In this episode, we discuss how to make better decisions under conditions of uncertainty. We look at “the worst call in the history of football,” discuss examples from life, business and even high stakes poker to understand how to make the best possible decisions in a world filled with unknowns. What exactly is a good decision? Is that different than a good outcome? We look at this key question – and uncover the wisdom hidden in the reality that these two things might be completely different. All this and more with our guest Annie Duke.
We make millions of decisions over the course of our lives. Most of these seem to be small and of little consequence, and so we make our choices and act with little care or thought. Other decisions require more care and consideration, as their significance will, for better or worse, have a lasting impact on our life: What job offer to accept, what life partner to choose, how to invest in retirement.
Annie Duke studied at the University of Pennsylvania to be a cognitive psychologist. Then Duke made what she thought was a bad decision — to leave academia
Annie is best known for her career as a professional poker player, where she has won a World Series of Poker bracelet, the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, and the NBC National Poker Heads-Up Championship. She has more than 16 money finishes and has won more than $4 million in tournament poker.
How is poker relevant to decision-making in business and life, and to thinking better? Why is a former poker professional in great demand as a consultant to investment banks, hedge funds, and venture capital funds? In one line: poker is about decisions that are probabilistic and made with imperfect information. This is what life and business strategy are about – making good decisions in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment.
This episode features Annie Duke, former pro poker player and author of the book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. Julia and Annie debate why people tend to ignore the role of luck in their decisions, whether expressing uncertainty makes you seem weak, and how people end up engaging in “defensive decision-making,” where they’re not trying to make the best call so much as simply avoid being blamed for bad outcomes.
Despite being retired for nearly a decade, until very recently, Annie was the world’s winningest female poker player. In 2004, she bested a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet. The same year, she triumphed in the $2 million winner-take-all, invitation-only WSOP Tournament of Champions. Prior to becoming a professional poker player, Annie was awarded the National Science Foundation Fellowship. Through this fellowship, she studied Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, which eventually led to her current book, Thinking In Bets, which combines her academic studies with real-life decision-making experiences at the poker table.
Has watching professional poker ever fascinated you? In Episode 14, we meet Annie Duke, author of Thinking in Bets, who has leveraged her expertise in the science of smart decision making to excel at pursuits as varied as championship poker to public speaking. For two decades, Annie was one of the top poker players in the world. In 2004, she bested a field of 234 players to win her first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet. The same year, she triumphed in the $2 million winner-take-all, invitation-only WSOP Tournament of Champions. In 2010, she won the prestigious NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Prior to becoming a professional poker player, Annie was awarded the National Science Foundation Fellowship. Because of this fellowship, she studied Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Annie is also the co-founder of How I Decide, an educational nonprofit that works with urban, disadvantaged communities in the Philadelphia area.
In this episode, we’re joined by Annie Duke, World Series poker champion and author of Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. She’ll explain how poker strategies bring this uncertainty to light and help us understand the relationship between outcomes, decision quality, and luck. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
If data makes for good decisions, then a lot of data must make for even better decisions, right? Don’t bet on it. Decision strategist, author, and World Series of Poker Champion Annie Duke joins Michelle Dennedy to discuss that when it comes to analyzing data, people often like to stack the deck in their favor. And often at the expense of what’s best for the organization.