Playing the cards you're dealt - the art of decision making with ex poker pro Annie Duke

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Playing the cards you’re dealt - the art of decision making with ex poker pro Annie Duke

As a champion ex-poker player, Annie Duke turned decision making into an art form. With a background in cognitive psychology, the card table became Annie Duke's real-time lab where she could study uncertainty, recognise cognitive bias and also win a few million. Annie talks to The Artful Trader about her new book, "Thinking In Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All The Facts", which teaches decision-making skills and explains how to get comfortable with uncertainty.

Annie Duke

CMC Markets

Annie Duke is an American professional poker player and author. She holds a World Series of Poker gold bracelet from 2004 and used to be the leading money winner among women in WSOP history.

Annie now spends her time writing, coaching and speaking on a range of topics such as decision fitness, emotional control, productive decision groups and embracing uncertainty.

Episode 3: Playing the cards you're dealt - the art of decision making with ex poker pro Annie Duke

Annie Duke: We're very willing to say when things go well and we win, that it's because we're very good decision makers and when things go poorly and we lose that it's because of bad luck. So that I think is the thing to learn from poker because this is what's happening all the time. You win, you lose, you know, how do you work backwards to that. When are you in a state where you really shouldn't be making a new decision where you really shouldn't be making a new trade, and actually figuring that out is really hard.

Michael McCarthy: Hello and welcome to The Artful Trader. I'm Michael McCarthy the chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific. Each episode we'll hear the highs and lows from the industry's experts and hear their journey to mastering the art of the financial markets. How good decision-making processes help top poker players and top traders. We meet former World Series of poker champion Annie Duke. Annie Duke has perfected the art of making decisions. For over 20 years as a professional poker player Annie mastered the art of how to get comfortable with uncertainty. She could recognise cognitive bias and stereotyping and use it to make good decisions. It was this strategy that lead Annie to win her first world series of poker bracelet in 2004, beating a field of more than 200 players. She also won $2,000,000 in the winner takes all tournament of champions, which was televised live that year. So it may come as no surprise that Annie began her career in cognitive science. And has now written several books on the decisions that won her millions. Her new book thinking in bets, making smarter decisions when you don't have all the facts teachers readers to make smarter decisions in any situation. Annie Duke joins The Artful Trader from Long Island, New Jersey.

Michael McCarthy: Well, Annie Duke, welcome to The Artful Trader. Thank you for joining us today. Could we start with your background, you played cards as a child with your family?

Annie Duke: Yes, but not poker. We played a lot of games that didn't involve gambling. I mean luckily my father wasn't trying to like when the allowance money back, but we were playing a variety of card games and this is really kind of how we socialised as a family was through games. My father was an avid games player. He also had a theory that you should never let your children win, which made for some tantrums on my part because I was the youngest one playing in the game so I did most of the losing and I got very upset about it. But I think interestingly enough, it actually taught me a very hard lesson about how to be a good loser and I think that I had to figure out how to be okay with that and how to sort of take the lessons and to either, you know, quit and not play the game, right, that would've been one choice, but I kept coming back because I wanted to learn how to actually master the game. And by the time I was 16 I was doing a pretty good job of beating my father. So I think that I kind of figured out, you know, how you keep your emotions under control so you're not actually like throwing the cards against the wall, which isn't particularly productive for being able to get better at what you're doing.

Michael McCarthy: Understandably. What drew you to cognitive psychology?

Annie Duke: I took a psych one class just as a requirement and I found that it was really this interesting way to sort of think about how do you get into something mathy, that also has a lot of uncertainty to it, which was something that I really liked thinking about and cognitive psychology actually really does that. So you take this very scientific approach to understanding the way that our brain interacts with the world, you understand what a hypothesis is, how to test it, how to deal with data, right. So you're really understanding statistics and what they mean. And so I could kind of get that creative side going along with the more scientific math side that I really kind of needed to feed I think.

Michael McCarthy: So you're essentially on your way to becoming an academic. What drew you to poker?

Annie Duke: So I would say luck. I mean not in the sense that I like doing something that involved a lot of luck, but my brother, when he was 18, had gone off to New York and became a very, very good poker player. So then I went off to graduate school in Philadelphia to go to Penn and I had a fellowship from the National Science Foundation. But then right at the end of graduate school as I was going out to go interview for professorships, I had had stomach issues that really kind of blew up on me. And I actually ended up in the hospital for two weeks when I was supposed to be doing all of my job interviews. I then had to delay going out for professorships because it's seasonal in academics. So I sort of missed that season and I was going to have to wait until the next season. So during that time when I got out of the hospital and I was recuperating, I just needed money honestly. So I didn't have money, I didn't have my fellowship, I was trying to get better so that I could, you know, go back and finish up, and my brother suggested I play poker for money because he said, well, you need money and you kind of know how to play poker and I'll teach you some and let's see how that goes. So off I went to this little card room in a place called Columbus, Montana and I started playing and then I was playing in Billings, which was where the like big game was. And I just loved it. And I think that what happened was that it ended up being like this real-world application of the things that I had been studying in graduate school, because so much of what you do in cognitive psychology is thinking about learning when there's uncertainty. And that was actually specifically what I was studying was learning in uncertain systems, specifically language, how do you learn a language. And it just seemed like, ah, this is it. Like this is the way to do this in a practical way in this really practical lab and apply these skills and in a really interesting way. And I never went back basically.

Michael McCarthy: So what was it like that first time you sat down at the table looking to play professionally. What were you thinking. What did that feel like?

Annie Duke: It's so funny. When I look back on it, it felt easy. You know, I had this brother who at the time had already made the final table of the main event of the world series of poker. He had done that when he was 23 and I'd watched him play and I'd had the benefit of being able to interact with some of the best players in the world. People like Erik Seidel for example, Dan Harrington, you know, Phil Hellmuth. So I felt like I really knew what I was doing and I sat down in this game and it was a bunch of people who were, you know, kind of ranchers by day. Very typical of what you'd imagined from the American West. And I thought this game is easy. This is amazing. Like, I've got these great teachers, they've really told me what to do. It's seems pretty simple. I'm good to go. And I look back on that now and I'm just, I just think that's so hilarious that that's the way that I felt about it. You know, as you learn more about this game, you learn that the simplicity of it, what it looks to be is so incredibly deceptive. So, I imagine that it served me well in terms of at least getting me to sit down at the table now I think that that's crazy.

Michael McCarthy: But it's a theme that's come up again and again in The Artful Trader podcast series that traders and by the sounds of it, poker players need confidence and they also need humility.

Annie Duke: Yeah. So I like to think about it is I divide it up into two things that I think often get conflated. I think that you can have incredible humility in the face of the game or in the face of the problem that you're trying to solve, right. That it's so complex and there's so much information, asymmetry, there's a lot of luck involved. So it just creates all of these sort of after the fact problems as you're trying to figure out why did this thing happen, why did it go this way. Was it because of something I did. Was it because of luck. Were there things that I didn't know that I could have known if I had just looked harder or was that kind of that stuff unknowable. Like there's all these really interesting questions that come up that you realise it's just, it's just this really big tangle. So you can have total humility in the face of that problem. And I think that you can also say at the exact same time, but I think that I can make decisions within this system better than the people I'm deciding against. And I think those two things going hand in hand constantly makes you strive to be a better decision maker and to always ask like, what do I still not know. What can I be doing better. How can I get better at sort of untangling these outcomes and figuring out why they happen. That's the humility of the game that causes you to keep never being satisfied with where you are, but you're very confident in the decisions that you make in regards to the people that you're playing against. And I think those two things can coexist just fine and I think people have a hard time understanding that they can coexist at the same time and they tend to conflate them.

Michael McCarthy: I mean you made it pretty clear what you enjoy about the game and the uncertainty of it. But what was it like being the only woman at a table and are there special challenges for women who play poker.

Annie Duke: Oh yes there were. So here's the interesting thing, you know, again, I want to divide this kind of into two parts, you know, in terms of the culture of the poker room at the time that I started playing and I think it's probably improved now. I haven't played since 2012, but it was definitely, it was getting better during the 2000s, particularly as it became more professionalised and it was on television it got a little better, but I started playing in the nineties. So you know, I mean I can't tell you the number of times that I was propositioned, that I was offered money to go off with somebody. You'd lose a hand to somebody and they would sling a word that I would never say on this podcast at you. It's because of this kind of interesting thing about poker, which is that it's not fun for people unless they're playing for an amount of money that actually matters to them. So what that means is that then when they lose a hand, that money that they lost really does matter to them and kind of like in the old days of trading when you were actually standing on the floor trading against people, right, which doesn't happen anymore, but which used to. That was very much like poker where it was one of these few things where the wins and losses were face to face with somebody. Right. You had to look at the person that just took your money. And I think that for not only are they losing an amount of money that matters to them, but they're losing it to a girl. So that is very often not a happy experience. That is certainly not true of every man that I played against. Not even close. Right. There are lots of men who just treated me like an individual treated me like anybody else, looked at me like a regular opponent, but that was not true for all men. And then within the kind of culture of what I was living in, nobody was saying that's not okay that they just said that to you. You know, I sort of looked at that and I said, okay, I think that that culture's going to change very slowly. Now I think that by my presence here and the presence of other people like, you know, Jennifer Harman or Barbara Enright, you know, Cyndy Violette was another one that as more women were sort of getting into it and becoming professional that slowly but surely like maybe there would be some changes, but I understood that those were going to be very slow moving. So what I really chose to focus on is given that there's this really emotional reaction from a certain number of the people that I play against how can I create agency for myself interacting with them. And what I realised was, oh, there's actually a lot of power in the fact that people are getting so emotional in their interactions with me because people who are in a really emotional state are not necessarily going to be particularly rational in the decisions that they make against me. And in particular what I discovered was that that particular type of man, and again not even close to all men, but that particular type of man becomes a very bad Bayesian when they're playing against a woman. They come in with very, very specific preconceived notions about who you are and how you play. And it doesn't matter what evidence that you're giving them that maybe their notions about you aren't true, they just don't update. And once you kind of understand that, you realise, okay, you know, there's a lot of stuff that kind of stinks about this, but in terms of what my job at this table is, which is to execute the best decisions against my opponent possible, oh, I actually kind of have an advantage here. And I think that that really kind of allowed me to sort of be sanguine about the whole thing. Right. And just be like, okay, I'm going to try to push forward these kinds of slow cultural changes and also recognise that there's a lot of power for me sitting in these interactions as long as I don't allow myself to get really emotional about them also.

Michael McCarthy: Okay, so it's offensive, but it's potentially useful.

Annie Duke: Exactly. Intermission: More from Annie Duke in a moment. This is The Artful Trader. Uncovering the highs and the lows to mastering the art of the financial markets. One of the bestselling books on market is of course, Jack Swagger's Market Wizard series in which he interviewed all the trading greats, so it was an honour to turn the mic around and pick Jack's brain about what he learned from the best. And his answers were surprising. Every successful trader I've ever known has had their own trading style. So that tells you there is no right approach. One of the most important things you can do is develop your own style and methodology, and I just long time ago decided that you don't want to listen to other people's advice. It'll just mess you up. You can hear more from Jack Swagger and all of our previous interviews at theartfultraderpodcast.com or wherever you get your favourite podcasts. Now, back to my chat with Annie Duke on Long Island, New Jersey.

Michael McCarthy: Well, Annie I've got to ask, what about the hands that you misplayed that you made mistakes in.

Annie Duke: Those I remember. So I've got a good one for you. So poker was really different before television and after television. The year before poker got on television, the main event had like, it was like 800 people in it. The year after the first main event was aired on television there were close to 3000 people in it. Like that's what happened in one year, right. So now you're bringing in all these new players, right. So they don't have the same ideas about how the game is supposed to be played when are you supposed to fold, what kind of hands are really strong. Combine that with the fact that my last child was born in the year that poker exploded all over television. So I was sort of like six months behind the curve on how all of these new players were playing. So I just want to say that because this is how I ended up playing this hand so ridiculously. So I was in a tournament and I raised with a king and a queen and a guy in the big blind called me. So he has bet first on the next round and the board came such that if I hit a Jack I would make a straight. So it came an ace a 10 and something else. So I had ace, King, queen blank 10. I needed a jack. So the guy bet and I called but not because I was trying to hit a jack, but because I was planning to bluff him on the next card because when he bet I really thought, oh, he probably has like one pair that he's not very happy about. That would be a common thing that you would think for somebody who's bet in that situation. So the next turn comes nothing. And the guy bet's again and just as I had planned to do, I made a really big raise. Well, that guy, it's what we call beat me into the pot. So I couldn't even finish getting my chips in the pot on my raise. And he had already called me very excited and I thought, oh no. Oh No, I've really missed this hand up. He obviously has a very good holding and, well don't worry, I hit a jack on the last card. I then had the very best possible hand that you could have. I took all of his chips and he showed me in disgust an ace and a nine. So what I thought was very interesting about this hand and why it was so instructive for me and why I remember it so well, is that he actually had the cards that I thought he had kind of a pair that wasn't very good. So I got that part right. I got his whole cards right, but what I got totally wrong was how he would rate this hand. So prior to television somebody would've rated that as very weak. After television people were for a while, not anymore, but were for a while rating these hands as very strong and I just totally missed the idea that this guy may be, might think that this hand was much better than it was and it really brought home for me that there's two pieces of the puzzle. It's not just about figuring out what the person's holding, but you have to figure out well how the person's going to react to their holdings. And I totally, totally missed that and messed the hand up and then won anyway.

Michael McCarthy: That's the best losing trade story I've ever heard.

Annie Duke: Yeah. So I was embarrassed that I had won this hand because I had just butchered it so badly.

Michael McCarthy: But it does raise a big point. I mean, what was the aftermath of that. I mean, if a trader has a bad run or makes bad decisions and a poker player does the same, how do you learn from those mistakes. Do you keep playing. Do you stop?

Annie Duke: So in this particular case I couldn't stop because I was actually playing in a tournament. So for me, the idea that I had played this hand so badly was quite upsetting to me. So I had to figure out a way to sort of move on to the next hand and take my immediate lesson from it that, oh, okay people are sort of valuing their hands a little bit differently than I thought. So now I have got to pay a lot of attention here because I really have to adjust what my assessment is. And then, you know, figure out a way to not allow that to affect the next hand that I was going to play. And I think that that's a challenge even when you're not locked at the table like you are in a tournament. Because a lot of times, even in a cash game or as a trader, you need to recognise when you're in that state. When are you in a state where you really shouldn't be making a new decision where you really shouldn't be making a new trade, and actually figuring that out is really hard. So you know, I think that being in tournament situations where you're kind of forced to make the next decision kind of helps you recognise when you need to be working on that and then you can take that into a situation where you can leave. When should I be getting up because I can't get myself to calm down or let me just move on to the next thing I have to do and just put a pin in that so that I can examine that decision later.

Michael McCarthy: But in all your speaking about that, you're talking about analysing the decisions, not the outcomes?

Annie Duke: The reason is that outcomes and decisions are not particularly well linked and if we really rely on the outcomes in terms of trying to analyse the decision process, which is what we really care about, right. We really care about are we positive equity or are we negative equity, are we winning to the decision, are we losing to the decision. Right. And we don't care so much about the outcome. If we really cared about the outcome, then we could all agree I was brilliant when I hit the eight percent chance of a Jack, and won that hand. But I hope nobody thinks that I was brilliant to do that. I certainly don't think I was brilliant to do that. Right? I'm embarrassed that I played that hand so poorly. So one of the problems is that because of luck and because of hidden information, the relationship between outcomes and decisions are very, very loosely linked, right. So anytime there's a lot of volatility, you know that you can have a good outcome from a very bad decision process like I did. You can have a bad outcome from a very good decision process. You can also have a good outcome from a good decision process and a bad outcome from a bad decision process. But we know that all four cells get filled. So this is actually the big problem. This is what attracted me to poker so much in the first place is all you have is the outcome you know, you won or lost, how do you work backwards from that in order to figure out whether the decision process was good or bad. And what we tend to do as human beings when we're observing other people from afar is we do something called resulting, which is we actually create an incredibly tight link between the quality of the outcome and the quality of the decision. So what we say is if somebody loses a trade, they must have made a bad trade. If somebody wins a trade, they must've made a good trade. If somebody loses at poker, they must be a bad poker player. If somebody wins a poker, they must be a good poker player. This is when you're not evaluating decisions for yourself. You do something a little different when you're doing it for yourself, but this is when you're sort of looking at other people's outcomes and trying to figure that out. Now the thing is, in a game like chess, that's really reasonable. If we take the volatility out and the hidden information out, you can see that that's a reasonable strategy. If I lose a game of chess to you, it means you played better than I did and we know that, if I win a game of chess against you, it means that I played better than you and we know that. So we can actually take the outcome of the game and we can work backwards, but you can't do that in life. You can't do that in trading. You can't do that in poker. You can't do that in figuring out anything about, for example, someone's driving quality, right. Like I can run a green light and get in an accident. I can run a red light and get through just fine, not even get a ticket, so pretty much everything is like this. So this actually creates a really big problem because we tend to actually be resulters, we tend to really rely on the outcome quality and we do it so much it casts such a big cognitive shadow over us that just knowing the outcome actually distorts the way that we evaluate the decision. So if I went to one group of people and I said, hey, I made this trade, and then I told them I won to it and then asked them to evaluate my decision process I'd get a very different answer about the quality of that decision than if I went to another group of people and I said, hey, I made this trade and I lost to it. What do you think of my decision quality. And they're going to give me a different answer. So it actually creates quite a puzzle because even if you're trying not to do it, even if you're trying to dig down into decision quality, once you know the outcome, it actually distorts your ability to be able to actually evaluate the decision quality rationally.

Michael McCarthy: So we're easily fooled by randomness.

Annie Duke: Yes. Well there you go. Yes. To quote the title of a book exactly.

Michael McCarthy: Yes, yes great book by the way.

Annie Duke: Yes, yes.

Michael McCarthy: Nassim Taleb isn't it.

Annie Duke: Yes, yes.

Michael McCarthy: Yes. So what can traders learn from poker about risk and risk management?

Annie Duke: We want to make sure that we don't think we're winning when we're actually losing. So this comes down to that idea of decision quality. How do we dig down into the quality of the decision. Because we can talk about all sorts of stuff about bankroll management and are you betting full Kelly, are you betting half Kelly, are you betting quarter Kelly. You know, and we can have that discussion. But if you actually haven't assessed what your edge is properly, you're dead, right. Then it doesn't matter, because if you're betting quarter Kelly on a losing bet, you're just going to lose your money slower than if you're betting full Kelly. Right. And what we really want to get down to is that problem of how much are we able to fool ourselves that we're winning when we're actually not. It becomes so much part of our identity and the sort of positive narrative that we want to create about ourselves, that we're smart and we do have edge, that we're very willing to say when things go well and we win, that it's because we're very good decision makers and when things go poorly and we lose that it's because of bad luck. It's because stuff we couldn't anticipate. Things we couldn't have known. It just didn't go away. I know I was a favourite, but I'm not going to win every time, you know, wasn't my fault. So that, that I think is the thing to learn from poker because this is what's happening all the time. You win, you lose, you know, how do you work backwards to that. And I think that you have to be incredibly disciplined to get down into decision quality, and I think that part of it comes from actually a clue for what I just told you, this hand that I one where I was horrified and went and ran over to Erik Seidel and said, I can't believe I did this. Like please help me. That I think that too often the signal for us to go in and look at our decision quality is actually if we have an unexpected loss and that tends to be what we go and look at. And when we're sort of digging into that, I think we tend to overvalue luck, but even if we don't, we tend to be asking ourselves the question of, could I have done better. Could I have lost less. Is there some way that I could have won. But in reality, first of all, we want to think about expectation as neutral to wins and losses. So we want to look at unexpected wins equally to unexpected losses. And you should actually have both of those, right. That you should actually be evenly divided across unexpected wins and unexpected losses. So just make the unexpected part, the thing that you look at, because when we have unexpected wins, what do we tend to do. Woah that was awesome. I'm way better than I thought I was done. So you want to look at both sides of the equation number one, because you have to do that in poker. You have to, when you have a hand that you win it shouldn't matter, you want to still look at the decision quality. And then the other question that you want to be asking yourself, which I don't think comes naturally to us, is that we want to be neutral as to direction. We want to both ask ourselves like if we lose, is there a way that I could have lost less, but also had I made better decisions, maybe I was supposed to lose more, right. Maybe I didn't bet big enough on this. Maybe it turns out that my edge was so large that I actually under bet the situation. So had I made a better decision about my position sizing that I would have actually lost more than I did. Same thing on the win side, if we have an unexpected win, maybe the answer is a better decision process would have caused me to actually win less. So when we tend to ask if we do ever look at wins, which is rare, we ask could I have won more. So we want to think about being neutral as to wins and losses and just think about things that are unexpected, and then we want to be neutral as to direction. We want to think about both upward and downward movement if we had a better decision process and we want to examine both equally. And what I think that that does is it causes us to train our minds to be outcome-neutral. That it's not about the quality of the outcome, it's about the unexpectedness of the outcome. That's what you care about. And I really attribute that to Erik Seidel and my brother and these people really trying to get me to start thinking about, stop telling me about the hands you lost because I know you had to make mistakes in the hands you won also. So start telling me about some of those.

Michael McCarthy: That's a good point. And that has obviously and clear parallels with trading. As a trader often we examined our behaviour when we take a hit, but as a manager of traders I've found that there were two times of extreme danger and the other time that a trader was in real danger was after a big win. Is it the same for poker players after a tournament?

Annie Duke: Oh my gosh, completely right. That we think that we have a bigger edge than we actually do. So when we come off of a big win, particularly a big winning streak where it could just be that you flipped heads five times in a row which happens, right. That people start to really miss-evaluate what their EV is, what their expected value is, and now all of a sudden, you know, they're betting a lot more because they think their expected value is a lot higher than it actually is. And that comes from the winning side where you'll see people become too risky. And then likewise, you have to really watch after a loss. Two things can happen. If it's one isolated, really big loss, you can have someone trying to get even on one trade, so you've got to really watch out for that. But the other thing you have to watch out for, if someone has just taken a series of losses, you'll get the opposite effect on the wins where, that just losing is so painful that they'll actually reduce their volatility in order to try to make it so they can't lose too much. You know, they're just sort of trying to minimise the maximum loss, which in a way that's actually going to minimise the maximum win also. And so they're going to actually become really super risk averse if they've come off a series of losses. So again, you want to sort of look at both sides and understand that there's danger in both.

Michael McCarthy: So what's going on in the brain when this decision-making process is playing out?

Annie Duke: So when we're engaging the prefrontal cortex, and this kind of gives us a hint to how do we kind of get over this emotional situation that we get in when we've had something big happened to us, whether it's a winner loss, is that the part of the brain that you engage when you're actually making very deliberative choices. When you're doing post-mortems for example, when you're really trying to deconstruct a decision, when you're trying to do really deep analysis, that actually inhibits the part of the brain that's involved in emotion. So what's really interesting is that one of the best ways to get yourself to calm down when you feel like you're in an emotional state is to start analysing something, to start thinking about the decision, to start going through not the elements of luck, but actually asking yourself, what are the things that I did. What are the things that I contributed to. What are the ways that I could have changed it. How might I have been wrong in the things that I was thinking. And when you start to do that, you're engaging that part of your brain that actually inhibits the emotional centre, and so it calms you down, right. Like if you're doing really complex math problems you're probably not angry, for example, I mean, unless you can't get an answer for a while and you get frustrated, but assuming you're doing math that you can solve, there's not a lot of, you don't feel a lot of emotion as you're doing it, right. And if you're really emotional, it's going to stop you from being able to do the math because it's going to shut the front part of your brain down. So the more you can engage that part of your brain, the better off you are.

Michael McCarthy: In this podcast series, we talk a lot about emotions. Some traders and professional poker players try and suppress it. Others try to understand it and go with it and use it in their trading. What you're saying earlier about turning on the analysis section of your brain when you're churned up, suggests that you might lean towards suppressing emotion in your play. Is that a fair reflection?

Annie Duke: I think that I would, actually I'm probably interpolating between the two. So let me answer it in two ways. The first is that I'm using the signals that I'm feeling really emotional to trigger an analysis. So when I start to feel my heart racing and my cheeks flushing and there are certain ideas that start running through my head, you know, like, this is so unfair why do these things always happen to me. You know, I can't believe that, you know, all that internal monologue that happens, that I've actually written those things down. And so I'm very aware that those are bad cues for me that probably I'm getting really emotional. And so I actually use those as cues to trigger an analysis problem. So I use it to my advantage to get into the front part of my brain so that I can start looking at the things that are useful in trying to, to help the decision along. So in that sense, I think that I'm kind of like going with both. And then the other thing is that, I'm trying to rethink what's supposed to make me emotional. Now normally the emotion that you're getting that might trigger you to go in and look at process is going to come from the downside, right. It's going to come from unexpected losses. Now I try to actually have as much emotion from unexpected wins. I try to sort of, I don't by the way because I'm a human being, but I do try to say like when I win in an unexpected way that that should be also upsetting to me and that should trigger some emotion that's going to cause me to go in and look at the results as well, because it should be about how good am I at forecasting, right. Like that's what I should really care about. And so forecasting poorly on the upside should be equally upsetting to me. Again, it's not, these are goals like I have these goals, so in that way I use the emotion to trigger going in and doing some work on process or seeing if I need to do work on process.

Michael McCarthy: So, you now consult to corporates to business professional groups, finance companies, traders on decision making science and decision fitness. What do you tell them. What are they seeking from you?

Annie Duke: So I kind of do two things. The first is I really work on how do you create really good culture around decision making. So how do you make it so that, there are dissenting voices, how do you make sure that those dissenting voices get wrapped into the decision process that they feel like they're heard. And the thing is that in some ways the dissenting voices are actually the most important team players because we all know why we're right, right. We need somebody around to tell us why we might be wrong. So how do you create that. How do you make them feel valued and how do you make sure that they're feeling like they're able to express those alternative views, those different perspectives. So for example, if we're overly outcome dependent, what that means is very often that you're going to have people who aren't going to be making necessarily the highest expected value decisions, right. They're going to be making decisions just to get you to not be mad at them if there's any downside, right. So you're going to get a lot of false consensuses, for example, because that's a way to avoid getting yelled at for the downside. Well everybody in the room agreed with me for example, right. So I really consult on like how do you create that kind of culture that sort of prevents that kind of behaviour, that kind of thinking, that kind of decision making and makes the dissent really part of the process because it's so incredibly valuable. Being a team player doesn't mean just agreeing with everybody in the room and they don't understand that someone in their head might be thinking, no, I don't think this is a good idea, but they don't feel free to speak up and it's just so bad for what happens to your decision making within the culture that you're working in.

Michael McCarthy: That sounds like a great note to finish on Annie thank you very much for your time today. It was fascinating.

Annie Duke: Well, thank you. This was a lot of fun.

Michael McCarthy: That was Annie Duke speaking to us from Long Island, New Jersey. For more information about Annie go to her website, see the show notes for her link. For previous episodes of The Artful Trader, and more information about CMC markets head to our website, theartfultraderpodcast.com where new and existing clients can also access some limited time offers, or listen to The Artful Trader on your favourite podcast app. The Artful Trader is an original podcast series by CMC markets, a global leader in online trading. The information in this podcast is general in nature and does not speak to your personal financial situation. I'm Michael McCarthy thanks for listening. This is The Artful Trader.

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