As the world’s most popular card game, Poker is endlessly fascinating. And not just in the ways that you would think – while human behaviour and relations, as well as mathematics and probability theory, have drawn intellectual interest for years, neurologists have recently become interested in the effects of the game too.
The different stages of Poker games appear, according to recent findings, to affect human brains in different ways. Players who understand how this works can use this knowledge to their advantage, gaining a competitive edge in what is often a cutthroat playing community. Simple things like knowing when the best time of day to play is can make all the difference.
A lot has already been discovered on the effects of Poker games on activity in the brain, and on predominant brain waves, in Poker players. Through careful observation of players at different skill levels, some interesting facts have been discovered and scientist are working on more.
Neurologists know that Theta waves are most commonly seen in states not associated with application of logic, and these were dominant in beginner players as cards were being dealt. In other words, early players were not really thinking about strategy during this early portion of the game.
More experienced players seemed to concentrate and think about logic earlier on, and Beta waves that are associated with this kind of brain activity were seen even in the deal part of the round. In later actions within a round, all players relied heavily on Beta waves.
A lot of emotion is attached to the Raise portion of a round of Poker, and this corresponds to the high level of frontal lobe activity seen at this time. The frontal lobe is the seat of emotions and higher executive functions, so this makes perfect sense. A good application of this knowledge would be to work on mastering your emotions and potential tells at this time, and interpreting what your fellow players are doing very carefully.
Develop Your Game & Intelligence
Overall, inexperienced players use less of their brains than experienced players do when at a Poker table. This explains why Poker games become more intriguing as you play more – you are more engaged – and why you develop better skills and win more frequently.
The great news in all of this is that Poker is clearly good for your brain and intellectual development! If anyone criticises you for wasting your leisure time with this wonderful game, hit them with a few of these facts.