E14: Poker Pro Annie Duke: Betting – The Ultimate Transferable Skill

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Episode Summary:

Listen to the full episode on iTunes (and please leave a rating to help the podcast reach more people): E14: Poker Pro Annie Duke: Betting – The Ultimate Transferable Skill

– The Better you are the worse hand you can play.
– When you see a high level player that plays in a way that looks like luck it might not be luck. They may instead be playing a more nuanced version of the game.
– TV often doesn’t show the 20-30 hands in between the big ones. However all these hands shape the decision making of the players and thereby the decisions you see on TV can often seem irrational because of the missing hands.
– Poker is like the market. You’re trading against other people. The people you play against create the market conditions. You can be more bearish or bullish. You must think of the Return-On-Investment of the overall game and the hand. The pot is what the market is offering you for your hand.
– When TV started showing the hands of the poker players during the games, viewers could see that an increasing number of players raised while having a junk hand. As a result, the players had to adapt and call more raises they thought are junk.
– When new mathematically oriented players came in the old players had to adapt again. Staying adaptable is one of the keys behind long-term success in both poker and all other areas of life.
– Pattern recognition is important in poker.
– However you need to hold your intuition accountable. You must deconstruct why you make each move so you can later explain your process to an 8 year old in a rational way that makes sense.
– Based on your rational explanation of your strategy, you can over time tweak your strategy to stay adaptable to new playing styles, conditions and players. However to do so you must first understand what your strategy is and why it works.
– When Annie started teaching poker she discovered that many of the choices she made at the table were not optimal. As a result she adjusted her playing style and became a better player. This is the result of holding your intuition accountable to a more rational process.
– When you don’t hold yourself accountable to explain your knowledge to other people your knowledge becomes siloed. In this case your knowledge may not be accurate and fall victim to biases.
– When you’re siloed you become your own echochamber.
– A lot of older poker players didn’t have conversations with other people and didn’t explain their knowledge to anyone. They just followed their gut. They siloed their knowledge and later they were weeded out.
– “These new players are so lucky and they don’t know what they’re doing.”
– Mikael Syding’s experience in the finance industry: Most people started with spreadsheets and data analysis and then over the years they built up expert pattern recognition. After gaining expert pattern recognition they made the mistake to only rely on that. You can use intuition as a starting point however once you have that starting point you have to go through these ideas at least as carefully as you used to.
– Richard Feynman: You don’t know anything unless you can explain it to an 8 year old.
– Teaching poker: When Annie teaches poker, she doesn’t teach what to do. Instead she teaches what to think about when you have a hand.
– When you’re a woman in poker, people often underestimate your ability to bluff. This can be used to your advantage.
– 3 different hands you can have: 1) clear hand: you know you either have the best or worst hand. 2) draw: you know you don’t have the best hand but you know the mathematics behind being able to improve it to be the best hand, 3) middle zone: for example a pair. These are the hardest hands to play because you don’t know what to do to have the best hand.
– A lot of poker success is decided by how well you play and read the middle zone hands. Beginners should avoid playing these hands. As you get better you can play more of them.
– Beginner mistake: Ego drives a lot of beginners to play too many middle zone hands.
– When you’re playing, observe the emotional state of each player. Emotional state often dictates how players play.
– Pay attention to changes into their plays. Frequency or aggressiveness.

Oskar Faarkrog

We are right now creating the Future Skills Program which will be an online video course covering decision making and risk management with weekly homework and evaluations.

* Why decision making and risk management? Because better decisions and risk management equal better finances, better relationships and an overall better life.

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  1. “…she doesn’t teach what to do. Instead she teaches what to think about when you have a hand.” That is the fucking essence of teaching (anything). The next layer is meta-thinking: the things you should think about aren’t the same in every situation. The key to that is staying focused on the final goal, not intermediate goals. The low level thinker: “what formula do I use for problem X?” The high level thinker: “What do I know about problem X that could lead to a solution?” The meta-thinker: “What is the purpose of solving problem X?”

    On beginner’s luck: A lot of this is selection bias: no one notices a beginner who has ordinary or worse luck. But sometimes a beginner has an advantage because they don’t know what’s expected of them. In chess, making an unusual move that everyone “knows” is bad can get an experienced opponent out of their “playbook” (the sequences of moves they have memorized) and increase the chances of an upset. Sometimes someone who doesn’t know unspoken rules (e.g. don’t bet unless you’re holding a pair of Jacks or better) will surprise and defeat those who count on the conventions without really thinking about them. (I bet this is where the old “you can’t open without at least a pair of Jacks” rule came from, even though otherwise many hands in five card draw are won with lesser hands). I have seen cases where a player new to a game really kicked ass /until/ they learned, through peer pressure, how to play “properly” – – and lose.

    I’d like to see Richard Feynman try to explain Minkowski space to an eight year old. Ha. Ha. Ha.

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