How Poker Can Help You Make Better Decisions


Poker is a card game that requires both skill and luck to win. It is usually played with five or more players using chips that represent money. There are many variants of the game. The aim is to win the “pot” – all of the bets made during a hand. This can be done by having the highest ranked hand of cards or by continuing to bet that your hand is the best until the other players drop out of the game.

There are some games that can be played with two or more players, but the ideal number of players is 6, 7, or 8. Players buy in for a fixed amount of money, often represented by white or light-colored chips that have varying values and symbolize different amounts of money, such as 10, 20, or 100 dollars. Once each player has bought in, the dealer shuffles the cards and passes them out to each player, one at a time. Players may then choose to call a bet (match it) or fold their cards.

Maria Konnikova, a writer and former academic psychologist, explains how she discovered that poker could help her learn to make better decisions. She says, ‘It helps you get comfortable with risk-taking — because in poker, and in life, sometimes the risks will fail, and you need to know when it’s better to cut your losses and move on’. It’s a lesson she learned as an options trader, and continues to use in her writing.