All good decisions are based on information. The more accurate they are, the better your conclusions.
But several snags can tie your decisions in knots. In Confident Decision Making, Roger Dawson calls them “information drifts.” Using a typical poker game as a reference, see how many of these info-drifts have led you down the wrong path:
1. Availability. The more you’re aware of something, and the more readily available the information is to you, the more undeserved interest you give it.
2. Experience. You see things primarily in terms of your personal, professional or poker experience.
3. Conflict. We all have a natural tendency to reject information that conflicts with our basic beliefs.
4. Recall. It’s easier to remember information about things that are familiar.
5. Selectivity. Since we can’t remember everything about everything, we screen out information that doesn’t interest us.
6. Anchoring. If you lack expertise in a specific area, you latch your ideas onto the first information you hear, whether it is right or wrong.
7. Recency. We place greater emphasis on what has just happened than on historical occurrences.
8. Favorability. You usually look harder for information that supports your beliefs than for data that goes against your preconceived notions.
Now let’s look at how information drifts may deter you from making the best choices in a poker game. In a hold’em game, suppose you’re sitting in a front position with a pair of queens. The flop comes with three unsuited low cards and you bet. Two players call your bet, and the button raises. Do you fold, call or reraise?
If you usually make fast decisions, you could jump on the opportunity to force out the middle-position players with a reraise. But if a conflict drift distracts you, you might blank out the possibility that button holds low trips.
If you’re in recency drift, your emotions may tell you to punish the button because it bluffed you out of a previous pot. A new player might remember he’s read somewhere that high pairs win pots – anchor drift. Or maybe you think Button just holds A-K since players often raise with it – favorability drift.
Recognizing your info-drifts and making adjustments are keys to the doors of success. Use them to unlock the gambler’s edge.
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