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A $10k poker win changed how I think (bbc.com)
263 points by cjg 86 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 116 comments



she anwers the title question in the last paragraph: "curiosity is everything, losing is a part of playing, and our opponents in life are less important than the choices we make ourselves." I don't know why I expected more, guess I'm still prone to clickbait. Nonetheless, her story is interesting anyway. But she doesn't answer the real leading question of her story, which was whether she won against the misogynistic‎ Dan B. (quick google search didn't help me with that..).

Actually, the best advice in the article is in the middle: "don’t play when tired, stressed or distracted."


Dan B isn't a poker player, he's an instagram influencer who is most likely just laundering his father's money into legitimacy. There won't be a match.


Being not from the US, when I first heard about Blizerian and did a quick search on him, it kind of became clear that his fortune came from the money his father stole and that the poker story is total BS. But my question is why is the SEC/FBI letting it slide? Too much time has passed?


Obviously, they don't have a solid case against the father.

In general, the FBI doesn't let criminals just slide when the scumbags steal a bunch of money and then launder it in the open if they have enough hard evidence to convict them.


They had a great case against Paul Bilzerian - he was convicted and the government got a $60+ million judgment against him. It seems he is just exceptionally good at hiding his money during the bankruptcy processes.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bilzerian


In a linked article it’s mentioned that the son’s money is from a trust, so I wonder if there’s some kind of loophole like the Florida principal residence exception.


They should have debtor’s prison at some point. Obviously going bankrupt from medical debt should not send you to prison but running a $60 million fraud should.


It's funny how death sentence exists in some countries, but I've never heard of a total property nullification sentence anywhere. The tools are right there, it would just be plain old bankruptcy (with all its known loopholes and weaknesses) preceded by an "infinite fine". Historical societies had banishment which I suppose was similar in effect, "you may live but that's it".

But "we take every amount of money of which we can prove beyond doubt that it was illegitimately acquired" is like trying to deal with theft by forcing the thief to give back the goods when caught and nothing more.


Exactly. A convicted megafraudster should be living in a studio apartment eating Hamburger Helper and driving a 2005 Kia.


> They should have debtor’s prison at some point. Obviously going bankrupt from medical debt should not send you to prison but running a $60 million fraud should.

Humans are creative; at that point money will be laundered through various overbilled (or even outright fabricated) medical procedures, paid for in cash.


Just because something will be fought doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.


I did not mean to imply that it must not be tried :-/

We frequently don't catch murderers; this does not mean we should not investigate new methods of catching them.


Money his father hasn't paid to the government 30 years ago?

You really think they couldnt think of anything lucrative over the last 30 years with completely new and separate money?

People that understand capital markets dont just have 1 lucrative idea their whole life.

The 2014 service providing in St Kitts and Nevis and parlaying that into Bitcoin and Ether would easily have earned them billions by now on its own. So it is impossible to assume anything.


You are referring to the $62 million judgement from 30 years ago that the government had issues collecting due to the bankruptcy and trusts?

Hm

My thoughts on that are “hostile corporate takeovers” are completely drama free “Mergers & Acquisitions” now, compared to when they were novel in the 1980s, they perturb no-one and nowadays founders do not start acquirable companies to get married to their company, they start companies to sell the shares they created at a cost basis of $0.00 for billions of dollars. So that specific money would have never had zealous prosecutors looking, and subsequent Supreme Court cases would have made the whole judgement invalid, if there was any due process path remaining for addressing old judgements. But okay, I can play along with the idea that he owes the government what is asked. Which moves me to my next point:

You dont think billions of new money could have been made over the last 30 years that had nothing to do with the 1980s M&A activity?

People that understand capital markets don't just have 1 idea lucrative their whole life.

Its odd to assume its related money, forever.


One factor here may be that due to Sarbanes-Oxley companies aren’t IPOing at small market caps anymore.


Sadly, and they should go public earlier.

I’m not sure how that dictates the change in founder behavior. Unless you mean that it self selects for moonshot founders who don't conflate their business and passions - or founders that form businesses for exits, than the business.

Do you think if smaller companies were publicly traded more often that there would be headline grabbing poison pill discussions? Small companies getting tricked into buying up their own shares at a premium to fend off a large shareholder’s takeover bid - and people calling the large shareholder’s failed takeover a trick, theft, controversial at all?

I really just think the culture has changed and all of this has been normalized. Nobody is incorporating in irrelevant states anymore for protections against takeovers, the entire universe of eligible businesses is in Delaware now.

So many things are different in the minds of individual humans involved that none of this would be controversial.


The culture may have changed, but the way I meant was first, with small IPOs is that the founders may expect exponential growth post-IPO, and that gets cut short, and second, it’s much easier to hostile takeover small companies. Whether it’s Amazon or Dunkin Donuts. Instead the company’s older, founders are more tired, the payout’s higher, and (I assume) being more expensive, they’re less common.

I would guess companies now keep voting power among insiders after IPO with special share classes instead of incorporating in odd states, if they’re inclined to avoid a takeover.

When it comes to the modern day version of this sort of drama, the first thing that comes to mind is pre-exit startup founders losing control. That’s still a thing.


A friend of mine, who played poker was very strict about only playing friday and staurday evenings, when a lot of opponents would be pre partying and drunk. He won a lot.


I used to play professionally and played weekends religiously as well. On a less serious note I especially loved playing on Friday 13th as I'm not superstitious and would rake in everything from the "unlucky" players.


His name is all over the article. Why are you referring to him as Dan B. ?


Because Dan B doesn’t deserve more publicity. That’s what he wants. The news organization has a duty to publish his name so we know the facts, but we have no obligation to increase an influencer’s reach.


I guess they've never heard of the Streisand effect, and caused many people, including me, to google "Dan B" to understand who they were talking about.

I probably would have skipped over and forgot after half a second the existence of this person if his name was written in full in the first place.


So… you admit to not reading the article.


actually, it was simply because I didn't want to write the name wrong :)


Hahaha. That is actually very funny.


Dan Bilzerian?


Don't know if it's been edited since you posted, but at the end of the article, second to last paragraph:

> If this was a fictional sports movie, this story would end with a blow-by-blow account of my match against Bilzerian. You'd see me struggle, battle and beat him, despite the odds, then the credits would roll.


a subtext of that advice, don't play too big

you don't feel curious if you bet your house on a poker game, but 50 bucks you get to enjoy the downfall


Risk management is the most important life skill, with rhetoric (persuasion) being a close second. If your risk management is sound then you can play as much poker or options trading or futures or any other hairbrained dipsy-doodle you like. But if your risk management isn't sound then you can still lose everything in a game (broadly construed) with an edge < 1 in your favor.


do you have suggestions on books or others ?


The Kelly criterion[1] is a good starting point. When it was run as an experiment, a game with a .6 player edge had 28% of players go bust.

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_criterion


And just to add:

> If the bettors had followed the Kelly bet, 94% of the participants would have been expected to reached the cap [of $250 after starting from $25]


"Skin in the Game" by Nassim Taleb


>> . But she doesn't answer the real leading question of her story, which was whether she won against the misogynistic‎ Dan B.

If you care weather she won or lost that match, you haven't really internalized the lessons yet.


Well then, can you at least care if she played all of her hands perfectly and won "in spirit"?

And I think its safe to say that when a women is playing against a misogynic douche like this guy seems to be in spades no less, that she actually does want to take as much money from him and crush his ego.


They seem to have internalized the major lesson that "curiosity is everything," and (if the duel has happened) by not mentioning if she won is ignoring the lesson that "losing is a part of playing."


no, "losing is part of the fun". i learned that from nethack.


Almost certainly Dan Bilzerian. But that shouldn't even be particularly special, because he is a rich guy who plays poker, not a guy who got rich playing poker. (his dad is corporate takeover specialist/criminal Paul Bilzerian)


To disambiguate, the question is who won, not who Dan is.


I believe he is a rich guy playing poker with other rich guys who play even worse so he's still made some money from it. That was at least the word in high-stakes poker circles back then.


I thought it was an open secret that he laundered money his father embezzled via poker.


a bit more context for those that don't know the story (I didn't, and i'm into poker.)

( I don't know the info host nor their credibility, was just the top-most answer on google for 'Dan Bilzerian laundering')

https://easy.poker/dan-bilzerian/


Most famously known as that dude who had the gal to ask a police officer for a gun during the Las Vegas mass shooting.


Misspelling “gall” for “gal” in that sentence is very confusing. Especially knowing Dan Bilzerian’s background!


Doubt it. Many decent poker players have moved into areas where they can make money off of rich guys. From my minimal research many years ago, nobody knew of Dan B.


There are games in which such players are not allowed to play.


Did I miss it or does she never actually say WHY she has to go on to play this dude? She talks about how now this tournament is being arranged for her after winning a tournament that her coaches pressured her into playing, but never says anything like “it turned out that winning this tournament meant I was obligated to go play against this butthead dude”.

If there is something like that then it feels like she’s omitting an important lesson of “look before you leap” from the summing-up of What I Learnt. Which is one her coach needs to maybe learn too since he was just as surprised.


There's also this incident:

[...]I got a call from Mel Moser, who was the marketing manager at GGPoker. She had "great news". They would be sponsoring my entry into the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Heads-up tournament – a $10,000 buy-in event. "I hope you are excited!", she said.

I was not. What I felt was unprepared, and out-of-my-depth. My attempt to throttle the rise of panic was futile. My attempt to feign excitement even more so. "Oh… wow… this is …. amazing… thank you," I replied.

Like, was she now legally obligated to do this? Could she just say "uh no thanks, I won $10k and that is more than enough for right now"? If she did, how long did she sit there weighing her options between dropping off or trying to see how far she could ride this tiger she'd accidentally sat on?

In her conclusion she basically says that, whether or not she beats Mr Rich Butthead, the true victory was the friends she made along the way. But somehow my general experience with entertainment media suggests that a lot of those people will stop calling her if she loses; they see a chance to hitch themselves to a possible rising star, and it's gonna be nowhere near the first time they've done that and eventually made some cold calculations about how much time and effort to invest in her if this one win was just a lucky fluke.


She could probably say no, but I think most people would not turn down a free entry in a tournament with a massive price pool. It is essentially a 10,000$ gift if you play as well as your opponents, in her case the expected value of entry is probably closer to 8000$, since she would be playing against opponents stronger than her.


The tournament was probably held to find someone to play against Dan so part of the terms of winning in the contract would be participating in the one on one game. It'd be cheaper than directly paying someone to play against him probably and the revenue from the game with Dan would cover the prize cost of the feeder tournament.


Probably, yeah. It'd be nice if she'd spared one damn sentence to say "it turned out that this prize came with an obligation to go play against this asshole I'd never heard of in a few months".


It seems to be her duty as a feminist.


I became very interested in both poker and machine learning when I happened to be present for the opening of this event: https://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2017/january/AI-be...

Reasoning through imperfect information scenarios, and developing emotional resilience when unlikely negative outcomes occur, are two of the skills I cherish the most. I think poker is brilliantly analogous to both prediction markets and leading/lagging social trends and emotions that surround them.


I read a sci-fi short story a while back where humans post FTL travel filled an unusual niche in the galactic ecosystem. Because our pursuit-predating ancestors had to anticipate the movements of the animals they tracked, humans were (by galactic standards) incredibly good at 'reading' other sentient races, and 'never play poker against a human' was an accepted truism of the setting.


Don't know if it was the book, but "Design for a Great Day" by Alan Dean Foster is what that reminds me of.

Based off (someone elses?) short story iirc but I didn't pull it down to check.


You don't remember the title/author by any chance?


All I remember was that it was a thread on https://www.reddit.com/r/HFY/


Is anyone here familiar with current state of poker AIs / bots? For a long time, I've been thinking about making a multiplayer bot that would be able to play at a somewhat decent level but it seems like an extremely hard problem.

I've read the Pluribus paper but it assumes fixed stack sizes and more importantly, would be very hard to implement. There has to be a simpler approach.


I read the 2019 paper[0] where they beat 5 pros in a 6-max table. It did not assume fixed stack sizes, it uses a technique they call "action abstraction" where they train on some number of stack sizes. During a game they use these pre-computed values as starting points for real time searching of the game tree.

Their papers are very well written. With enough determination someone could build a multi player bot.

I was also thinking about trying to build something simpler that works decently well. They published a paper a while back about a bot that only did real time search with no training. It performed better than older poker bots that used to require offline computation. I don't think you'd be able to beat pros with it, but it should do well vs amateurs.

[0] https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aay2400


Are you really sure the starting stack sizes are variable? From what I remember, they aren't.


My bad, for some reason assumed you were talking about bet sizes.

Starting stack sizes were static, but I don't think it's something important. They varied during the course of play. If you're playing cash instead of tournament you'd just need to set each player's stack sizes when they join the table.


According to poker experts that I know, bots have long beat humans in multiplayer because they are better able to track what is happening with all players at the table.

After https://www.deepstack.ai/ beat no-limit heads up, poker bots simply became better than humans.


Humans have been using tracking software (that collects data from hand histories and overlays stats on top of the tables) since around 2005 at least...


Better than humans at 1v1 poker. But to my knowledge no bots are beating a traditional full table of poker pros.


The best I can find is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluribus_(poker_bot), but it sounds like it was limited to a few demonstrations.


You are correct that 1v1 is easier than multi-player.


I have an acquaintance who wrote one about a decade ago. He said he was profitable in small stakes play, but the average player was pretty bad then. I've played recently and the average player seems quite a bit better now.

I would think that a pretty naive bot would do fine at lower stakes since most people there are not that disciplined, so just sticking to a basic strategy and not making obvious mistakes would probably have positive EV.

Seems unlikely that anyone is going to publish a system that currently works though.


Plus it’s illegal on every major online poker site to use a bot.


No, it’s against EULA, there’s a very distinct difference.


I would not be surprised if there were federal laws against the use of Poker bots online.


Good luck with that. I’m sure Eastern Europeans really care about your federal laws.


Good luck with what?


Any hope of jurisdiction bound federal law preventing something on the internet which is not politically or socially charged.

Hell, there’s a widespread issue of ransomware currently - certain governments overlook cyber gangs in all but the most (financially) extreme circumstances. There’s not a chance any political force would bother policing internet poker.


Internet poker is heavily regulated in the US.


Sure, but that’s the government controlling a handful of well established entities, not a bunch people running bots which are basically invisible to the poker sites, even if the government cared enough to outlaw bots they couldn’t, jurisdiction or not.


I once met someone that (allegedly?) ran a poker bot ring in the mid-late 2000's. The basic idea was that you get as many bots per table as you can and share information between them. Suddenly you have much more information about the cards in play and it significantly increases your chances of winning. No machine learning back then, just pure stats and a set of rules to follow on how to play vs chance of winning. You didn't care which bot won since you could equalize stack sizes as soon as the human player folded.

I think back in those days, the poker companies didn't care too much since they were happy collecting fees from bots passing chips back and forth. I'm assuming now days it's different. I also don't know how true it was, since it was a random drunk guy in a bar, but it passed my sniff-test and he was buying beers so I didn't care too much.


I mean I played everything from 4 to 12 tables back in the day and you of course do collect more information on other players like that whether you're a human or a bot.

Oftentimes, especially when down to fewer tables, I would have a couple of other tables open where I was on the waiting list and thus I gathered some information from hands that went to showdown there as well.


DeepMind’s OpenSpiel repository on Github might be a good place to start, they provide infrastructure for a lot of games including poker, and example implementations of algorithms like CFR.


For everyone getting riled up about her emotional state, relax. Of course she is playing up her ambivalence. It's an advertisement for her book (and maybe for pokercode).

Oh, I did think this was hilarious. > instead of joining a Zoom party with friends, I spent New Year's Eve studying my charts until early hours in the morning

Yeah, I'm sure you were really sorry to miss it! /s Staying up for a virtual midnight countdown sounds like something I'd scramble for any excuse to skip.


Playing a poker can also be an interesting mental exercise. I occasionally play 3-4 tables concurrently online, of which I ultimately focus on a single one I always-eventually get lucky in (it might take a dozen games but the single one usually pays the rest off), and the amount of exhaustion you feel after 6-7 hours of that is surprising. Nothing like what programming gives me. I have heard similar experiences from ex-professional chess players.


I used to do that towards the end of high school. I actually started out with "free rolls" where tournament winners would win ~10 cents and built up a 5 digit bankroll within a few months. It must have been weird for the site operators to see a user with a 5 digit balance that has never deposited money.

I eventually quit although I was making good money (especially for my age) because it was too time consuming and emotionally draining. Plus, online poker got banned in the US, meaning that the level of the game got higher. The good players found ways to play but the "fishes" mostly didn't bother. At least that was my perception at the time.


I used to play 16-20 tables of 6max ring in tiled format. It helped build my mental endurance and multitasking ability substantially. I was barely break even, but it was mostly a hobby (and a dream)


Just out of curiosity, where do you go to play online? I've entertained the idea of trying it out but then suffer analysis paralysis when trying to actually pick a platform to play on.


PokerStars. If you are based in the US, I have no idea what your options are. The format is multi-table tournament knockout games which heavily favors you having a bigger chip stack than anyone else.


This ended in a cliffhanger.

We need to know what happened... Did she beat the final boss?


On her twitter feed, there's one reference from a few months ago that they are aiming for October in Vegas.


Hasn't happened yet. Wonder if they're waiting until her book is out, to maximize press coverage?


Fascinating piece.

Afaik it still has to happen, but I can't find when. [0]

[0]: https://www.pokerclarity.com/news/bbc-covers-heads-up-match-...


I know right! This is the equivalent of Steve Wiebe about to battle Billy Mitchell but at the last minute Steve gets his job back and goes home.


I felt the same! The best I could find online was that the match-up is not yet scheduled.


The game hasn't happened yet, so far as I can see? Date is still to be determined.


I wasn't aware that Jennifer Shahade got the Grandmaster title.


Am I wrong for feeling it is misleading to refer to her as a GM in the article and not a WGM? Obviously still a top chess player, but those a separate titles for a reason…


I don't think that's misleading at all. As far as I know, women aren't eligible for the GM as opposed to WGM title.


Absolutely women are eligible for the GM title, it is just a significantly harder title to achieve


Yeah, she's a WGM. Her brother Greg Shahade is an IM. Both occasionally stream on Twitch.


She's got the Woman Grandmaster title. I think she has two norms for the open International Master title.


tangential question - can AI/ML poker players beat the best human players in online poker?


Yes. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_poker_player

> AI broke through to superhuman performance in poker during the 2010s, with the following timeline. In 2015, computers solved heads-up limit hold'em via Cepheus. Around 2018, Libratus demonstrated superhuman ability in heads-up no-limit hold'em. In 2019, Pluribus demonstrated superhuman ability at six-player no-limit hold'em, the most commonly played single variety of poker in the world


Apparently so, if you read the comments below.

Having never played online poker in my life and since trading bots are a thing, it makes me wonder how many people are running automatized poker bots for a side income if those are so superior to human players.


Up to six-player no-limit Hold’em poker with Pluribus.


Easily, if it's 1v1. Unclear for other formats, judging by other answers in the threads.


Any good recommendations for learning to play poker? At some point I would like to learn.


I got very deep into the Poker rabbit hole from another hacker news article a couple months back.

This is the journey I would suggest for someone starting out:

1. Johns Hopkins Poker course[0]. Taught by a CS professor who's very passionate about Poker. It's targeted at college students and it's very well explained.

2. There are two different MIT Courses. I thought that 2016's [1] was better than 2015's [2]. But 2015 has better guest talks. "Poker Economics" and "Decision Making" are must watch.

3. Matthew Janda's books "Applications of No-Limit Hold 'em" and "No-Limit Hold 'em for Advanced Players" are both really good. They take a theoretical approach to the game. Applications was written before good poker computers were common. The author goes very deep into all the thought process and things you want to balance when playing.

NLHE for Advance Players runs common situations through strong bots and abstracts away good strategy principles that you can apply at the table. It's a lot easier to read than Applications.

4. Another good book that covers some of the math and optimal opening ratios is "Modern poker theory". It's more focused on showing charts, ratios, understanding the math. It also has good principles but Janda's books seemed easier to put in practice.

5. There's also some really good seminars on Jonathan Little's channel. "Play more Aggressively"[3] is particularly interesting.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBYvo69VZ2Gl3ZtdPmcsW9Q

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62nDLA_A8gs&list=PLUl4u3cNGP...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTkq4OsG_Yc&list=PLUl4u3cNGP...

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXiZPwJ-s8E


Texas Hold'em poker is a pretty simple game to get started with.

Best way to get started is to borrow or buy a poker set (I bought a set for about $20) and invite some friends over. Usually someone knows the rules, or if not you can easily look them up online.

You can even just start with a pack of cards, and after getting used to it introduce the chips. If you like the game enough get some friends together, put in $10 each and make a night out of it.


When I played back in the day I found this one to be pretty helpful: https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Poker-Bill-Chen/dp/188607...


This seems like she’s been conned into providing a contrarian narrative as an advertisement. I wonder how many women are going to lose their livelihoods in a bid to prove the narrative: that they can beat men in poker.


To clarify, I’m not saying that women can’t beat men in poker.

I’m saying that to me, it looks like these particular men—no doubt associated with the casinos being played at—are trying to outright scam women whose identity is based on proving that men can be beaten.

They are crafting a gender war narrative that, if accepted, disseminated and amplified by social media influencers, can lead to the financial ruin for thousands, if not millions of women, who come to believe that they have a chance against web casinos, because hey, she won $10,000 from a FREEROLL!

In reality, you will be very hard pressed to get a web casino to wire transfer you your winnings, even if you are a no-name professional gambler and the casino owes you millions.


Serious question about this. The starting hand chart appears to indicate that K4os is a surprisingly superior hand to other similar high low combinations. It's there a reason or is the chart wrong?


The chart is one from a game theoretically optimal solver for the whole game, one which assumes the opponent knows your exact strategy.

K4o is raised often by this solver because the hands that you'd otherwise raise with are lacking 4s. The computer doesn't want her to raise, then see a 4 (or two) on the flop, and have her opponent know for certain that she doesn't have a 4 in her hand.

To be honest this is not something humans worry about too much pre-flop. More likely a human would raise one of K4o/K5o/K6o/K7o 100% of the time and fold the rest. Your opponent doesn't know which so you're not exploitable like above, and you don't have to worry about the nuance of "Is this hand one of the 60% I should raise this?" on a critical hand, and you get to play better hands overall.


Poker changed my thinking when I was 18 in a very powerful way [1]: always look for +EV [2] opportunities in life and do your best to minimize variance. It started out small, but now I view everything through that lens. Too bad I didn't see "picking out a college degree" that way, it would've saved a lot of time (and pain).

IMO this is fundamentally different than how most of my fellow CS classmates tend to think. A programmer thinks in quite a deterministic and non-probability based fashion. Almost all of them hated statistics because of it since it requires to put that probabilistic hat on. Not all of them, but most tend to.

Because of this type of thinking I have taken crazy long shot decisions. Why? In many situations there is nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I'd always then hear: "yea but it won't work, you're not gonna make it." Well, if I take long shot chances like that every day then the law of large numbers will be on my side. "Yea that's all nice and theoretical but it will never work!"

Have I told you about that time where I got on an exclusive party bus by offering to buy them a keg of beer (since I noticed they were out) while the entry ticket was $100? "But that's just lucky!"

Have I told you about a time where the corona dip happened and I did a value investment play into solid brick and mortar companies? "But that's just lucky!"

Have I told you about a time where I lost my bus ticket (to another country) and asked the bus driver to pick me up anyway just believing my story? "But that's just lucky in an unlucky situation!"

Have I told you about a time where I dated this model for a while? "Dude, you're just incredibly lucky."

Have I told you about all the times where things didn't pan out? "No" Well, that's because I forget them but I do remember that a lot more didn't pan out. But again, law of large numbers :)

"Yea, that's nice theory."

I just gave you 4 examples of it!

"Yea, but you're just lucky."

I'm not, my volume is high. The only luck I have is despite giving you a rational and empirical argument that someone like you (a CS student) still won't believe me. How is that luck? The competition on these type of long shots is incredibly low which increase my odds.

[1] And I never even became a professional! When I got to a semi pro level (consistently beating $.25/$.50 stakes) I found it unethical to continue. Back then my reasoning was: why would I not contribute anything to society while I can learn programming instead and actually build something for society? So I became a programmer instead.

[2] Positive expected value


I'm not disagreeing with a lot of your premise, but you said "I have nothing to lose". If/when you go on a cold streak it can be hard to maintain that attitude, and downright depressing. It's not rational, but it happens. The psychological toll can be very real, and going on tilt in real life can have major consequences.

Besides that, are you correct, or is it just survivor's bias? After all, literally everything you said could be replaced by the time I won $20,000, then $500,000, then $30,000 then $50,000 in the lottery. Someone is going to get things right.

And separately, in response to [1], it depends a lot on what programming you do. I consider professional poker players to be a lot more honorable and a better service to society than programmers active in the ad-tech or surveillance space. Or a lot in the financial market space.


100% on the money. One problem I've gained through doing programming is that it's so deterministic, and so your thought process eventually changes -- "if I do this, then this will most definitely happen"... gotta get out of that mindset. Gotta take risks when the downside is minimal or doesn't apply to you that much. Or when you know the weighted risk-return (sharpe ratio) is better than many think.


I believe that I am a lucky person. I also believe you make your own luck. And you do that by taking chances and opportunities that others would forego due to risk/likelihood of success being too high/too low.

Kudos to you.


The article is low at content. So I'll try to condense it:

- Don't play (or make big decision) when tired, stressed or distracted

- Thinking in probability, not in winning or losing terms: EV = Probability x V -or- EV = SUM (Pi x Vi)

- Process is more important than result: if you did everything right but still lost, you're fine. Don't dwell on your losses, move on.

- You can increase your winning significantly if you get trained. There are probability cards to study Poker, buy them.

I'm not interested in people in the story so I didn't summarize them.

PS: Woman can win at poker, too if that's not obvious.


- poker is about evaluating probabilities, not about reading in others players mind

- you can't beat bad luck, but you can lose on bad evaluation of probabilities




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