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Thinking in Bets - Annie Duke


Liberty
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I haven't read it yet, but it's in the pile, and I've heard good things about it.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Bets-Making-Smarter-Decisions-ebook/dp/B074DG9LQF/

 

Background on the author:

 

Annie Duke is a World Series of Poker bracelet winner, the winner of the 2004 Tournament of Champions and the only woman to win the NBC National Poker Heads Up Championship. Now, as a professional speaker and decision strategist, she merges her poker expertise with her cognitive psychology graduate work at UPenn.

 

If anyone here has read it, please let us know what you think.

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Haven't read it yet either, but she was on Ted Siedes' podcast and the Behind the Markets Podcast (J. Schwartz with Wes Grey as guest host/the guy who booked her).

 

Sounds like it might fit nicely into an "intro to behavioral finance/probabilistic thinking for those who don't want to get into the full blown weeds of Thinking Fast and Slow" category.  I was thinking it might be a good holiday gift for people.

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One should be weary when reading and/or seeking advice from crooks.

 

For more detail you can look up Duke's involvement with Ultimate Bet and Epic Poker League as well as a her brother's involvement with Full Tilt.

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Guest notorious546

One should be weary when reading and/or seeking advice from crooks.

 

For more detail you can look up Duke's involvement with Ultimate Bet and Epic Poker League as well as a her brother's involvement with Full Tilt.

 

https://calvinayre.com/2013/05/25/poker/annie-duke-statement-reaction-to-ultimate-bet-cheating-tapes/

 

http://www.bankrollmob.com/poker-news/2012925/player-had-leave-tournament-after-questioning-annie-duke-over-epic-poker-scandal

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Thinking in Bets is excellent.  I am quite familiar with the literature and still I found the book very worthwhile. If you don't know behavioral psych and econ, then this is a good applied introduction.  For many the behavioral literature is too theoretical and many find it difficult to apply.

 

She certainly has the theory down, as she was a PHD student (in decision sciences or related field).

 

Even if you know the literature, the practical tips in the book are valuable.

 

This will undoubtedly be one of my favorite books 2018.

 

Buy the book, he said as he pounded the table!! 8)

(I can't speak to the controversy alluded to above, but even if she were sitting in a jail cell next to Bernie Madoff, I would still recommend the book.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for recommending.

 

I´m reading it and it is a great book.  :)

Munger said one should think like a poker player, so it´s very useful.

On pages 191-194 she mentions Berkshire Hathaway and that as

a shareholder who makes a long-term investment it´s not productive

to have a short-term focus on the price chart or as Buffett once said:

"Don´t stare at the charts."

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Thank you for the idea.

Here's a review that seems to get the gist of the book:

A Gambler's Education

https://www.wsj.com/articles/review-a-gamblers-education-1519169357

or

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/print/WSJ_-A015-20180221.pdf

 

"Ms. Duke counsels us to seek strength in numbers, forming "truthseeking" cohorts committed to challenging self-serving narratives and critically interrogating the beliefs behind our decisions."

 

Investing, like poker, is basically an individual exercise in terms of decision making.

Learning (from others) seems to open up opportunities. Hope it goes both ways.

 

The suggestion made it to the to-read list.

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Hey all:

 

Poker is certainly interesting and is sometimes an enjoyable game.

 

I do not know the specifics of Annie Dukes situation...but I would caution people about taking advice from "poker professionals".

 

Many of those "professionals" are simply broke, degenerate gamblers.  They may win $5 million playing in a big tournament where they win or place highly....but they've lost $6 million trying to get there and or playing in cash games.

 

Obviously not all of them are broke/degenerates, but a surprising number are!

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I do not know the specifics of Annie Dukes situation...but I would caution people about taking advice from "poker professionals".

Think that's too general. Yes, don't take advice from people who are actually bad at what they preach (a lot of the business books they sell at airports). The poker players I know are actually quite rational and could be quite good investors / businessfolk. 

 

There's some pretty negative stuff online about Annie Duke's involvement in some poker related businesses. Whether or not true, I don't know, but she doesn't seem to be held in high regard in the poker community. So maybe in this case you're taking advice from the wrong person.

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Wasn't a huge fan.  Having read a lot on decision making lately (particularly Tetlock, and some stuff on Shannon/Thorp/Kelly), I didn't feel like it had that much new in it.

 

That said, as an introduction, it would probably cover a lot of ground in a very accessible manner, and it was also entertaining.

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Guest notorious546

Wasn't a huge fan.  Having read a lot on decision making lately (particularly Tetlock, and some stuff on Shannon/Thorp/Kelly), I didn't feel like it had that much new in it.

 

That said, as an introduction, it would probably cover a lot of ground in a very accessible manner, and it was also entertaining.

 

there seems to be this sort of trend lately in many books. repeat what others have said in more defining game changing works somehow do a lot of podcast interviews and publicity type things. drive book sales

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Wasn't a huge fan.  Having read a lot on decision making lately (particularly Tetlock, and some stuff on Shannon/Thorp/Kelly), I didn't feel like it had that much new in it.

 

That said, as an introduction, it would probably cover a lot of ground in a very accessible manner, and it was also entertaining.

 

there seems to be this sort of trend lately in many books. repeat what others have said in more defining game changing works somehow do a lot of podcast interviews and publicity type things. drive book sales

 

Most investment books are derivative too. I think it's just a symptom of being well read. When you start out on your learning journey, everything seems fresh and original. When you've been reading about investing/psychology/etc for a decade or two, everything starts to seem similar.

 

I guess if everything was groundbreaking, it wouldn't be so notable to find true groundbreaking work...

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Wasn't a huge fan.  Having read a lot on decision making lately (particularly Tetlock, and some stuff on Shannon/Thorp/Kelly), I didn't feel like it had that much new in it.

 

That said, as an introduction, it would probably cover a lot of ground in a very accessible manner, and it was also entertaining.

 

there seems to be this sort of trend lately in many books. repeat what others have said in more defining game changing works somehow do a lot of podcast interviews and publicity type things. drive book sales

 

Most investment books are derivative too. I think it's just a symptom of being well read. When you start out on your learning journey, everything seems fresh and original. When you've been reading about investing/psychology/etc for a decade or two, everything starts to seem similar.

 

I guess if everything was groundbreaking, it wouldn't be so notable to find true groundbreaking work...

 

Well said!

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I recommend the book too.  If you're already familiar with the Kelly criterion for bet sizing, this is very basic but still entertaining.  Howard Marks and Nassim Taleb have talked about decision making and probabilities--how you can't determine if it was a good decision by looking at the outcome, only by looking at the process--but this is a book solely on that decision making process.  I think people will get a lot out of it because besides just announcing the theory she gives you some practical advice on how to apply it to your own decision making process. 

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Would you say this could serve as an approachable "gateway book" to like the Kahneman and Tversky, et. al. work on cognitive errors and system 1 versus system 2 thinking, etc..?   

 

She references Kahneman a little.  It is absolutely approachable and there isn't much science to the text itself.  It is not a "dense" read, so you can think about the concepts she introduces during the plethora of anecdotes subsequently put forth.

 

One detracting item is that the book felt repetitive to me (but I am no expert in cognitive psychology and maybe I just missed the difference between some concepts).

 

 

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Wasn't a huge fan.  Having read a lot on decision making lately (particularly Tetlock, and some stuff on Shannon/Thorp/Kelly), I didn't feel like it had that much new in it.

 

That said, as an introduction, it would probably cover a lot of ground in a very accessible manner, and it was also entertaining.

 

there seems to be this sort of trend lately in many books. repeat what others have said in more defining game changing works somehow do a lot of podcast interviews and publicity type things. drive book sales

 

The main idea is a powerful one: To review your ideas and commitment process more often than you do.

 

"Wanna bet" is her way of saying that when you are stating a point or thinking about something you should be as sure as to bet on your word.

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Loved hearing her on a podcast recently. Great idea to put numbers on things to discriminate between what one person thinks "probably" means and what another person thinks "probably" means. Will "probably" (:P) pick up the book soon.

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  • 3 months later...

Would you say this could serve as an approachable "gateway book" to like the Kahneman and Tversky, et. al. work on cognitive errors and system 1 versus system 2 thinking, etc..?   

 

She references Kahneman a little.  It is absolutely approachable and there isn't much science to the text itself.  It is not a "dense" read, so you can think about the concepts she introduces during the plethora of anecdotes subsequently put forth.

 

One detracting item is that the book felt repetitive to me (but I am no expert in cognitive psychology and maybe I just missed the difference between some concepts).

 

I read the book on a flight.

It felt like a short book. I wonder if it would look short if I had a paper copy. I think e-book publishing encourages writing shortish lightweight books and charging full price for them. And even with that it felt repetitive.

 

On the positive side, there are couple insights usable in life. If you want to use "thinking in bets" in investing, I think you are better off with Kelly's, since it's essentially the same thing and yet more quantitative. (If you don't quantify, then your "bet" is not really a bet  8) ). The other insights are not really her's, but I'm fine with her providing them even if they did not originate from her. Overall, the endnotes and bibliography is very extensive, which is a plus if you want to follow up on something she wrote.

 

I'd say it's 6/10. Probably worth getting on a cheap and going through fast.

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