I will put my cards on the table straight away. I urge you teach children Poker. Not pretend Poker for tokens or matches, but Texas Hold Em Poker with money. Their pocket money. Bear with me on this before you start going into a froth about the evils of getting kids into gambling and on the road to rack and ruin. I am not suggesting gambling on something as trivial as Bingo where there is no skill involved. I am not suggesting that this teaching goes unsupervised. But I am suggesting that the game of Texas Hold Em has a wealth of learning, that will equip children better for the rigours and the traps, financial and otherwise, in the world outside the school, college, Uni or Campus gates.
Consider what you need to do in order to be good at Poker. You need to be able to make the best of the cards you are dealt. That may often mean folding. Not undertaking something where the odds are that you will fail. Not gambling your money, your time, or your effort on something. That’s a good lesson that is better for being learned early. For every phenomenal success by a kid who strives and succeeds, there are many others who fell by the wayside, disappointed, frustrated, failures. They would not be failures if they had the skill and experience, from Poker, to weight up the odds, the chances of them succeeding, and saying no. I don’t want to be in this race where I am likely not to win. I would be better off drawing a new set of cards… in other words doing something else.
Conversely, when you have a blinder of a hand- a pair of Aces or Kings, then you should be teaching kids to go with it, to gamble big-time, pull out all the stops. Be confident, exude that confidence, intimidate and overpower.
There are other skills that can be learnt by teaching children the subtleties of Poker. How about keeping counsel, not letting the cat out of the bag, not betraying emotions, keeping a cool head and a poker face. Very useful in job interviews, business negotiations, bids to be representing the School at something. Self-discipline and a cool hand and head in situations can be priceless learning for a youth. Weighing up the options and the odds, without emotion. If only I had had that when I was young, I would have avoided many unfortunate and costly situations!
Anther spin –off from teaching Poker include is reading other people. The facial tics, the nose scratching, the nervous cough and the seat shuffle that all betray someone who is not telling the truth. Bluffing. Something that can bring great dividends in the world of commerce and business.
There are more, but I shall end my letter here. There is a reason that Poker is one of the greatest games on the planet. It is about human interaction just as much as it is about who wins when the chips are down. And learning about interpersonal skills at a tender age can be invaluable in readiness for the harsh realities of the cut-throat world out there.
Over to you, I have dealt out the challenge… Your call….