Maria Konnikova has had a meteoric rise in the poker world. She initially started learning about the game for research purposes. Now, the bestselling author has a deal with PokerStars.
Her poker experiences have led her to the conclusion that the game needs to be taught to school children. Speaking with EdSurge, she explained that it can be an invaluable teaching method.
“I would say that poker is a brilliant teaching tool,” she said. “My advice to teachers would be to actually, literally teach their kids how to play poker.
“But teach it correctly, so that they learn it not as this fun game where I can win chips. But as a way of understanding risk, as a way of understanding emotion and how you’re supposed to regulate emotion so that you make better decisions.”
Why Does Konnikova See Poker as Great for School?
Konnikova offered further explanation on why she thinks that poker should be used to teach school children. She believes that it offers important lessons in dealing with emotions.
“Because it forces you to deal with other people,” said Konnikova. “It forces you to recognize emotions in other people and in yourself.
“It forces you to control those emotions. It forces you to actually think in probabilities, to quantify risk, to make decisions based on the information that you have—to quantify uncertainty. And nothing else teaches you that.”
Of course, teaching poker to elementary students is an edgy concept. However, Konnikova believes that the skill element absolves poker from the pure gambling category.
“I think that it’s only gambling if you don’t know how to play. I don’t think that poker is gambling,” she explained. “Poker is a skill game with a chance element, but so are lots of things in life.”