On poker's comparative advantage

Jason Strasser gave a great interview recently where he noted that poker players  think they outperform non-poker-players because they're fluent in calculating odds, but their comparative advantage is actually in having experienced painful losses.

This is a general phenomenon: I've never known a field where the general wisdom about where that field's intellectual edge is tracked reality. (The exception is maybe pure math, but I'm not qualified to judge.)

Outside the context of trading (what Jason was talking about), the comparative advantage of a training in poker is a bit broader. Here's how I see it. Note that this is not "what I learned from poker" but "what I think poker trains distinctively well":

  1. How to lose, often painfully (Jason's answer).
  2. How to see yourself fail and, ideally, learn from it (this is different from #1).
  3. How not to conflate .1%, 1%, and 4% probabilities of things (and similarly for other probabilities).
  4. How to synthesize different kinds of evidence ("there are eight clubs left in the deck, he called a three-bet before the flop, and he really doesn't want to miss his dinner reservation").
  5. How to figure out where the value in a situation is really coming from (including how to avoid the "streetlight effect" of conflating importance with salience or quantifiability).

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