As a podcast host, you are not supposed to have favorite episodes – but you still do. This is one of those. I have the pleasure today of bringing you my conversation with Annie Duke. Annie is a decision scientist and former professional poker player. In fact, for two decades, she was one of the best in the world. In 2004, she beat a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelet. In 2010, she won the prestigious NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
However, this is not an episode about poker – well it isn’t and it is. As you will hear, poker is a game that mimics life. That is because it is all about making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. Therefore, this is a conversation about making decisions. In fact, Annie has a background in cognitive psychology and received a prestigious National Science Foundation fellowship prior to her poker career. She currently is working on many projects in the realm of decision science including with the likes of Philip Tetlock, a giant in this field.
Earlier this year, Annie’s book was published – Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. It is an excellent book which I highly recommend. We get into a number of the concepts Annie discusses in her book and much, much more including:
- Annie’s origin story as a poker player and decision scientist;
- The concept of “resulting” and how we apply this to lives – very useful stuff!
- “Decision quality” – and why this is so important. Annie discusses an example that comes from American football: the Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll’s decision to throw a pass late during Super Bowl 49 which ultimately cost them the game. Contrary to popular opinion, this was a high-quality decision that turned out badly – Annie explains why and why we do this type of thing in other domains.
- Ways in which we can make better decisions;
- The importance of thinking in probabilities;
- Why “thinking in bets” is so powerful;
- Much more!
The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates