skill is often essential in cards and can make you more effective in your daily life.

Decision making

These days we are presented with so much information and so many choices that decision making skills are becoming an essential survival tool. Certainly, if we want to make the most of our opportunities and our resources, making the right decision is crucial.

When it comes to playing cards, decision making is essential. Every form of card game, from poker to baccarat, involves making decisions. You need to know when to take an extra card, when to fold, when to call, and what bids to make. Becoming skilled at a card game can give your decision making abilities, and your career, a major boost.

Social skills

Even if you are playing online, card games are social activities, and simply by playing them, you are picking up social cues and skills. Some games exemplify this more than others. Poker teaches you to study your fellow human beings like few other leisure activities. Mastery of poker requires being a good judge of character and being able to predict how your opponents will act.

These social skills, combined with the decision making, memory, concentration and patience and a sprinkling of mental math, can all be enhanced when you play cards regularly, enabling you to polish your own skill set and learn about yourself while having fun and winning money.