Annie Duke on Poker, Probabilities, and How We Make Decisions - Deepstash
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Product Management Essentials

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Can Thinking Probabilistically Make Our Decisions Worse Rather Than Better?

  • If you’re in savannah and you hear rustling in the grass, you don’t want to spend time thinking about the probability that it’s a lion.
  • When making bets with friends, it’s probably best to not make any bets that can be interpreted as negative, such as betting your friend’s kid won’t get into a certain school, people can interpret that as you think that that’s what’s going to happen.
  • When betting on sports, sometimes you can hedge the emotional downside with a monetary upside such as betting against your home team because you know they will likely lose.


285 reads

It’s Hard For People To Make Bets That Hedge Against Their Identity

People will hedge against disaster with fire insurance but are less likely to hedge against their marriage with a prenup (only about 5% of married couples have a prenup).

We have this idea that if we do hedge against something, somehow if the bad thing happens, we caused it. And this is particularly problematic in situations that do have very high emotional valence.

Books such as The Power of Positive Thinking and and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne teach readers to think positively because their outcome is dependent on their thoughts.


215 reads

Lessons From Poker

It’s hard to be happy playing poker because the losses hurt much more than the happiness you gain from winning. Instead, focus on the process.

There’s this huge asymmetry between how sad people are when they lose versus how happy they are when they win. It’s one of those things that, unless you’re really focused on the process. This is a lesson for all of life, the way to happiness is to focus on the process.

Be aware of the self-serving bias: We tend to attribute good things to our own skill, and we tend to attribute bad things that happen to us to luck.


190 reads


I do think that one of the things that poker teaches you is that you shouldn’t assume that just because people are really skillful in one domain that that’s going to transfer. Because I think that that ability can be very, very domain-specific.



219 reads

Traits of Top Poker Players

Traits of Top Poker Players

The top 500 poker players tend to be brilliant in game theory and in making real-time, high-stakes decisions.

Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean that you can become a great player. you have to be smart in a very particular way.

You need to be curious about being wrong and stay open-minded and you have to be so incredibly hungry to collide with corrective information. You have to be open-minded to the corrective information.

Open-mindedness is the number one trait of a top poker player.


181 reads


In order to really succeed at the top levels of the game, you have to be so open-minded. You have to be so willing to ponder on a daily basis the idea that you might be wrong, the idea that the things that you think to be true or what you think about an opponent — that it just might be inaccurate.



210 reads



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