There are several types of games that can enhance your poker skills which are played away from the felt – or seated at a different type of felt. These games range from chess to board games to computer games to pit games. In any of the following games, discipline and self-control are as important as in our favorite card game.
When trying to become a better poker player, it should come as no surprise that the most useful games and activities to engage in are strategic in nature. Chess forms a natural first example, since one is playing against another opponent, and it shares with poker the elements of anticipating your competitor’s future actions and aligning yours to these expectations.
However, unlike poker, chess is a game of complete information in the sense that both players have the exact same information when making their decisions. Since this is not the case for most, if not all, poker variants, the chess metaphor is limited. Although the game of chess has not yet been completely solved, a computer will most likely be able to beat any human opponent a lot sooner than once, for instance, 100 big blind No Limit Hold’em will be solved, since the game is much more complicated with many more branches up the decision game tree.
How about sports wagers? Betting on sports is clearly also a game of incomplete information, as there is an almost-infinite amount of variables involved into determining what team is the favorite to win or even who is going to be next to score. Instead of playing against a peer, a bettor is playing against the bookmaker. Professional sports bettors understand this concept very well in the sense that they only make bets when they think the odds that a bookmaker is giving for a particular event are not reflective of the true chances for the event in question to occur. In the world of sports betting, this is referred to as beating the market. This translates nicely into poker, as a successful card player will always evaluate the potential value in choosing one action above the other, for instance when choosing between raising and calling a certain bet.
Again, sports betting does not provide the ultimate poker-enhancing platform but it’s certainly useful. Still, there are no mind games when accepting or declining the odds that a bookmaker gives you for a particular bet, nor are there many more options once the bet is made (excepting early cash-outs and being able to cancel the bet before the event has started).
Blackjack is another decent game that can enhance your poker skills. Although the opponent, who in this case is the dealer, has a statistical edge on the player, the latter still has a wealth of options with respect to their strategy. Doubling down, splitting, insurance and surrendering are just a few examples of the strategic options a blackjack player has. A double down, for instance, is when you elect to double your wager while receiving one more card. Although the overlap of blackjack with poker is considerable in the sense of the mutual key elements of calculating your odds and risk/reward ratios, in addition to being a game of incomplete information, there are even more games that focus on different common factors.
League of Legends and E-sports
As in any game, your lifestyle will have a big influence on your ability to perform. This might have the biggest influence in playing high-paced, strategic games such as the immensely-popular computer game League of Legends. The professional players of LOL are generally following strict guidelines with regards to their sleeping schedule and nutritional intake because of the effect it has on their performance.
The game itself resembles poker in a lot of aspects: it is a high-paced, strategic endeavor played against peers. It involves anticipating your opponent’s actions and rapidly forming a proper response, just like how a certain turn card will make any professional online poker player quickly evaluate his reaction when his opponent will follow through with a continuation bet. Being able to swiftly analyze all the strategic options that one has is an essential element of both poker and games like League of Legends.
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