Can a Card Game Raise Your Self-Awareness? The Mental Game of Poker Explained

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Poker is more than just another card game. It has long been recognized as one of the most powerful examples of a game where mental strength and resilience play a huge part in being successful. This means that it can help you to get to know yourself better. To see why this matters, we need to, first of all, take a look at why we need to understand ourselves more deeply.

Source: Pixabay

A person who is aware of who they are

Why Should You Understand Yourself Better?

Self-awareness has been a subject that has long intrigued us, with the ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” written in the court of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi several millenia ago. This phrase was also included in The Suda, which is a 10th-century encyclopedia that gathers together a wide range of knowledge from centuries of study. 

Understanding yourself better is vital in a number of ways. For a start, this lets you get to know your strengths and weaknesses. What are the areas you need to improve on and what are you already doing well? This can also help our relationships and even our careers, as we can understand other people better if we truly know ourselves first.

There was a study released by the Washington University in St Louis in 2010 on this subject. They discovered that we are better at rating our internal issues, such as anxiety and other feelings, than others. Yet, we tend to find it difficult to rate ourselves in terms of intelligence, creativity, attractiveness, and several other traits. 

A good level of self-awareness is closely linked to crucial areas of life such as emotional intelligence and success. In 1972, psychologists Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund proposed a theory of self-awareness that suggested that it focusing on ourselves allows us to “evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values.”

The book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman describes self-awareness as “knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources, and intuitions.” Whatever you want to call it, this is a way of getting to know how your mind works and how to use this information to your advantage for a better life.

The Mental Game of Poker Book

If you are new to this subject, The Mental Game of Poker is a good starting point. This interesting book by Jared Tendler M.S takes a look at how to resolve issues like emotional control, motivation, and fear. This is a subject that many players perhaps never even think about, but that fascinates them once they do so.

In addition to gameplay tips, it also discusses inspiring stories from professional players who have improved their game using the techniques that are covered in the book. The approach taken is straightforward and practical. This means that anyone can benefit from it, whether they are new to the game or highly experienced. It is easy to read and with clear examples that make it enjoyable to go through.

This is far from being the only book ever written about playing poker, of course. In fact, there is an extensive collection of poker-related titles available – both instructional and even fictional. However, the way that The Mental Game of Poker looks at the mental side of the game and how to harness the power of your mind makes it stand out as being ideal for someone who wants to begin to understand themselves better.

What Can You Learn About Yourself By Playing Poker?

It doesn’t matter whether you play Texas hold ’em, Caribbean stud, or some other poker variant. Whenever you sit down to play you are giving yourself a chance to get to know yourself that little bit better. Your reactions and your inner fears as the game progresses will help you to see aspects of your character that aren’t always obvious.

For example, how do you react under intense pressure or when confronted with an aggressive player who challenges your sense of security? Many people never get to experience this in the rest of their lives. By seeing how you deal with it at the card table, you can see how to transfer this knowledge to your personal life or career.

The poker strategy guide available on the 888poker website recommends listing the personal issues that are holding you back. Could it be that the right approach to Texas hold’em poker helps you to resolve a problem that you have been struggling with for years, if not decades? If it is also present in other aspects of your life away from poker, then it is possibly a deep-rooted problem that you should be looking to resolve after the card game ends – both for the sake of your performance and the rest of your life.

Source: Pixabay

The different aspects of life affected by self-awareness

How Does Poker Compare to Other Ways of Getting to Know Yourself?

Life is filled with opportunities to understand yourself better, if you know where to look for them. How do a few of the best of the other methods compare to playing poker?  

Mindfulness is currently one of the most popular approaches to gaining self-awareness.  It is largely based on ancient Buddhist meditation techniques. The benefits were studied by a team from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They looked at close to 19,000 meditation studies and found that mindful meditation can be useful in cases of depression and anxiety.

Exercise can also be used to get to know oneself better. This helps you to understand how you react to challenges, how you deal with strong emotions, and how you are able to motivate yourself. This works with any type of exercise, provided that you are honest with yourself and keep notes of your thoughts and feelings.

You can also look online for personality tests and psychometric tests. Among the most well-known is the Myers-Briggs test that lets you see which of the 26 personality types you are. After answering a series of questions, you are allocated a four-letter code that is based on Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typology.

Of course, it is possible to combine the benefits gained from playing poker with these other techniques. There is no need to choose just one in isolation. They each work in different ways to help you to understand yourself fully.  If you love playing Omaha or seven card stud then this is as valid as meditating or carrying out online personality types.

The importance of self-awareness makes it one of the areas of life that no-one should ignore. Thankfully, many of the best ways of doing this are highly enjoyable as well as being extremely useful to your future success and happiness.