Deciding (when you can’t see a thing)
Winners in poker aren’t the players with the best hand, but people who best adapt to the hazards of chance and their opponents’ bluffs. In today’s uncertain environment, a few poker lessons may be your best guide.
Maria Konnikova, a journalist and psychology graduate from Columbia University, set herself a special challenge in 2016: to learn how to play poker so she could explore decision-making processes in a context where nothing is certain. And her bet paid off: two years later Konnikova had won a major professional poker tournament, hundreds of thousands of dollars and demonstrated that the strategies of the top poker players can be used to optimize the choices we make in volatile environments.
As mathematician John von Neumann, the author of Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, once noted, poker reflects the complexity of life. Unlike Russian roulette, poker isn’t about pure chance: mathematical logic plays a role. Unlike chess, however, poker cannot be modeled by an algorithm: the bluffing aspect – the human, psychological dimension – plays a decisive role. This means that the player holding the best hand wins only 12 percent of the time.
Having good cards isn’t enough in itself: it’s the best strategist who wins, even with a poor hand. Maybe you don’t hold all the cards but still want to increase your chances of winning? Then watch the poker pros closely.
Find out what is really in your control
Excerpt from Business Digest N°309, September 2020
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