Since the collapse of several ventures that she was a part of, Annie Duke – former poker professional, winner of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship and face of the former Ultimate Bet – has stayed far away from the poker tables. She first reinvented herself as a business consultant who worked in the area of decision making. Now, it appears that Duke is moving into a different arena – political consultant.
Article Promotes Duke’s “Probability” Theory
Editor in Chief Andy Serwer of Yahoo! Finance interviewed Duke for his Influencers with Andy Serwer podcast, talking about a recently penned new book from Duke called How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices. In the interview, Duke analyzes how the campaign of the Democrat in the race, former Vice President Joe Biden, made critical decisions as to their approach to the 2020 Presidential battle. Duke points out in the interview that, unlike the 2016 campaign, the Biden campaign thought that indicators from 2016 would play in the same manner in 2020 and planned accordingly.
“Biden was pulling very far ahead in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan,” Duke stated. “Yet, when you look at his ad spending, that’s where most of the spending was because…they were taking into account that there could possibly be a polling error again.”
According to Duke and Serwer, the analysis of the Biden campaign was correct. While the polls on Election Day gave Biden a huge margin (8.4 percentage point lead in Wisconsin, 4.7 in Pennsylvania), the finishing margin was vastly closer. In the end, Biden won Wisconsin by .6 percentage points and Pennsylvania by 1.2 points.
Duke credits the Biden campaign for not putting faith in what she calls “resulting,” or looking at the result to determine the success of a strategy. The Biden campaign, with the knowledge of what happened in 2016, was able to plan for that and not be focused on what the polls said was going to happen. Instead of pulling money and campaigning from those states, Biden continued to pound the state with visits and ad money spent working for the votes.
“Resulting” a Familiar Duke Theme
The “resulting” theme is a familiar one from Duke’s prior works. Even her poker books emphasized making the correct decision over what the eventual outcome brought. In one of her first business books, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts, laid tremendously on this concentration on the process rather than the endgame. Duke attributes much of her observations on this field from her poker background and has stated that it impacts other areas such as investing and business.
Duke’s life in poker, despite being somewhat successful, has been a rollercoaster, however. While she owns a World Series of Poker bracelet and that victory in the NHUPC and the WSOP Tournament of Champions back in 2004 (where she tortured Phil Hellmuth for a $2 million victory), Duke endorsed Ultimate Bet in the online community. Although she left the site well before the “Black Friday” shutdowns, she still catches scorn (unlike Hellmuth) for the shutdown of the site and its treatment of players.
Duke also was a part of the Epic Poker League situation in 2011. Duke was named the first (and only) Commissioner of the poker tournament circuit, which failed within the first year of operation. The EPL was a great concept, an invitation-only poker tour built around the usage of a ranking system (the Global Poker Index) to determine eligibility to play, but it came up short in raising money to conduct the tournament schedule and folded after three of the first four events. Despite not being shown to be one of the “decision makers” of the EPL, much of the blame for its demise (and the resulting millions of dollars the group owed to creditors) was placed on Duke’s shoulders.
After the EPL failure, Duke withdrew from the poker world and reestablished herself in the business and literary worlds as a consultant and author. Now, it appears, she’s ready to take on the world of politics, which may be more cutthroat than poker ever was!