Annie Duke on Poker Wisdom

“Good poker players bet the smallest amount that they think will accomplish their goals.”

Annie Duke used her PhD to become the world’s best poker player and is now funding social enterprise overseas. She is speaking to us right now at the Feast.

annie duke

Betting small:

– never takes you out of the game

– gives you somewhere to go when you fail

– often more believable

Get the other person to bet for you because it:

– eliminates the problem of credibility

– eliminates the problem of follow through

– the other player will often bet a wider range of hands than they would call with.

Get the other person to set their own consequences.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Paul Ede says:

    Hi Andrew, I was just curious to know why you felt it was important to promote Annie Duke’s perspectives and comments on your blog? Please be assured that this is not a questioned designed to be contentious, but rather one coming from a place of genuine curiosity. I guess its not often that I see a Christian blogger talking about gambling in a relatively positive light. I suppose many people I have come across might ask if there is an oxymoron even in the title: “Poker wisdom” – in that I’m not sure that e.g. proverbs or the other wisdom literature in the bible would associate gambling and wisdom.
    I hope I’m not totally missing the point! Just genuinely curious to know why you would profile this lady? Is it that she is taking lessons from poker that are applicable to social enterprise, and that you feel her words are wise in terms of social enterprise, wherever those lessons have been learned from? In this sense I guess you aren’t trying to make any particular moral point about poker at all.
    Just curious to know your thoughts on this 🙂
    All the best!

  • andrew says:

    hi paul. yes – its a social enterprise conference and appropriate. but there are a lot of Christians that play poker quite seriously and also a church in Texas that meet in a poker place where they teach poker. The pastor ( I have met him) is known as the Poker Pastor. Texan hold’em or something is the game they play.
    Interesting that card playing in the UK is still taboo in some Christian circles (Ireland comes to mind).
    Gambling is another topic and not necessarily related to card playing, and not a topic that came up at our event.

  • Justin Long says:

    There’s something in this related to Taleb’s Black Swan thinking and his ideas about exposure to things you can’t project that could destroy you. Especially the idea of betting small. We risk many things in life. It’s the big risks that can destroy us. Anyway I thought I’d drop a line here because something about this relates in my head to what Taleb is saying, although I don’t quite know what yet… 🙂

  • sammy j says:

    I’d be very wary taking advice from Annie Duke. She has a — um, let’s say “less than pristine” — reputation in the poker community. And nobody, probably not even Duke herself, considers her the best in the world (not even top 100)… FWIW, I for one see no problem with Christians playing poker.

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