Making yourself smarter isn’t a matter of following a set path. There are numerous ways to improve your brainpower and become what people would consider smart, from how you play as a child to making sure you get enough exercise.

One of the most commonly overlooked methods is card and table games. These classic games are an ideal way to improve strengthen your brain while challenging yourself and having fun at the same time.

Improves logical and critical thinking

Having the ability to think logically and critically is an essential skill in most intellectually demanding professions.

People in the science sector need to consider alternative routes to a solution. Financial analysts need to be able to offer reasoned predictions about where they think the stock market is heading. Teachers need to apply what they know about their students when working out how to communicate messages in the most effective way.

These are all skills that can be enhanced by playing common card games.

A great example of this is blackjack. While, obviously, the outcome of these games often come down to chance, you still need to apply considerable amounts of logical thinking throughout the bulk of the game, particularly when deciding whether to hit or stand.

Learning basic blackjack strategy is a fun and communal way of developing your logical thinking. Each strategy will open you up to a new way of looking at the game, embedding these strategies within your mind’s muscle memory.

One of the best ways to make sure you keep these skills sharp is to practice online. Classic games can be found on numerous popular online casinos, as listed and reviewed on, and can be great places to improve your thinking for free or with cash prizes on the line.

Improves your memory

Improving your memory is integral for developing your ability to learn new skills and retain information. These are the fundamentals of intelligence, as being able to quickly learn new skills and recall facts are two hallmarks of what we often consider an intelligent person in society.

Few ways are more fun to improve your memory capacity than card games. In particular, this can be developed through a specific skill: card counting. Before you start worrying, no it’s not illegal to count cards. It might get you politely (if you’re lucky) removed from the casino, but it’s a completely legitimate strategy for games like poker and blackjack.

To effectively count cards you need to establish the number of high and low-value cards remaining in the desk. In doing this, you increase the odds in your favor, as you have a more holistic view of the overall game and how it will play out than your opponent.

How does this improve memory though? Being able to store this information correctly and efficiently is essential to making counting cards an effective strategy. If you don’t know what cards have been played and which haven’t, your strategy is effectively useless. Give counting cards a try and you’ll see your memory (and wallet) store more than it ever has before.

A crash course in the value of odds

A great way to get ahead in life is to effectively understand the value of odds. They help you make sense of the stock market and win big betting on a big race. Huge, extremely well-paying roles such as investment banking and stock brokering are built on a range of smarts, of which understanding the value of odds might be the most important.

Having this quality in your back pocket helps you analyze real-life situations and make the most beneficial decision, and this skill can be enhanced by putting it to the test in card games.

Odds play a crucial role in many card games but are most notably used throughout poker. It’s a game that demands the continuous managing of odds, from deciding the odds of your hang winning to whether or not the pot odds are worth calling a bet.

However, your outs are quite possibly the most important way you will use odds throughout a game of poker. Mastering outs teaches you when to raise, call or fold in a game, improving your overall decision making. This doesn’t mean poker makes you more cautious but rather gives you the skills to assess a situation and understand the chances of your desired outcome.

Sometimes card and table games just make you feel smarter when you’re playing them. That’s because they often are. You’re not just riding a wave of dumb luck when you play a winning poker hand, you’re developing crucial new skills you’ll be able to apply to work, education and huge life decisions. If you’re feeling a little less sharp lately play a couple of rounds each day.

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