Should I Teach My Child to Play Poker? 

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Whether you should teach your child to play poker is a personal choice. The way a parent raises their child is important since it plays a significant role in how they will turn out in future. This is evident in so many ways. For instance, studies have shown that most serial killers had a difficult childhood. 

However this logic does not mean that if you play poker your child to become a homeless gambler. Gambling is a serious issue, and its prevalence is often not spoken about in young men. However, playing poker round a family table will not make someone a gambler. In fact, as it is a game of skill, it might well educate about the dangers of gambling. We have an article about 12 card games to play with your family if poker does not appeal.

Teaching your child to play poker may have both benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, poker can help your child develop critical thinking and strategic planning skills, as well as enhance their math abilities by requiring them to calculate probabilities and assess risks. Playing poker can also teach your child about money management and responsible decision-making.

However, it is important to keep in mind that poker is a form of gambling, and it can be addictive for some people. Additionally, many people view poker as a form of adult entertainment, and it may not be appropriate for children to participate in or be exposed to gambling-related activities.

If you do decide to teach your child how to play poker, it is important to do so in a responsible and age-appropriate manner. You should set clear boundaries and guidelines, such as playing only for fun and not for real money, and make sure your child understands the risks and consequences associated with gambling. This is a good way to introduce a conversation to your children about the value of money.

Ultimately, the decision to teach your child how to play poker is up to you and should be based on your own values, beliefs, and assessment of the potential benefits and risks involved.

For me, like teaching any card game, they are a fantastic way for families to spend quality time together.

The Advantages of Teaching Your Child Poker

A good poker player needs to possess a variety of skills, including:

  • Emotional control: A good poker player needs to be able to control their emotions and avoid tilting, or becoming upset or frustrated, which can lead to poor decision-making.
  • Strategic thinking: A good poker player must be able to think strategically and develop a strong game plan. This involves analyzing opponents’ behavior, calculating pot odds, and making informed decisions about when to bet, raise, or fold. The article “The Top 10 Poker Tips to Make You a Better Player” by Bill Burton provides some tips on strategic thinking in poker. Critical thinking is a difficult skill to teach, and poker, as with many strategic games, is an excellent way to achieve this.
  • Reading opponents: A good poker player must be able to read their opponents’ body language, facial expressions, and other cues to determine their intentions and potential hands. This requires careful observation and attention to detail. The book “Caro’s Book of Poker Tells” by Mike Caro is a classic reference on reading opponents in poker.
  • Bankroll management: A good poker player needs to manage their bankroll effectively to avoid losing all their money. This involves setting limits on how much to bet and sticking to them, as well as knowing when to walk away from a game. The article “How to Manage Your Poker Bankroll: Tips and Recommendations” by Nathan Williams provides some guidance on bankroll management.
  • Adaptability: A good poker player must be able to adapt to changing situations and opponents’ playing styles. This requires flexibility and the ability to adjust their game plan accordingly. The article “Poker Strategies for Different Situations” by Jeff Gross provides some advice on adapting to different situations in poker.

Why You Might Not Teach Your Child to Play Poker.

  • Potential addiction: There is a risk that your child could become addicted to gambling if they start playing poker at a young age. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, gambling addiction can have serious negative consequences for individuals and their families.
  • Social stigma: Some people may view gambling, including poker, as immoral or inappropriate for children. This could lead to social ostracism or other negative consequences.
  • Negative impact on academic performance: If your child becomes too focused on poker, it could distract them from their schoolwork and negatively impact their academic performance. The article “The Impact of Gambling on Academic Performance” by Daniel King and Paul Delfabbro discusses some of the potential negative effects of gambling on academic performance. Interestingly, the same authors have written and shown that it is similar for computer games. It is really just a use of time. However, there is a massive correlation with gambling and academic performance. This is because of the mental health issues related to the loss of money and the continue need to win it back.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content: Some poker games or gambling websites may contain inappropriate or adult-oriented content, which could be harmful or offensive to children. As a parent, you may not have full control over what your child is exposed to online.

Final Thoughts on Whether You Should Teach Your Child to Play Poker

For me poker and gambling are seperate. The skills that can be learnt through playing poker are excellent and it is an easy game to play at any point, for example on holiday. Much like bridge. However when I play it with my family it is only for chips and I don’t make the correlation with money. But they have learnt calculating risk and the ability to at least think that what someone is saying may not be true, and in the same way, look to do the same. Most importantly, it is a lovely way to build a meaningful relationship with them.