Can Texas Hold’em Provide Stress Relief for US Veterans?


Poker can sometimes get a bad rep. However, it can actually be a great way to relieve stress and gives you the opportunity to take some time out of your day to have fun. Reports suggest that engaging in hobbies and developing relationships can both help to reduce stress in veterans. So how does gaming such as Texas Hold’em provide that?

Well, for starters, poker can actually be a very social game. If you’re just starting out it’s a great way to meet new people, especially if you head to the tables at your local casino. Although things may be a little quiet whilst the game is in play, it is common that people want to socialize after the game. Furthermore, if you’re just playing with friends, there’s no pressure and it’s all about having fun. It’s a great idea to start a weekly, or even a monthly, family/friends poker game. It can be fun for all ages of the family, yes, even kids, and will provide the perfect opportunity for everyone to take some time off from daily life, which can lead to your stress in the first place. Ban cellphones for an evening and encourage your loved ones to just bring themselves and some  good conversation to the table. You don’t have to use real money, just focus on strategy and having a good time.

Some people may associate poker with high stress levels, but perhaps that’s because they are looking at it solely from a negative perspective, a fear of losing, which may come from being in a compromising financial situation. If you’re betting more than you can afford in the hopes of winning back your money, or solving financial woes, it is likely you’re making a bad situation worse. However, if you play the game purely for the sportsmanship and enjoyment and play in a lighthearted manner, it can be enjoyed, stress free, just like any other hobby.

Losing money is obviously a potential pitfall of playing poker. Thus, managing your bankroll has to be at the forefront of your strategy. Thankfully, there is a tonne of information out there to help manage your bankroll effectively and not overspend, so you can reap the benefits of playing rather than use it as a way to get rich quick or solve financial problems.

If you’re thinking of starting to play poker, and you never have before, Texas Hold’em can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing. There’s an awful lot to learn about the game, the strategies involved. The great thing is, however, studying and learning a little more about the rules, the gameplay itself and betting can be quite a fun, stress relieving pastime in itself. There are plenty of books to learn how to play, or even develop new poker strategies. Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book from time to time anyway? Reading time doesn’t have to be all about fantasy fiction novels…Take an hour out of your day, or even once a week to focus on this. Learning the ropes is also a great way to keep your mind active.

For those who choose to take their poker playing to a more professional level, the level of strategy required can be pretty exponential. You need to be able to read the table and understand it. Process what players are doing and why, picking up on the most subtle of hints during play. There is an incredible amount of skill required to play poker and be successful at it. The good news is that keeping your brain active in such a way and giving it new challenges can be really stimulating and beneficial for overall cognitive health.

So, can playing poker relieve stress in veterans. Absolutely! As long as your playing for the right reasons. Leave the thoughts of gambling and winning “big” at the door. Enjoy the sport, meet new people and give your brain a workout.

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