“Life is poker, not chess,” says Annie Duke, a former professional poker player and the author of a new book, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts. Chess is a game of skill with “very little luck involved,” while in poker good decisions and good outcomes often don’t go together.
Duke cites Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll’s decision in the 2015 Super Bowl to call for a pass play that was intercepted. Since the interception rate in a situation like this is about one or two percent, it was a good decision that didn’t work out. In football, like life, humans are prone to draw the wrong conclusions from situations involving bad luck.
“We go around and we change our decision making because we’ve evaluated the quality of a decision based on one outcome,” says Duke. “Try and cordon yourself off from the outcome [and] recognize the uncertainty of the future.”
Reason‘s Nick Gillespie sat down with Duke to discuss life, chess, poker, football, and why we can all benefit from exposure to dissenting opinions.
Cameras by Jim Epstein and Andrew Heaton. Edited by Austin Bragg.
Photo Credits: Jon Soohoo/UPI/Newscom, Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Newscom, Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom, John Angelillo/UPI/Newscom, Chris Coduto/Icon Sportswire/Newscom, Shane Roper/Cal Sport Media/Newscom, Chris Wattie/REUTERS/Newscom, Charles Baus/Cal Sport Media/Newscom