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Nate’s Notes 89: Annie Duke: Decision Making Models from a World Series of Poker Champion

By September 4, 2023November 6th, 2023No Comments

Annie Duke

World Series of Poker Champion and Author

Annie Duke - Wikipedia

What great lessons from Annie:

First: Quitting isn’t a bad thing. All decisions are probabilistic, so it’s important to continually sample. Try a bunch of stuff, figure out what you like, and then keep trying a bunch of stuff. It’s hard for us to leave paths without feeling like we’ve failed. Luckily for Annie, she was forced to try other things when she got sick during her PhD program. And then sampling poker helped her realize that she loved it and was really good at it, eventually becoming a world champion. Then she realized she liked writing books, giving talks, and running a foundation. As Annie said, with whatever we’re doing, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t love it” or “I loved it, but I no longer do” or “I still love it, but I think there might be this other thing that I love more.”

Second: Just because something survives a fact check doesn’t mean it’s true…true in the sense that it’s the right model of the facts. Given that every decision we make is a forecast, the quality of our decisions are only as good as the way that we’ve modeled the information that is inputted into the forecast. And Annie has developed two questions that are fantastic for modeling facts: “Out of how many?” and “In comparison to what?” By asking ourselves these two questions we will improve our models and make Annie happy.

In summary, don’t be afraid to quit, and ask yourself, “Out of how many?” and “In comparison to what?”

All simple ideas. Please take them seriously.

Annie Duke Bio:

Annie Duke is a World Series of Poker champion, having won more than $4 million in tournament poker. In 2004 she won the World Series of Poker bracelet and is the only woman to have won the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions.

In 2009, Annie was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, where she took 2nd and raised more than $700,000 for her chosen charity.

She is the author of Thinking in Bets, a national bestseller, and Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away.

Annie was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and she recently completed her PhD.

She is also the co-founder of The Alliance for Decision Education, a non-profit whose mission is to improve lives by empowering students through decision skills education.

I hope you enjoy learning from Annie Duke today, because I always do.

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