Annie Duke is on the podcast for the second time. She is a poker player, author, decision making expert, and cognitive scientist. Her understanding of how luck, skill and uncertainty all play a role in life is fascinating.
Donald Trump has made some unusual cabinet choices, especially for getting elected by such a small margin. Annie breaks down her perspective on why Trump chose the way he did. One of the hardest people to play against is someone playing aggressively across the board, such as Trump. She relates Trump’s aggressive political playing to poker, giving insights as to how Trump opposition might be playing their cards to beat him.
Annie moves on to decipher luck and skill in decision making and outcomes. Black and white thinking can be harmful. Decisions that don’t go your way are not always the wrong choice. You may have taken the right direction, the cards just didn’t fall in your favor. You need to be able to move on and know that another chance is around the corner. Fixating on decisions that were wrong can easily start to snowball and make things personal. The key is to learn to move on from one hand dealt to another quickly because life won’t pause for anyone. Take the time to reflect later, but don’t get caught up in the moment and dwell on what mistakes you may, or may not have made.
The world of poker is a male driven sport. Focusing her purpose on winning the game rather than getting people at the table to like her enabled her to get over discrimination and actually use it to her advantage. Not caring about the approval of peers instantly gives the person being discriminated against the upper hand. Once you view something as a challenge rather than adversity you become a stronger person and begin creating a positive narrative for that situation and your life. Shying away from adversity is a way of giving up on yourself and falling victim. Facing adversity as a challenge provides self power and confidence.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Quality of outcome vs Quality of your decision
Game theory and math
Applying poker decision making to life decision making
There are many correlations between trading and poker. Consider this excerpt from my best selling, Trend Following:
In the book Absolute Returns, Alexander Ineichen stresses that trading is a “game.” He sees no rules for the game except the constant of change, but more importantly, he reminds us that it is crucial to avoid becoming the “game.” There are three types of players in the game:
• Those who know they are in the game.
• Those who don’t know they are in the game.
• Those who don’t know they are in the game and have become the game.
If, within a half of an hour of playing poker (or trading for that matter), you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy, or as Ineichen calls it “the game.” I have introduced those traders who didn’t know they were in the game and therefore became the game in the big events of the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund implosion, the Barings Bank collapse, and the October 2008 market crash. I introduced those traders and investors who did not know they were in the game pursuing Holy Grails that never panned out. And I introduced trend followers who knew they were in a game and brought an edge to the table every time they played. If you know trading is a game and you want to be a part of it, these are stark choices.
Recently I had Annie Duke on my podcast. She is an author, entrepreneur and professional poker player. We discussed several ways in which the psychology of gambling overlaps with that of trading, investment and other aspects of business. The following is brief feedback from that interview:
Always make sure you are a player in the game whether it be sports, business, or just life. Never let yourself be the one being played. Below is a chapter taken from Trend Commandments:
You can make your first million—and that is the hard number. Anyone can do it. Of course, billions, and degrees of billions, require some luck. However, an educated person, no matter how they get their education, can indeed saddle up to their iPad and make a small fortune. To say otherwise is disingenuous.
The world has changed. The game is different. If you are sitting around waiting for a job to magically appear, or if you are listening to talking heads rambling on about politicians creating jobs, or worse yet, you think China is the enemy to your wealth creation, it has to be asked: “Are you a masochist?”
There is another game to play. Trend following trading is that game, but it is terribly important to avoid becoming the game—a game I have explained in a multitude of ways. So think about the three types of players in any game:
Those who know they are in the game.
Those who do not know they are in the game.
Those who do not know they are in the game and have become the game.
Within a half hour of playing any game, if you do not know the patsy, you are it. Said another way: You are the game. That is serious talk for the serious game of your financial health and wealth.
Michael Covel talks with trader and author Richard Weissman. Weissman is a professional trader with over 25 years of experience. His most recent book is “Trade Like a Casino: Find Your Edge, Manage Risk, and Win Like the House“. Weissman considers himself a “swing trader”, and he and Covel compare this approach to that of a trend following trader. Covel and Weissman have some contrasts in their techniques, including Weissman’s use of fundamentals in his trading, and they work out their differences along the way. However, regardless of the name they give to their individual trading styles, Covel and Weissman have plenty of commonalities and they discuss some classic precepts that are important to the foundational philosophy of any good trader. The two explore Weissman’s path from how he started trading with his father in 1987 to how he made his way to where he is today. Further topics include the background to Weissman naming his book “Trade Like a Casino”, and how Casinos and the gaming industry are the models for successful speculative trading; the influence of Jack Schwager’s work; risk management; positive expectancy; how Weissman defines trends and signs of strength; the idea of “don’t anticipate, just participate”; positive expectancy and the probability skew; the connection between table limits and risk management; how there are no truly “safe investments”; some tools that Weissman has used to influence his own trading psychology and smooth out the emotional highs and lows; not letting a high price stop you from buying, and not letting a low price stop you from selling; Weissman’s concept of “the opaque urn”; and the three things you can guarantee. Weissman and Covel also go over some of Weissman’s great one-liners: “don’t tug at green shoots” and “trade the market, not the money”.
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