Card Games That Exercise Your Mental Skills – 2021 Guide

As most people know, there are two types of intelligence. These are fluid and crystallized. The first refers to the ability to think flexibly, and the latter describes the accumulation of skills and knowledge. While most people claim that their intelligence level seems to decline as time passes, research suggests that that is not so. In general, fluid intelligence does decrease following adolescence, but our crystalized one increases throughout adulthood. However, per a 2011 study, specific mental exercises can boost a person’s ability to reason, regardless of age.

Thus, mental fitness is something that no one should neglect if they want to navigate the world better throughout the entirety of their lifespan. Remember, it is normal to experience cognitive decline with age. Maintaining your physical health and being mentally active can help with the creation of new brain cells. There is no need to invest in expensive software that engages your mind to do so. All you need is a deck of cards and a friend. Below, we list a few games whose rules you are likely already familiar with and which can keep you super-sharp if you play them on a semi-regular basis.

Solitaire

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Solitaire is likely the most famous card game that you can play by yourself. Its name indicates its single-player format that consists of creating four stacks of cards in the same suit in ascending order. It is essentially a puzzle game that can last for long stretches, and at some point, will leave you scratching your brain.

It flexes your mind by requiring that you think ahead. Solitaire does not involve overly complicated moving schemes, but it also does not let you rely on luck. It demands strategic decision-making by teaching you not to rush in on opportunities and forcing you to create future options. Now and again, you may have to take a card from the top of one stack to release another one as you make progress to your final goal. Such moves educate you that sometimes you need to take one step back to take two forward. They aid in broadening the way you think by showing you that extreme focus in one direction can be crippling.

Blackjack

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Blackjack is the world’s most established casino table game. Many believe that it is its super-simple ruleset that is at fault for this. In a hand of blackjack, you and your dealer get dealt two cards each, and you both can request more. Whoever gets to twenty-one first or has a total hand value closest to this number wins the round. If you are thinking, casino games are ones where luck has the final say. So, how exactly is randomness good for my brain? Well, while that statement is accurate, blackjack differs from other gambling games in that the use of proper strategy can lower the house advantage to a little as 0.5%. Complex blackjack betting systems require that you remember vast charts that tell you when to hit or stand.

If you wish to do some more mental gymnastics when sitting at a blackjack table, you can count cards. That refers to keeping a tally of the cards in play as the dealer burns through his deck. You do that so that you have an idea of which ones are more likely to come up next. It is a process that will test your memory and mental fortitude. Nowadays, you do not have to visit a casino to experience twenty-one action, as you can do it from the comfort of your home. To play blackjack with a real dealer online, you can visit this page on OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com.

Contact Bridge

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Despite popular belief, contact bridge is not a card game that only the elderly enjoy. Though, it is accurate that its player pool mainly consists of those over the age of fifty. It is a trick-taking game played with the standard 52-card deck and four players who sit across each other to form partnerships known as East-West and North-South. We will not get into the specifics of the rules of contact bridge as that will take too long. We will only mention that the aim of the game is for a partnership to win as many tricks as possible.

Those who wish to sharpen their mental acuity find the intricacies involved in playing bridge fascinating. A 2000 study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, showed that playing this game stimulates areas of the brain and even boosts the immune system. Berkeley researchers speculated that it does so because it requires that people use their memory and techniques like sequencing and visualization. Perhaps that is why contact bridge is a pastime enjoyed by the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Gin Rummy

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Gin rummy is a two-player game invented in 1909 by the father-son duo of Elwood and Graham Baker. It enjoyed widespread popularity in the mid-20th century as a highly established gambling and social gaming option. The goal in Gin rummy is to outscore your opponent, and the basic strategy entails that you improve your hand by forming melds and getting rid of deadwood. Melds are sets of matching cards. In this game, there are two types, three or four cards of the same rank (Sets), or three or more cards in a sequence (Runs).

According to most players, enjoying Gin rummy improves their concentration, stimulates quick thinking, and increases memory. It is also a stress reliever and requires that players perform simple math if they wish to better their odds of winning. The best thing about Gin rummy is that it is already a favorite among the elderly, and it only requires two players. So, best friends can keep each other nimble-witted.

To Wrap Up

When it comes to the brain, the adage – use it or lose it is accurate. As physical exercise keeps your body in shape, keeping your mind active does the same for your intelligence. Anything that causes you to think will help keep senility and cognitive decline at bay and may even make you smarter. We continuously lose brain cells, and as time passes, this process catches up with everyone.

Therefore, it is super crucial to keep yourself engaged. If you do that, you can remain sharp in your old age. Reading books is always an option, but if you have a deck of cards somewhere around your home, using it to play by yourself or with others is also a viable alternative that will for sure improve your cognitive abilities.

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