Professional poker player Annie Duke (@AnnieDuke) and I discuss how to disagree without being disagreeable, spotting biases that sabotage our success, how to find signals in noise, and reliable decision-making models for high stakes, high-pressure situations.
Duke’s unique background positions her as an expert on high-stakes decision-making. As a professional poker player, author, speaker, and academic in psychology and cognitive theory, she possesses a deep understanding of the relationship between luck, skill, and decision-making in complex, uncertain environments, distinguishing her as one of the leading voices on the subject.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
- The strange circumstances that shifted Annie’s path from finishing a Ph.D. in linguistics to becoming a professional poker player
- What it was like to be a female poker player in a predominantly male sport (especially before poker had become socially acceptable)
- What drew Annie into such a high stakes, time-pressured environment and why she felt like poker was the perfect fit for her
- How her graduate work in psychology informed the way she approached the game of poker — and helped her rack up wins
- How she finds the signal in a very noisy stream of feedback
- The big mistakes Annie noticed other players making that were stalling their progress in the game but allowed her to make giant leaps forward
- The role that mental models played in her learning process (and which models Annie liked to lean on the most in a high stakes game)
- The power of surrounding yourself with people that can help you expand your circle of competence — and how that made all the difference in Annie’s development as a player
- Confirmatory and exploratory thought, and how one helps us to be “accurate” and one helps us to be “right.”
- The secret pact you should be making with the people who are closest to you
And so much more.
This episode is just under two hours long, but there’s no fat in it. Annie delivers a masterclass in making the smartest decisions we can, even when our hubris insists otherwise. Do some finger stretches before hitting play, because you’re going to be taking some serious notes.
Please enjoy the interview!