When you watch any of the poker tournaments on television, you see the professional players, in moments where there are hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, and even though they are trying their best to show a calm demeanor, they are probably very tense inside. That's because fortunes can literally be won or lost on the turn of a card.
Is it that way for the casual or intermediate player who is enjoying the game in a local poker room or even in an online environment? Well, maybe, but maybe not. There are, in fact, a group of scientists in Canada who firmly believe that playing poker can be very useful in terms of managing stress levels. And they say they have, well, science to back them up.
There is a hormone called Cortisol, which is released when the body feels the effect of stress, and its effect is such that it is used to fight stress. If you are familiar with the drug Hydrocortisone, it is composed of the same molecule as Cortisol, and therefore is a medication that is prescribed for people who are not producing enough of it.
Maybe a nice game of poker can be prescribed as well.
The conclusion of these scientists is that playing a game of online poker can have the effect of releasing some of this Cortisol into the system, thus reducing stress. We admit that something is getting lost in the scientific translation here, but maybe you can sense a basis in logic, in that there is a concentration level on things other than outside influences that could pump up a stress level. There is literally said to be a calming influence about it, whether the player is winning or losing. Hey, they are doing something that really want to be doing; there has to be something positive about that, doesn't there?
Too many times people want to focus on some of the negative impacts of playing online poker, and we certainly understand that there are people who might take it a bit too far, in playing mutilple games at once or overreacting to what they consider to be bad beats. Of course, people who do things like aren't necessarily spending their brain power on things that promote lower levels of stress.
But if we listen to these scientific experts, online poker could become a method of - dare we say - therapy. We aren't being tongue-in-cheek about that at all; anything that can serve to reduce stress on an overstressed society is more than welcome.