Pro Decision-Making

From an international poker champion, a course by Liz Boeree.

Liv Boeree

Liv Boeree

Science Broadcaster & Poker Champion

Pro Decision-Making
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

Liv Boeree, International Poker Champion, knows that our brains are imperfect decision-making tools. High-stakes poker is decision-making distilled to its essence. As such, if you know what you’re seeing, it’s a masterclass in the powers and perils of human reasoning. Sunk cost, status quo, and confirmation bias are common cognitive bias for decision-making. She also shares how to truly achieve mastery: surround yourself with a peer group of better players and submit your plays to their scrutiny. This means revisiting your mistakes, but also reviewing your successes, asking whether there was a possible better play.


You Will Learn

How to quickly make high-stake decisions 

How to avoid biases in decision-making 

How to read body language


This image was originally posted by Gene Bromberg and the image has been changed. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en

Episodes

6 Episodes

1. Abandon Sunk Costs

2min

We know that our brains are imperfect decision-making tools. One of the most common cognitive biases, the sunk cost fallacy, is essential to understand for anyone at the poker table or in business of any kind.The Sunk Cost Fallacy: Making a decision based on previously invested resources rather than future desired outcomes.If new information invalidates your planned course of action, stop yourself.No matter how much time, money or effort you’ve invested to this point, ignore past decisions.You’re in an entirely new situation. Re-evaluate, taking all the information you now have into account.

2. Achieve Mastery through Humility

2min

The word “mastery” is a bit intimidating, isn’t it? It suggests a state of unwavering perfection, and conceals how the sausage is made.As it turns out, the sausage is made with humility. Liv Boeree learned this in one of the most competitive arenas of all—professional poker. In that crucible of confidence, the only way to achieve mastery is by surrounding yourself with a peer group of better players and submitting your plays to their scrutiny. This means revisiting your mistakes, but also reviewing your successes, asking whether there was a possible better play.Mix hands-on experience with continuous learning.Establish a peer group of people who excel at your craft. Seek advice by asking tough questions. For example, Can you tell me where I went wrong?Listen and be humble. Implement their feedback in your next attempt.As you improve and gain confidence, beware overconfidence. Keep seeking feedback from your peer group.

3. Three Common Cognitive Pitfalls in Decision-Making

6min

High-stakes poker is decision-making distilled to its essence. As such, if you know what you’re seeing, it’s a masterclass in the powers and perils of human reasoning.Confirmation Bias: The tendency to overvalue evidence that confirms one’s existing beliefs and undervalue evidence that contradicts those beliefsEvaluate your thought process. Ask: Am I looking for signs that prove what I want to believe? Am I dismissing signs that disprove what I want to believe?Search for contrary evidence tha...

4. Check Your Desire to Confirm What You Want to Believe

2min

We know that our brains are imperfect decision-making tools. One of the most common cognitive biases, confirmation bias, is essential to understand for anyone at the poker table or in business of any kind.Confirmation Bias: The tendency to overvalue evidence that confirms one’s existing beliefs and undervalue evidence that contradicts those beliefsEvaluate your thought process. Ask: Am I looking for signs that prove what I want to believe? Am I dismissing signs that disprove what I want to believe?Search for contrary evidence that challenges your intuition. This will give you a more accurate perspective.

5. Read Body Language Like a Poker Pro

4min

If you’ve seen any movie or TV show about poker, you’ve heard of a “tell”. A tell is a habit or bodily action that gives something away, most often that the person is bluffing. Body language is very real, and because it’s typically unconsciously motivated, learning to read it can give you a distinct advantage in communicating with others.Determine a person’s baselineNotice how the person naturally behaves. How do they interact with others? Are they gregarious and confident? Quiet and shy? How do they sit? Are they rigid and closed off? Loose and open?Look for deviationsObserve the person’s comfort level. Do they seem authentic in their behavior? Are they communicating something disingenuous, like false confidence?Focus on the body, not the facePeople who are trying to be dishonest are often aware of their face. They may not be aware of the rest of their body.The lower down on the body, the more reliable the information.Notice the person’s feet. Do they tell a different story...

6. Use Intuition as a Last Resort: A Case Study in Decision-Making from a Poker Champion

3min

“Trust your instincts!” “Go with your gut!” These popular nuggets of advice appeal to something deep in our nature—a distaste for unresolved complexity. We want solutions, and we want them fast. The trouble is that, with the possible exception of what to do when attacked by a tiger, our brains are notoriously bad at making quick decisions.Kahneman and Tversky called our gut instincts “system 1 thinking” and our slower, rational thought processes “system 2”. It’s not that system 1 is al...

Recommended for you