Science Writer Explains Why Poker Offers Life Lessons

By Ben Hamill - July 07 2021
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Science Writer Explains Why Poker Offers Life Lessons

Some parents insist on teaching the kids how to catch a ball, but Alex O’Brien is insisting on teaching her young child how to play Poker. The science writer from the UK believes that a long list of life skills can be gained from playing the game, which is exactly why she is teaching her five-year-old how to play.

O’Brien believes that among these life skills are risk assessment, emotional resilience, discipline and probabilistic thinking. She also believes that the game has real educational benefits attached to it due to the high levels of complexity and strategy involved in it. The writer has even gone as far as to say that everyone could benefit from thinking more like Poker players do.

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Losing Can Be Empowering

One of the biggest lessons that O’Brien wishes to impart on her daughter is that of losing. This, she says, is one of the main reasons why she is teaching her the game. O’Brien fears that these days, we run the risk of raising children who don’t know how to lose, simply because we do not let them lose. She said that her hope for daughter is that she learns how to fail and how to lose.

The writer says that when you learn how to play Poker, you learn to understand that you are not guaranteed any wins in life. Even though it may seem as though your life is going one way, it can very easily go another. By learning this through playing Poker, O’Brien believes that her daughter will learn a lot more about resilience.

A Mirror To Life

O’Brien is advocating for learning the skills and strategies of Poker through studying and playing the game. She says that Poker can actually be quite an empowering game, as the rules can be learnt in as quickly as five minutes. However, getting good at the game may take a little bit longer than that.

According to O’Brien, if you truly wish to master the game and to be able to compete at a high-stakes level, you need to study hard and apply yourself. As a child growing up herself, O’Brien always loved Poker. However, the game was not always accessible to her, and she said it felt as though women were being excluded from Poker tables. O’Brien said that having the odds stacked against her did not deter her – in fact, it spurred her on.

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