Liv Boeree: Poker Rules Of Life, Game Theory, AI & Effective Altruism

Liv Boeree is a World Series of Poker and European Poker Tour champion, and the only female player in history to win both a WSOP bracelet and an EPT event. Liv’s story is super interesting, because she actually has a degree in astrophysics and combined her science background and passion for games to get into the world of poker and win all these championships.These days Liv spends her time as a science communicator and games specialist, and focuses on educating others about how to apply scientific rational thinking techniques and things like game theory to the decisions we make in our everyday lives. Navigating through decisions in life can be a pretty difficult sometimes, but the single thing this conversation taught me is that, there’s a lot of principles we can steal from poker (like thinking processes and resilience strategies) to help us along the journey. In the conversation we talk about a whole bunch of things and by the end of the episode you’ll learn:

– Game Theory: How lessons from poker can help you build resilience, and make better decisions for your life.
– Effective Altruism: How humans can become better philanthropists by using logic and reason to figure out the most high expected value thing we can do to solve the worlds most pressing problems.
– Safe AI Development – Why AI is the most high-stakes creation by humans to date and what their implications are for our future.


00:00 Intro
04:34 Game show
17:58 Risk taking
24:20 Poker as a career nowadays
33:20 Building psychological resilience
37:50 Men vs women in poker
43:03 How much are people making from professional poker?
46:00 Winning the European Poker Tour
49:13 Getting into the focus mindset
52:52 Approach to energy healing
1:02:19 Relationship with money after winning the tournament
1:06:31 Effective Altruism
1:12:24 Positive sum philosophy
1:14:20 Poker with partners
1:20:40 Quitting poker
1:26:46 Interest in AI
1:37:32 Actions people can take
1:39:00 Moloch: Unhealthy competition
1:44:46 Thoughts on social media
1:57:40 The infinite game
2:01:19 Exploring the unexplainable
2:06:25 Books recommendation
2:08:19 Things to try out

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Chris Sparks Deep Dive Episode –
Liv’s TedTalk –
DeepMind –
80,000 hours podcast –
Meditations on Moloch by Scott Alexander –
Moloch: The Beauty Wars –
Moloch: The Media Wars –
Finite And Infinite Games: A Vision of Life As Play and Possibility by James Carse –
Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence by James Lovelock –
Inadequate Equilibria: Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck by Eliezer Yudkowsky –
The Story Of Us by Tim Urban –


Visit the website for the transcript and highlights from the conversation –

Deep Dive is the podcast that delves into the minds of entrepreneurs, creators and other inspiring people to uncover the philosophies, strategies and tools that help us live happier, healthier and more productive lives.

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I mean I was a pathologically Competitive person in my teens I mean Actually from childhood I think it's Only like my second or third European Poker Tour event so I'm not comfortable This is much higher Stakes than I'm used To playing really it's a 5 000 Euro Buy-in fairly inexperienced at it long Story short I end up winning the whole Thing for 1.25 million euros bloody hell What you're about to hear is an Interview between me and Liv bori now Liv is a World Series of Poker and European Poker Tour Champion now live Story is super interesting because she Actually has a degree in astrophysics And she combined her science background And passion for games to get into the World of Poker and to win all of these Championships I remember sort of the end Of my third year hanging out with a Bunch of PhD students and they didn't Seem like they were having a Particularly good time so decided to Take a gap here at the end of my Graduation which was coincided right Around when I went on this game show That introduced me to Poker I went to a Local Card Club in London I had five ten I think literally a tenor on me or maybe 15 quid and I end up winning the whole Thing in the conversation we talk about A whole bunch of things and by the end Of the episode you'll learned firstly

About Liv's inspirational story around How she took risks and followed her Hunch and ended up building a life that She could have never imagined we talk a Little bit about effective altruism and How we can become better philanthropists And have more of an impact by using Logic and reason to figure out the most High expected value thing that we can do To help solve the world's most pressing Problems and we talk about the dangers Of social media as it relates to Artificial intelligence and why AI is The most high-stakes creation by humans To date and what the implications are For our future part of the problem with Social media is it reduces the richness And complexity of The Human Experience Down to like these very narrow metrics By definition it's inherently Dehumanizing it's like we're trapped in This an attention game but game is the Nice way of calling it in reality it's An attention War At the moment according to the YouTube Analytics 81 of you who are watching This on YouTube have not yet hit the Subscribe button and so if you're for Example in the now 81 of people who are Watching this on YouTube but who are not Subscribed to the channel I would love It if you could do so and would be Awesome to get that number down to 50 And it would be cool to get like 50 50

Sub non-sub ratio just just for fun Liv Thank you so much for coming on the Podcast thank you for having me um you Seem to be doing lots and lots of things Like former professional poker player You've got like television broadcasting And presenting YouTube channel and Podcast uh you're associated with the Effective altruism community and I was Really struggling to figure out what is It that you're doing right now like how Would you describe what you do if Someone asks you at like a party for Example yeah good question Um well my main focus right now is Getting a podcast off the ground And that's going to be on the sort of The topic of How do we find more healthy competition In the world and what is people's Relationship with with competition as This sort of way of interacting with one Another because it seems like you know Competition is a core part not only of Human nature but of nature itself Um but From the more I look into it it seems Like competition is getting a little It's going in the unhealthy Direction Um certainly in things like Uh fast developing Technologies where There's so much pressure you know so Many short-term incentives on companies You know like the ai ai for example all

These companies are under so much Pressure to be the first one to develop The next thing that It's hard for them to also do you know Focus on safety as much as perhaps they Should be Um same goes with like the competitive Forces that are driving deforestation You know people are just trying to Survive you know get by and they see That their neighbors are cutting down a Bit of rain for us well I'm going to do It too right yeah Um so that's sort of my current area of Obsession yep and I'm trying to raise Awareness of the the mechanisms that Seem to be driving this stuff through my YouTube channel Um I've been working on this series Called molok Um which we can talk about a bit more And then yeah the podcast and then also Give talks regularly on poker thinking Um really whatever people want to hear About nice uh so yeah I don't know how You put that yeah it's hard to turn that Into like a noun or something I feel Like when I was a doctor it was very Easy to be like that's the thing but now It's like some combination of YouTube Videos podcasts writing like how like Yeah I guess influencer yeah why does That that word comes with such baggage Yeah influencer Creator crater yeah

Something like that yeah so you're uh so So you're on this game show as the Professor one of the five personalities Are you like 22 20-ish 31 21 at this Point so what happened on the game show Oh man uh so the way it worked was I Think we filmed Six it was six or seven episodes and Each episode we would play a sit and go Inside so it didn't go as where so There'd be the five of us playing plus a Qualifier each week Um this this whole show was sponsored by An online poker company You know it was a marketing thing for Them and so you know it was trying to Get people to go oh watch the show play Online see if you could qualify for the Next episode or whatever Um and so we would all play and it Basically a sit and go is is like a mini Tournament where You'll start with an equal number of Chips and if you lose all your chips You're out and it's a last last person Standing type thing and so based on the Results of each of those we would Accumulate points which would go forward Into the final where it would be just The five of us playing for the hundred Thousand pounds which again wanna take All Pretty aggressive yeah um especially for A bunch of beginners where none of us

Really knew what we were doing Um and so The the first few episodes of the show Went very well for me like I clearly had You know I got the game and I loved the Game from the outset and the funny thing Is during the filming I went to a local Card Club in London uh called the gut Shot And they had this Infamous tournament Called the five pound rebuy where it was Just you know you could re-buy it for The first hour for five five quid but I Didn't know that it was a rebuy and you Know I was fairly broke yeah I feel like Five pounds one off yeah I bought ten I Had I had five ten I think literally a Tenor on me or maybe 15 quid but you Know that was like this was for drinks And I've got my five pound entry And so then I'm watching like people Literally going all in every hand just Like you know rebuy rebuy rebound I'm Like I can't I can't do this so somehow I get through the rebuy period with my One button And I end up winning the whole thing That like coming home at like five in The morning with you know it was like 120 entrance and like I am a straight up Beginner yeah win this thing and I Remember going home to my boyfriend at The time with this hat and full of cash More cash I've ever seen like 800 800

Quid and just like throwing it on him We're like around my new career Um so that was a very interesting sort Of start to video yeah and that was Midway through filming for the TV show Yes so like are they training you on how To play poker yeah so we had Um they they had three pros that would Come and like help us Um you know two of whom well uh it was Devil fish Dave devil fish Elliot Um who Sally's passed away now Um but he was the UK's most famous poker Player for a while certainly back then Annie Duke who at the time was the most Successful female poker player now does A lot of yeah she's written books about Like uh yeah yeah she's a very good Writer Um and Phil Hellmuth who is probably the Most famous poker player alive today oh Okay cool yeah so these guys are Coaching you they kind of how to play Poker yes so these were the three Coaches and Um It was you know so now all of a sudden I Meet these I remember looking up sort of What their what their lives are like and I'm like wow these guys wait this is Even better than being a rock star these Guys get to travel the world they're Treated like rock stars they you know They have all these adoring fans they're

Having a great time but they get to play This incredible game which frankly seems A lot more fun than actually guitar so That's where I first was like oh maybe This could be my my new career uh and Certainly yeah it it it definitely came It was definitely the most exciting Thing I did yeah thus far because I Guess for most people if you're just Kind of playing poker casually you Wouldn't then jump to thinking this Could be a career but I guess because You're interacting with these three People who've literally made Professional poker playing their career Right and then you win this competition You're like hang on maybe there's Something in this like free easy money Or whatever what's what's going through Your mind no I mean exactly that yeah Yeah I was just like well I've clearly Got a gift for this yeah like I win this Tournament and I mean looking back on it I must have just run we call it running Running like God where just the cards Are so on your side because to win any Tournament you need you can be the best Player in the world but if the cards are Not cooperating you just cannot win like It's almost impossible and certainly in The tournament that sort of fast paced Um so the cards must have just been Completely yeah I don't really remember I remember I flopped four of a kind and

So on which is you know very unlikely Given you know I'm probably playing like 400 Hands Across the whole tournament Um what does it mean to flop a four of a Kind uh so I had you have Um let's see you have two sevens your as Your whole cards yep and then the Flop Comes out which is three cards oh okay Two of those seven the two other seven Okay which is extraordinarily unlikely Oh I can't remember the odds right now But it's a good thing to flop a four of Kind oh it's incredible oh yeah yeah Very very very very good thing in an Incredibly rare we're talking like it's I I embarrassingly can't remember the The odds right now but it's like on the Order of like 1 in 36 000 or something Like that Um so had that in this yeah so that's That's what I'm saying the cards but Absolutely on my side it was definitely More luck than a skill thing yeah Clearly knowing what I know now but I Didn't know that and I was just like wow I must be the best and then coupled with I then win the first uh sit and go on The show and I think I'll do one on the Second or the third one and Um And I remember like the you know the Pros and the shows organizers but being All excited like you're clearly the Favorite you're gonna win this you're

Gonna win this like you're clearly very Good at this game you're the big Favorite and so I was just like dead Sure I was gonna win it But I did not win it Um Because on the on the final uh the final Set and go you know the um we were Playing for the 100K Again I can't remember the exact hand But It was against this this other other Player Lee Um who was probably the second best Player actually Um he made a big bet on the river and I Had rivered a straight sorry what does River mean the final card the fifth card So the three come out on the Flop and Then the turn is the fourth and then the River is the fifth and then you have Your two cards that we've got to make Out of those seven why is it called flop Turn River I don't know like okay cool It's one of those things yeah so he's Betting on the final card yes we get to The final card yeah just after this is Where you turn your hand over and he Bets big And I've rivered a straight so five Cards in a row essentially And I'm me I'm so excited I'm like I Raise So that means I'm now committed to at

Least double his his uh his bet yep Which would leave me behind with Basically nothing yep but as I say I Raise and then look back at the board And I realize there's four diamonds out There oh okay and I know that both my Cards were black yep so all it means is If he just has one diamond yeah he's got A flash he's got a Flash and he's Beating me and You know people even pros make mistakes Like this sometimes they misread the Board and so on but you know what this Is what you train your Poker Face for You just stay you know if you notice Something like that you just stay cool Yeah I did not do that I looked at the Board and went And I remember him looking at me and I'm Like and we're looking and he's looking At the board and he's looking back at me And a single tear starts because I know This because I saw you know the footage Starts rolling down my face And he's just like um Flynn so he revises to put me all in and I just Have a complete meltdown to start crying I think I'd run away yeah run away from The table the cameras follow like Classic like reality I'm like get the Camera out my face awful Um and then I bust shortly after Uh so that's how that's how that went so

It was a nice slap back down to earth How does that feel to kind of have the Hundred hundred thousand pounds snatched Away it was awful because I was so sure I was winning it and you know it was a Life-changing amount of money absolute Life-changing and like I and it was yeah It was brutal because I think it was Probably sounds Weird thing to say but you know I'd had A pretty Charmed Life I have I've had a Very Charmed Life I'm not you know uh But this was the first real like You're not always going to get your way You know way I was so sure like oh yes This is the next great you know good Thing that's going to happen to me and Like no yeah Um how long how long did it take you to Forgive yourself for that No I mean definitely lingered for a few Years Two years oh yeah what just like the What ifs yeah just like the you know Like oh man my career would have been I mean you just would it would have been Provided me with a bankroll yep from From the outset but then again had I won That I would have carried you know because I Was essentially delusional right about My skill level everything that up until That point had deluded me you know

Winning the first few sentences having The producers tell me I'm the best Um clever by then because they want Drama for their show and I was probably The most likely to be you know this Precocious overconfident 21 year old Girl most likely to cause drama you know Be the drama which was the case Um But yeah if I had won that then I who Knows I probably wouldn't have studied The game very hard Um I have no yeah no idea I mean I just I Certainly wouldn't change anything yeah Because you know here we are absolutely Okay so you're you're 21 at this point You're on your Gap here from University And you've just nearly won 100 000 Pounds on a poker show what happens next So I tell my parents that I want to make it I'm putting physics on hold I'm not Going to apply for my masters just yet Uh I want to see if I can make a go at This poker thing I stopped playing Regularly at that gut shot Card Club Um to you know fairly decent success Actually and start you know actually Learning the game and becoming a bit Better Um but my dad was just like this is Still not acceptable you need to get a Job like you can't just try and live off

This you need to you need to go into you Know Grow up essentially so uh I just apply I Can't remember you know through some Recruitment you know website for just Jobs in London that want physicists Um and one of the first ones that came Up like you know had a opportunity to Interview for was for a company called which was a subsidiary Of AOL and it was like early days Google Um search ads yep and I was essentially It was my role was like data analysts to Figure out the optimal time to present The ads Um using their they had some kind of Algorithm that would you I can't even Remember it frankly but so I got that Job and it was you know in clock and Well And I hated it so much so anyway I was never A morning person and like it just felt I Was just felt like I was just going Through the motions every day like you Have to be there at 9am but then If you walked in 901 people would be Looking and tutting at you and don't Forget like the people that were Actually really nice but I just I just was getting by doing the bare Minimum just feeling like I didn't Believe in what I was doing Um but again glad for the experience

Because you know it really showed me What my purse what worked for my Personality and what didn't Um But uh yeah so did that for about a year And then Right around you know I was looking for An opportunity to quit but poker wasn't Going enough it wasn't enough to replace My salary but then one December I was Playing an online satellite tournament So satellites are where you know usually Instead of winning money directly a Surprise you win an entry to a big Bigger tournament yeah And it was a 300 online buy and I played It and it was again a winner take haul And I won it for this nineteen thousand Dollar package to go to Las Vegas oh Nice to go and play in the world world Poker Tour this 15 000 buy-in so it's Like 15 plus 4K expenses nice and I won It again at like six in the morning and I had to go into work the next day And also by that point I had used up all Of my holiday On like traveling to go and like I Started doing poker reporting as well at The same time because I was like just Like how do I get into this industry as Well maybe I can you know do media and That sort of thing Um report on it meet people uh so I'd Use up all my holidays sort of

Moonlighting as this poker reporter uh And I went to my boss and I was like Look uh I know I don't have any left but I need to go to Vegas next week I just Won this I obviously will take unpaid And he's like you can't no we need you And I was like but this is worth you Know almost as much as my entire annual Salary yeah and this is my dream and He's like well we need you and I was Like well I'm sorry I'm going so I quit Uh actually it wasn't I wasn't as Douchey as that I like he didn't Actually say they needed me but it was Just like for some reason they couldn't Give me the unpaid I mean I I totally Understand he was so understanding Um and he's like well I I totally Understand off you go so I went off to Vegas I did not win but I met like all The stars I saw Phil Hellmuth and Annie Again devil fish you know reconnected With them and I was just and it's Cemented like okay this is why I want to Do I want to travel to these events yes This is the funnest thing imaginable Um so yeah that and so then I quit and That's when I started going sort of full Time okay so let's say someone's Listening to this and they're in the so Let's say they're 21 they've got a Degree and they could get a normal job But they want to take a risk doing Something like a startup or start a

YouTube channel or a podcast or a poker Or something like that What like I I get emails from people in That kind of position quite a lot where They're always like do I get the job or Do I go full time on the thing given It's a bit of a risk or do I go like Full time on the job and sort of half Off the job and like kind of do the Thing on the side like what would you Advise kind of your younger self or Someone in that position given what you Know now I forgot because Corey is Usually like falling on the sort of the Good Fortune outcomes so You know if I ran the simulation of my Life again It's very statistically unlikely that it Would end up this way right So technically on paper the decisions I Made we probably you know I definitely Took this riskier decision each time and It happened to work out but that doesn't Mean to say that that is actually the Correct that was the correct decision at The time right So it really depends Um Yeah it's it's so situationally Dependent I wouldn't want to say like to Say oh yeah always take them like the People who say no always go with your go

With your heart take the risk It's it's it's it's a nice guiding Principle but it shouldn't be a hard and Fast rule Similarly no stick with what you know do The same thing Can be a good guiding principle but you Shouldn't stick stick to it hard and Fast so I think it somewhat depends on Your personality a bit you know like There is we all sort of fall somewhere On the spectrum of risk tolerance And I think the best thing you can do is Like get to know yourself as much as Possible Um you know some people like like I Think a lot of poker players have in Common is they would much rather Gamble And lose than to have never had the Opportunity to gamble in the first place You know like the best outcome is to Gamble and win yep the second best Outcome is to gamble and lose and the Third the worst outcome is to never have Any action in the first place like That's a sort of common theme amongst uh This breed of people so if you fall into That category then you're the sort of You know you're more likely to you know You take the risk a lot of the time you Lose but you can sort of stomach it Right you you it just works for you but That's fairly rare most people have like A large loss aversion

Um and that's there's nothing wrong with That in fact there's probably a Healthier way of existing Um so if you're someone who's going to That experience more sort of suffering From having you know taking a risky Decision that then doesn't work out That should come into your Calculus Um and again if there's no right or Wrong answer it's just really it is very Subjective yeah and situationally Dependent yeah yeah I guess it's almost Um you know Jeff Bezos talks about Regret minimization like right you know Right try and project yourself forward Into the future and figure out which of These am I more likely to regret yes Kind of regardless of the outcome Um For me I find that that generally leans Towards I mean you know in my 20s Generally taking the risk is reasonable But then I also have a financial safety Net and a family who can support me if Needed and all of this other kind of Stuff feeds into that right and then People sometimes look at myself oh but You took a risk and I'm like yeah but it Wasn't really a risk because it's like You know if things don't work out I'm Not gonna starve I just get a job as a Doctor like the the we all have Different degrees of backup app Absolutely and I mean that's actually

One of the biggest forms of like innate Privilege is do you have parents at home That if it all goes tits up will take You in and let you stay there yeah like I was very lucky that I had that as this Safety net where I was like I feel the Confidence to go out and do that a lot Of people don't have that and so they Don't have the luxury of taking these Big you know these these big gambles Because if like it doesn't work out they Might literally end up on the streets And it's Um it sucks but that's you know there's That disparity there like you know your Parents is one of the like biggest Things you can't control And You get to make it influences the course Of your life so much so yeah it it it's It's interesting though like you know Now having gotten to know you know a lot Of tech leaders or just really really Successful people in you know in very Sort of competitive Industries like they Are you know the biggest sort of thing They have in common is that they are Extremely comfortable with very Audacious risks And you know so there's a selection Effect going on there but at the same Time these are by definition the Outliers yeah and and so we can't over That you know just because that's what

Happened to them that doesn't mean You're statistically likely to happen to You no exactly um so it's it's it's it's So difficult so I think that yeah the Main thing to do is just like get get to Know yourself and that's why like Actually poker is such a good Um It's it's probably the best game In terms of to learn in terms of Learning how to make high-stakes Decisions for your life because it's It's it's so messy and there's so many Different sort of types of skills you Need to hone from the like analytical Statistical Um Game Theory stuff to you know the More sort of artistic fuzzy things like People reading psychology Um being aware of your own emotions and Emotional control and that kind of thing And then on top of that you've got you Know because I'm like a game of chess Where it's sort of it's complete Information Um there's no sort of hidden things Aside of what's going on in the person's Mind you know what's up whereas poker The cards are randomly shuffled between Every hand right and you can be the best Player in the world and if the cards Aren't cooperating You're Gonna Lose and Vice versa you can be the worst player In the world and if cards are on your

Side you're when and And so this and as you know this this Messiness especially with the luck Factor is so true of life and the true The the the the the real skill comes in Identifying when your results are uh you Know if you have a string of success is It down to your good decision making or Is it down to Good Fortune or maybe a Bit of both and if so what's the mix of Those and that's the hard thing yeah to Figure out both in poker and in life but I want to just make a very clear caveat Right now I am not I do not recommend Anybody go out and try and become a Professional poker player now oh okay I Was gonna ask you this like let's say Someone's listening to this and they're Like side hustle is a poker player Sounds better than side hustle as a Part-time model like what why would you Not recommend it so the game and I mean In short It's because of Ai and what computation essentially Um the game you know when I learned in 2005 no one really knew how poker worked It was you know the best players in the World like uh particularly like someone Like Phil uh who was on the show Um Doyle Branson those guys they what Made them so great is that they have had And still have These incredible intuitions about human

Behavior you know they have these Street Smarts that they've gained from just Years and years and years of sitting at The poker table and just seeing the full Gamut of human behavior and just having So much experience they know how to Hustle and out maneuver people yeah And that was sufficient to be a great Poker player and I had a bit of the sort Of statistical side but I also like Honed a lot of those skills as well but Then around sort of 2010 2011 Game Theory started becoming more of a Field of study in poker uh and Particularly uh analysis software Started emerging because you know with Online poker for the first time now all Your hand histories were digitized and So you could save them so you had all This data uh from which you could learn From and then you know software Developed it where you could just Basically upload your hand histories and It would show you oh okay in these sort Of positions you're you're losing money Here yeah you need to work on your your Small blind game Etc So for those who are willing to like Take the analytical route now there was This there was all this low-hanging Fruit of information you could use And The so there was all that that was Happening making it much more of a more

Of a science instead of it before it was An art and it started shifting more Towards the science and then on top of That there's this so technically there's A theoretical maximum of perfect play That exists in poker it's called Game Theory optimal Um and if you get two Game Theory Optimal players you know if let's say We're both perfect GTO players uh and we Play against each other then we will We're in what's called a Nash Equilibrium where what that means is There is no single strategy that either One of us can take to exploit the other One's mistakes so we're essentially Breaking even against each other for Play over infinity like we you know one Might get luckier than the other of us Yeah you know an hour or so but if we Play to Infinity we would break it so It's like if two computers play against Each other in chess They will almost always draw uh yeah if They're too equally matched once yes Um and I think chess has Nash Equilibrium as well yeah Um but certainly in poker that's the Case so what that means is that there's Actually a theoretical ceiling of Perfect play yep and back in you know 2005 or whatever The best players in the world are down Here you know the medium ones were down

There and the beginners were on the Floor But now because of the ceiling everyone Has shifted yep up to here and not only Has everyone shifted so much closer but The gap between beginners and the pros Has shrunk Because this information that was Previously sort of like proprietary Information in everyone's heads has been Democratized through these through these Analysis softwares Um they're called simulators there's This one called Pius solver that was you Know certainly the one everyone used Back when I was you know still playing Pro Um where you'd like input a scenario and It would play Millions or billions of fictitious hands Against itself to find these Mathematically Optimal Solutions and Then your job is basically just to Memorize what the like appropriate Frequencies are of bluffing versus Um playing passively or whatever and so It changed again like it was less of it Made the game in many ways sort of less Dynamic because It turned it more into chess it was more About like Figure you know choosing a position and Like memorizing the optimals plays as Opposed to just sort of like thinking on

Your feet yeah um so that's why it's I Would not recommend anyone try and make A living from it now Um a because everyone's so much closer It's easier to get very good fast so you Should go and learn I highly recommend People go and learn because you can Learn so much about yourself and you Know all the skills that it will give You that apply to life but I wouldn't Recommend it as a source of income Um and especially not now that AI uh Because in 2017 we had the first Superhuman poker AI uh And at the time that was uh it like ran Off a supercomputer it was very slow and Clunky Um but you know Moore's Law and all that Now you could have it on an app that Works almost I don't know if it's Completely in real time but it's close To real time okay Um and that's for like the very very Best but you can have a very very Proficient one running Um so why does that mean that you Shouldn't uh well The online poker And at least in its classical form Texas Holdem I wouldn't recommend playing high Stakes online poker anymore because if If the other person's using an AI like The incentives are just so strong yeah And you know the same reason that people

Don't play chess for lots of money Online yeah because you had enough Incentive there's gonna be cheating it Doesn't mean everyone's cheating but it You can't be sure Um so but that said maybe and actually Live poker is booming so you know in Person poker is seeing a bit of a Resurgence maybe because you know people Still want that action they want to play For money yep so you want to you just Want to be able to see the person and See that they're not on a phone yeah All right we're just going to take a Quick break from this episode to Introduce our sponsor which is very Excitingly huel now heal is great Because I've been a customer of Hill for The last six years and also we've got an Interview with Julian Hearn who is the Founder of heal on this podcast so you Can check that out it'll be on the YouTube channel and on the Spotify page And that was a fantastic master class in Entrepreneurship but anyway we're Talking about heal because heel is a Fantastically complete meal so if you're Like me and you have a fairly busy life And you don't necessarily make the time To shop and cook and prep and wash up Like a healthy meal at home which is Obviously ideal then the nice thing About heel is that it's a great Alternative to an unhealthy cereal or an

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Much trading212 for sponsoring this Episode it strikes me that that poker Would be a good game to develop the Skill of uh resilience because if you Know you're playing well and then Something you know the cards just don't Go your way yes it would be easy in that Context like in real life to beat Yourself up and kind of go into a spiral About this but I guess as a professional Poker player you have to just get over It yes exactly um and it Took me and I mean It struggled with that frankly to the End of my career you know if I went on a Period of not winning much a downswing As we call it It would because I guess I almost always Had such high expectations of myself and Especially as my career sort of started Off so spectacularly It It just I never some some people are Better than others that are not getting Bogged down by the downswings but I it Always got me and that was my weakness Frankly Um But either way it's definitely it still Definitely taught me a lot of resilience I'm more resilient now than I would have Been without it for sure What were the some strategies that you Used to sort of somewhat cope with the

Downswings And probably the most useful one is just Sort of doing the perspective game you Know just to go okay well so the last Three months have been terrible I've Lost this much I've not you know my I'm Slipping down the because this thing Came out which was like a sort of point System of recent Tournament results Called the global poker index so it was A way to try and like rank players even Though it was a terrible actual metric Yep you know who's all it shows is like Who's been playing a lot recently in Caching but if you didn't if you didn't Play much and you'd drop down the Rankings but nonetheless my silly brain That loves to optimize for rankings as I Mentioned you know since kids looking am I number one in the exams I was obsessed With this and I Would yeah so I have a period of three Or four months with no results ah to Start feeling it and so the thing that Would be helpful would just sort of do You know zoom out okay so the last three Months of but let's look at the Last year okay it wasn't that good okay But three years ago I won that big one There and that was like Still above expectation and then prior To that and prior to that and generally Speaking just there will be a radius of Sort of time that you can you could go

Back to where things are actually Clearly on the positive So just choose that because it's up to You which perspective you choose that's That's what you can control you can't Necessarily control what life does but You can control the the time frame with Which you want to compare it of how it's Going you know where the trend line you Know is it is it doing this overall over A 10-year period or is it doing this Okay but let's look at 20 years or Whatever so that's frankly the most Useful one and it's also you know the Longer the time period the more Meaningful the data right especially in Poker you know the bigger the sample Size then the more relevant it is yeah So that that's the main one Um And then the other thing as well when You're especially when you're dealing With any kind of Any kind of sort of decision-making Process process that has luck involved Is Is to Before you even sort of stop playing Okay I'll just bring it back to the Poker as the analogy you know In between playing whether it's cash Games or tournaments in between the Actual action you need to be studying on Developing a good sort of thinking

Process when you when you place you know You do need to go and do your homework And what I found helpful was coming up With sort of Literally like a step-by-step process That I would follow during hand where You know which I know in a vacuum is the Optimal way of of thinking through a Problem and I'd work with a lot with Like my partner Igor who's much better Player than me and other Pros you know What's what is their step-by-step Process okay I'm going to try and Emulate this and work out what works for Me and then at the end of a tournament I Don't look back and see you know how Much I want or not I look back and to See how closely I adhered to that Process that I know is the optimal Process for me So basically just being process focused As opposed to results based Um and that's again that's what I that Became the new metric to measure Myself By and that was a much healthier way of Approaching it and it again built that Resilience and so on now if I was Spending a lot of time not following my Process then technically I should be Annoyed at myself Um but interestingly I never yeah Would never get that annoyed with myself I would not feel as bad about that as I Would for example if I was just looking

At the results yeah okay so you've got Your sponsorship deal you're flying Around these tournaments you've won the Women's European Championship Um just on that note But men players versus women players is There a Difference Advantage different styles of Thinking like in sports clearly there's Like you know that's why we have men's Women's leagues like what what is it Like in poker yeah Um it's such a Flip-flop on this too yeah on this topic Because Technically you know there is there's no Reason to have women's only tournaments It's not a physical game Um it's not you know there's no body Weight or height or strength advantage But for some reason The ratios certainly on like the high Stakes Circuit of males to females are Incredibly imbalanced we're talking like 97 to three wow okay it's about as Extreme as it gets And the reason why female you know women Only tournaments Continue to be popular seems to be that You know there's Women who'll come out and play those That wouldn't play necessarily in an Open tournament now I'm very In an Ideal World I don't I I can see

Arguments for both sides basically in an Ideal World we don't need those because It's like saying you know it's like oh We need our own special event because we Can't compete with the boys and I hate That that's a sort of narrative that can Be concluded from that yeah but at the Same time there's obviously some reason Going on why the ratios are so uh Imbalanced And you know this is now you know the Reasons behind this is a big point of Contention Um From you know from my experience it's a It's so it's you know the the arguments Are like oh it's all because of sexism And you know women are treated badly or It's it's just because women are not Interested and they don't find the game As fun as as men certainly not at high Stakes And the real answer is it's both it's a Bit it's a mixture of both Um certainly there's been plenty of Sexism I've been I've experienced plenty Of sexism throughout my you know Throughout my career But it's also very true that poker as a Game typically correlates more with what You would classically call like more Like masculine type personality traits So Uh things instead of people you know

Especially as the games become more and More analytical Um it's it you have to be willing to Just like go down the rabbit hole and Like just narrow focus on this one thing Um which tends to correlate more with Masculine traits but perhaps a more Notable thing it's a it's it's so It is so much a game that requires a Huge tolerance for risk which like I Mean just go look at a children's Playground The girls will be typically you know Playing nicer games with each other the Boys will be up a tree fighting you know Jumping off high things yeah now some Girls do that too I would happen to be One of those girls that love that kind Of stuff but again this is all averages But on average That tends to be more of a you know Higher risk tolerance correlates more With males and females Um and then the other thing as well is It's an incredibly Cut Throat Competitive game like you have to be You have to be a little bit Psychopathic Sometimes to be a really good poker Player but all because you know if you You're looking for the weakness in your Opponent right your opponent wants you Know it's their money that they want and You are trying to take it from them And again that typically correlates that

That like yeah I'm gonna beat you I'm Gonna look for your weakness and take You Get into your head and mess with you Don't get me wrong plenty of women can Be very good at that and can do that but It tends to that tends to correlate more With males so that's why I you know it Is the question is how much of it is due To the like the innate traits the the The the nature versus the nurture of Like the game has not always been the Most you know welcoming place for women Um Probably back in the day it was almost Entirely the the nurture reasons Um you know like the classic imagery of Po it was like a boys club thing Sometimes women literally weren't Allowed in you know poker rooms so Clearly like that was a whole nurture Thing going on yeah these days you know I I have been a beneficiary myself of All the sort of affirmative action Trying to get more women in had I been a Guy there's no way I would have had all The sponsorship deals I've had So it's been a real double-edged sword In the like I've clearly benefited Massively from it and there has been so Many great initiatives to get more women Into the game but we're still like and The ratios have improved I don't like Much better than they used to be but

Anyone who thinks it's going to get to 50 50 is absolutely delusional because It's just certainly maybe not like home Games you could probably get close to 50 50 in home games but when when talking About high stakes poker where there's a Lot of money on the line and it's really And it's so competitive these days in Cutthroat like it you're just it's just Not gonna happen Um and yeah so that's very long-winded Answer to say it's complicated yeah no That makes a lot of sense um Of people who are professional pokers These days poker players these days How much are people making from this Like what does it take to make a Full-time living from professional poker Um Well I guess it depends where you live Right Yeah I should caveat this now I've been Out of Poker for a number of years so I Actually I don't know Um But From what I recently heard the most the Biggest pool of players who are still Like trying to play online or like Really really grinding That are sort of new tend to come from More like Eastern Europe Or poorer countries yep which makes Sense right because you know it's

Harder to get by on you know you can get By on small amount of money there so it Makes sense for more people to go into Um you know into something like poker uh But yeah there's no there's no clear Answer it's almost to your personal Circumstances right And I guess if you're like let's say top 10 poker players in the world are these Guys making like hundreds of thousands Or like Millions like tens of millions Like what kind of ballpark are we Talking in terms of I guess Profitability so like Peak poker times Let's say like 2011-12 that's when all like the Nosebleeds uh we call them nosebleeds Games like the super high stakes online Games were happening Um They were making tens of millions wow Well yeah certainly like around 10 Million and then but this is all the Like sort of well-known ones probably The biggest winners in poker are the People who've been playing Just Like These underground big cash games with What we call Wales the lingo is you've Got fish who are like the bad players The amateurs you've got sharks who are The pros and then you've got whales who Are the very wealthy fish yep that makes Sense yeah Um and you know a lot of poker players

Some perhaps even some of the best poker Players we've probably never even heard Of because they are the ones who they Never play anything public they're just Seeking out these very juicy big cash Games against very wealthy people yeah Who knows how much they're winning there Yeah Um and or they might not even be Pros You know maybe the biggest winner of all Times probably some wealthy businessman Um wouldn't wouldn't surprise me you Know playing 20 30 million dollar buy-in games yep Yeah but certainly in terms of like Tournament poker players then it's like So the biggest tournament in the world Is the World Series of Poker Main Event Happens in Vegas every year Um first prize one year in that in 2006 Was like 12 million dollars but it's Typically around seven eight million Um so Yeah the like the the the the most Extreme end of the bell curve will be Someone somewhere in like the 10 10 to 15 million something like that cool so You've got your sponsorship deal right Now you're going around these Tournaments what's what's happening next Uh yeah going around the top going Around the that's where I got to like Travel so much got to go to Australia Um all over Europe

Costa Rica just having the best time and Then I'm in south of France in 2010 and Remember that Icelandic volcano yeah his Name I can have it yeah every little Exploded yeah and I was actually down There for another reason But I couldn't get home and I was there With another poker player A lady called Liz Liu and she's like well we can't Leave but there's a this big tournament A European pocatel happening in Italy Northern Italy should we try and let's See if we can make it to that Um so we get French rail strike or Whatever we eventually get there on the Train Um and I get remember we get there just In time for me to enter this satellite Tournament to the main event so it's a 500 euro buy-in Um One in ten people win their 5 000 Euro Seat and that's how much the buy-in is For the main event and I win it at like Four in the morning And then I play the next day at noon And I think it's only like my second or Third EPT the European Poker Tour event where It's like this so I'm not comfortable There's much higher Stakes than I'm used To playing really it's a 5 000 Euro Buy-in Um fairly inexperienced at it

And Long story short after six days of Playing I end up winning the whole thing No for 1.25 million euros bloody hell Damn okay what was that like mad Absolutely insane Um Yeah because especially as I didn't even Plan to play you know sorry I win my Seat so intently the 500 euros into the 5 000 and then you know day one was like Whatever I made it through but then day Two I think I got quite a decent chip Stack but then day three which is where There's like it had 1280 entrance and I Think You know the money bubble as we called It where you can start getting payout From that point onwards was about 230 People and I was around ship leader from That point onwards so I made it into the Money day three day four and I remember That final the night before the final Table So there was nine of us left Uh and that meant that going into the Next day I was guaranteed for ninth I Think around 80 000 Euros which was Probably double roughly what I had in my Bank account at the time so already just Like again we're talking life-changing Money here Um Uh

That night I think the sort of talking About like playing poker in your head I I don't even know if I slept frankly Because it was just all I could see was Poker hands and these scenarios and I Was so nervous the next day walking to The tournament I had to stop like Multiple times to throw up wow yeah yeah Like nerves Beyond nerves but when I Actually sat down and like felt the Cards in my hand just in the zone and The nerves sort of disappeared not Completely you know definitely a Heightened state But you just sort of entered this Flow State I guess at least that was my Experience and it all went right and I Won What was your um do you have like a sort Of pregame ritual or things to get you Into the zone you know like Michael Phelps does this thing right everyone Seems to have a routine of some sort I Think I was doing a meditation thing at The time where I'd listen to this track For 30 minutes where it was like have a Chime so Okay Pretty sure I had something like that Going on but I didn't have any Particular ritual I certainly did later On in my career Um I would have like certain music I would

Listen listen to metal song by band Called children of Bodum it would just Like pump me up give me energy uh I'd have a mantra Um for a little while I worked with a With a sort of with a coach Um and the Mantra we developed was I can't remember it now but it was Something like I will not worry about the results I Will focus on my process and the results Will take care of themselves you know so Getting you into that process focused Mindset Um which was so helpful Um yoga Try and sleep well although never been Very good at that Um yeah the usual stuff I mean there was A real shift again around sort of 2010 Where before you know the top Pros would Be You know they're playing until all hours Of the night they drink you know Whatever whatever and then there was Sudden like wellness push where the top Pros started treating themselves you Know like like professional athletes and You notice the difference like people Like all of a sudden everyone was Getting into yoga a lot of them are Meditating they're very healthy getting Really fit and strong Um and people just it was it was really

Impressive and I certainly got into that A lot more yeah and it helped Surprise surprise take care of your body And your mind you know follows along Surprise Um What were the feelings going the Thoughts and feelings going through your Mind as you're sitting there and as You're I guess as the game is Progressing and you're thinking oh I might actually win this Can you remember what that was like Well So I've told this story a couple of Times so the funny thing is is that On the very day one of that tournament Right before the cards would the first Cards were dealt I had a voice in my head that came Seemingly out of nowhere that said I Can't remember it said you or I which Seems kind of critical but to the effect Of you are going to win this tournament And I got this like wave of Goosebumps So Imagine that sort of being in the back Of your mind throughout the tournament Sort of giving it I didn't it was such a Strange experience that I didn't know Whether to take it seriously I was just Like okay cool but it definitely gave me This like sense of calm like I don't need to worry too much like the

This is mine this is my one to win And when things got stressful which they Invariably do like you lose half your You you know it's not like a smooth Sales you know as you slowly accumulate Everyone's chips until you're the last Man standing you're only like double up Oh lose it all you know lose 80 backup And but as long as the trend is this And having that in the back of my mind Definitely like took the edge off the Nerves when I would like lose a big pot Um it just gave this additional sort of Layer of confidence and yeah and then I Ended up winning it so I don't even know What that was Um you know the logical explanation is Is that it's something I would have Experienced before every tournament and I only happen to remember that because I Won that one but I really don't think That's the case because I've won other Things and I never had the same Experience so The biggest arguably the biggest mystery Of my life yeah I was gonna ask you more About this so uh was it you who told That story of having a friend who the Energy healer sucked something out of Their ear because I I can't was it Tim Ferriss or was it like less I think I Put it on both actually yeah like I Remember I remember hearing that a few Months ago and just I still think about

That every every few days I'm just like There's something around energy and the Spirituality stuff is like something There and I've kind of vaguely dabbled With meditation and like read waking up And stuff it's just it seems like such This world of interesting stuff that I'm Just like once I finish my book I just Want to explore this area and just go All in like what sort of Explorations Have you done in in the field of the Occult yeah I mean do you want me to Tell the story yeah Please Um so Yeah this this air thing that happened Was Um I've been having It was 2018 And one morning I woke up and I was Having sort of sound Distortion it was I Felt like something like my ear was Muffled Um I couldn't hear properly like low Frequencies it was like having cotton Wool in there but then on top of that Certain sounds would be really distorted In a very unpleasant way particularly Men's voices Um and it was really upsetting because I I I you know I'm a pretty social person And whenever it was happening I couldn't Go to parties or anything because it was

It was just it was so unbearable it was Like simultaneously being deaf but also Having a megaphone of like in a really Unpleasant way Um and it would come in clusters like I Would have it for a few days and it Would disappear and it would come back Again and I went and saw doctors and Doctors and the In the end it seemed like the diagnosis Was many heirs which you know for those Who don't know it's like a pretty awful Degenerative hearing loss thing where You'll also get like Distortion and Often like vertigo attacks So you know we're doing tons of research Like is there anything you can do about This no it's incurable you can maybe try And manage it but Um cut to like three months later and Matt Burning Man and I'd actually had Like another attack of it and including Some vertigo So I was like so down in the dumps I Remember in the last night of the burn The burn Burning Man and I get talking to this girl now I was not Sober take that for what it will but I Uh I was talking to this girl and I Mentioned about my ear and she's like Well I've done some energy healing do You want me to have a go I was like sure Now I was as skeptical as you get about This stuff even though I had that weird

Poker tournament experience aside of That you know I'd like I've called Myself a rationalist physics background It's all woo-woo nonsense no Time for this stuff But I was in such a desperate State I Was like sure have a go Not expecting anything and she's like Feeling around over my ear with her hand Um you know it's kind of in the dark so Memory's a little slightly hazy but I Remember him being there and she's like Oh there's something there let me I'm Gonna have to do this it's gonna be Unpleasant and she leans in and starts Like over my ear With her mouth and I'm like please stop Because it's like loud like I don't like This she's like I've got to get it she Does this for a few minutes and then Sort of drops to the floor freezing cold Very scared like seemingly scared and Like discomfort and she's like oh this Is horrible okay and then after we sort Of try and warm her up and make her feel Better after about 20 minutes and she's Like well I've definitely pulled something out of You it's gone you don't need to worry About it Um Uh and I was like and at this point I'm Now like really freaked out because I've Never seen anything like this uh and she

I remember asking I was like well at Least am I is my ear better she's like Yeah your physical symptoms will last For a couple of weeks probably and then You'll be fine and that's exactly what Happened My hearing is I had a hearing test for I don't know Six months ago no noticeable loss So What the And it was Again talk about like Paradigm shifting Moment like it just blew My entire understanding of what might be Reality open because I was like wait it Maybe energies are real and not only That maybe you can have negative ones or Positive you know they could be positive Or negative and and you could fix things In another way a side of Medicine And it was so I mean it was disorienting for a while Frankly like I went through a bit of Just being very scared of like okay well You know I being like concerned about like what Energies am I letting into myself and so On Um and then sort of found a middle Ground of I guess You know poker teaches you to think About things probabilistically right

You'll never you can never be certain About anything like I I think you're Bluff I I haven't as my prediction is You're bluffing me here with like 30 Confidence something like that it's 40 Of the time you have a better hand or Whatever That's how I now approach this stuff I Think With some percentage and it depends on The day that there's a classical Explanation for what happened was that You know maybe I was in such a Heightened State you know Placebo maybe I'd had like a viral infection which Actually just that's what was the cause And it faded away there's all of those Probabilities and like I I'm certainly Willing to entertainment but you know if PRI if my prior before that the energy Healing was a thing was around you know One in a million yeah let's say it's now Shifted to Honestly like 40 which is a huge like Orders of magnitude change Um also because now since I've been like More open to it I've noticed you know I've I've paid attention to like other Friends who did Dealt with similar things and it clearly Brings a benefit now what's causing that Benefit I don't know but there is Extreme value in it and I think it's Something that is worth studying so much

Um and now again I want this to come Like it needs to come with a huge caveat That like don't expect there to be a Magical sort of you know because Unfortunately after telling the story I've had people message me like I've got Many as who was the person who did this For you you know and I can't like I Can't give that you know I I can't help Um and I don't I want to you know I Don't know that I had many errors all I Know is that that was what the Experience was I was diagnosed with Something like it and it went away after This but again causally we don't know But There's clearly potential here they're Like we really don't understand how Consciousness works we don't understand The power of the human mind anywhere Near as much Um as we should and it is so worthy of Study That we we need to just it It feels like this There's a sort of Unfortunately a lot of the people who Are best equipped to actually sort of Apply the scientific method to this Stuff are not open to even considering It in the first place and that's where We need to address that's the sort of Imbalance we need to address This episode is very kindly brought to

You by wework now this is particularly Exciting for me because I have been able Paying customer of wework for the last Two years now I discovered it during you Know when the pandemic was in the on the Verge of being lifted and I spent like The whole year just sort of sitting in My room making YouTube videos but then I Discovered wework and I was a member of Me and Angus my team members we were Members of the wework in Cambridge and They have like hundreds of other Locations worldwide as well and it was Incredible because we had this fantastic Beautifully designed office space to go To to work and we found ourselves like Every day just at nine o'clock in the Morning just going to wework because it Was a way nicer experience working from The co-working space than it was just Sitting at home working these days what Me and everyone on my team has is the All-access pass which means you're not Tied to a specific wework location but It means you can use any of their Several hundred co-working spaces around London around the UK and also around the World and one of the things I really Love about the co-working setup is that It's fantastic as a bit of a change of Scenery so these days I work from home I've got the studio at home but if I Need to get some focused writing work Done and I've been I'm feeling a bit

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Forward slash Ali and you can use the Coupon code Ali at checkout Ali to get 50 off your first booking so thank you So much wework for sponsoring this Episode so You become an overnight millionaire Sorry were you gonna say something uh Well I was gonna say another thing I Found that actually helps me uh and I've Noticed help other friends if you're Having anxiety Sounds dumb but like dropping to the Ground Barefoot ideally outside grass Barefoot hands and feet And just like sort of rock backwards and Forwards and push into the ground And just imagine your anxiety is just Being dissipated into the Earth kind of Like a you know A lightning rod essentially you know You're grounding yep Does the trick yeah So You become an overnight millionaire Thanks for winning this tournament What was that like The next week after that win was Again one of the most insane weeks Imaginable because Uh I don't know whether it was because the Papers picked up on it themselves or Because of the tournament organizer Pushed it you know made a press release

But Somehow it got into the into the National papers especially especially in The UK Uh you know because I was just like Strange looking 25 year old girl come Out of nowhere wins a million pounds in A poker tournament and that's cool yeah Yeah it was a good story and so there Was like a period of like four or five Days where I was on the Frank front page Of almost every major newspaper Like the Daily Mail turned up like they Found out my parents address and turned Up at the house Um came and took pictures of my like Childhood pictures Grant you know Graduation pictures and and I mean it Was fun it was really cool but it was Just like my phone was ringing non-stop For interviews Um so that was very intense and very you Know it was it was definitely enjoyable Uh and then After that that was yeah so this was When I was like oh no maybe poker stars Because that was that was their Tournament as well and remember I said That had always been my goal to become a Team pro for them uh and a few months Later you know they offered me a a spot On their roster so uh then I joined them And then for the next few years you know Played as one of their team Pros

Um and it was some of the best years of My life Just like it's like this big traveling Family Um of you know some of my closest Friends who continue to be good friends To this day where we were just you know Okay see you in See you in Australia see you in Vegas See you in Monaco Um and you know you just followed the Tour playing in the events doing you Know doing media that kind of stuff Um yeah Did the That initial windfall change your Relationship with money in any way No not that much weirdly like I I'd Always been we have a term in poker Where you call someone who's like kind Of tight and cautious with money a net And I'd been on the nettier side of Things throughout uh it was it was a Weird sort of false scarcity mindset Frankly I was definitely a bit tighter With money than I should have been Um and it did it took me a while to sort Of You know I definitely didn't suddenly go All right let's go crazy Um in terms of like buying lavish things Um I've never been into like Particularly brands or you know Expensive clothing or anything like that

Um I didn't even buy a new car in fact For like a while uh what I didn't spend Money on was like I bought a house I Bought an apartment in London Um which was you know that was nice and My parents were very pleased Something sensible please okay so Um so yeah I can't say my attitude to Money changed that much but what did Change was my attitude to Poker Particularly my attitude to learning you Know studying and working hard because Kind of like you know on that TV show Back in 2005 where I had the the win I Was like well I guess I'm God's gift That old uh on Health on unhelpful Meme Sort of resurfaced in my head and I was Like well I must be the best at this Because like or at least I must be in so Insanely talented to win such a big Tournament still relatively early on um So I became a bit just got a bit lazy For a period of time Uh and That you know like with many things if You don't carry on studying everyone Else is studying so the game will slowly Start to overtake you and and that Coupled with a bit of regression to the Mean That like the next year actually my well Next six or seven months my results were Definitely sub like sub-optimal Um and it was a bit of a again I needed

Another wake-up call Yeah in this on this occasion with some Friends sort of sitting me down and Going live you you need to carry on Studying like you did just it was just One tournament don't get deluded by you Know that that incredible success Um so that was another nice little life Life lesson period So you won this tournament 2010 and then I guess you become a member of the poker Stars pokerstar Squad and then what's What is the rest of the Thing look like so that carries on Um in terms of just poker I was sort of Concurrently doing trying to get into uh TV presenting so I was doing presenting In poker like Um interviewing people introducing the Show Etc uh but I started feeling uh I Started missing science again frankly uh And So started doing the occasional Science TV Hosting and you know completely Unrelated things from poker and I loved That and Um And then around 2014 Is when uh Igor and I get introduced to Effective altruism cool and we decided To start an organization that basically Encourages poker players to donate a Portion of their winnings to the most

Cost-effective Charities yeah how did You get into effective altruism Um so well first I'll Define what it is Because you know some people have Probably heard of it and there's a lot Of like confusing Yeah people don't seem to have a clear Definition of it but at least my Definition of it is It's basically the question of like Applying the well given there are so Many different problems in the world so Many Um and ideally we would be able to fix Them all straight away but because we Have limited resources time money brain Power Um we have to kind of triage these these Problems and figure out which ones you Know are most urgent which affect the Most people Um and which we can actually make a Difference on and so effective altruism Is essentially just that that process of Of trying to Use logic and reason to figure out how To best allocate resources Um and so it's like it's like the Scientific method applied to Philanthropy and it like just it deeply Resonated with you know me and Egon and Phil and Stefan who was you know the Other two co-founders of the org Um like Stefan he'd be actually been

Doing it for a while he was giving away Like huge percentages I think almost all Of his winnings above a certain amount To these cost-effective Charities Because he's just like well look I don't Need more than this and I you know the The evidence is out there like for every Roughly around four thousand five Thousand dollars you donate say to Against malaria Foundation you on Expectation save a literal life So it's like would you you know if you Saw someone dying in the street and it Would mean that you would I know would You sacrifice your car to like save Someone who you see is about to die Probably right not always again I'm not Saying you have to do that but the point Is For every four thousand dollars you Donate you will on expectations save a Life so it's just like From his perspective he's like okay well I'm going to be donating you know this Made enough sense to him that he Decided to sort of dedicate his poker Career to making as much as he could to Give away and We he introduced us to these this this Group of uh Swiss philosophers whose Full-time living was researching Basically what are the most cost Effective Um Charities you know what are the best

Ways to improve the world And it and it just resonated so much That we decided to you know try and Basically bring this to the poker Community because we felt like these These Concepts would resonate a lot with Poker players who are used to thinking In terms of return on investment Expected value Um you know Allocating their personal time and money As best in the most sort of cost Efficient and effective manner Um to maximize their profits at the Poker table when it's the same process For like your charitable giving and it You know by and large poker players you Know they got it uh they they really Resonated as well so we started this Thing called raising for Effective Giving absolutely pun on you know Raising Etc oh yeah and um So we To be a member A pledge to say you'll donate at least Two percent of your winnings Um I think it's quarterly or annually Um or whatever you felt but basically Just join the movement and like give What you can Um and Uh over you know by the time we sort of All quit poker and we sort of sunsetted It back in like 2019 uh it moved about

14 million dollars to these Charities Pretty like counter Factory as well like Money that wouldn't have gone Um and then even better uh Dan Smith Who's another very very successful poker Player uh sort of took these same Principles and started his own thing Called double up Drive which has been Even more successful I don't know like I Think it's in a probably over 20 million Dollars he's moved Um to again like Very cost effective Charities a lot of Them similar ones overlapping to what Reg was doing um which is our our Organization Um But yeah so that was that was a really Interesting sort of moment in my career Because up until then really everything I'd been doing was very Zero Sum right Poker is by definition zero-sum game yep You know I win you lose And I It was around sort of That time around 2013 where I was like It's like is this really what I want to Do for the mic is that's what I want on My gravestone you know she was really Good at check raising people in this Certain position like you know the world Seems to be more of a positive something I think there's probably better uses of What I'm doing than just playing

Um and yeah so for a period of time Raising for Effective giving sort of Found a way to like make a win-win after What seems like a win news game yeah Yeah because I guess you know as we Talked about at the start the stuff that You're a super into now is kind of Raising awareness of positive some uh Kind of situations and win-win thinking Yeah Having it as just a philosophy like a Sort of a guide star like is what I'm Doing a win-win thing or is it a Win-lose or actually could it be a Lose-lose and like really trying to be Honest with yourself to think about the Externalities of whatever it is you're Doing because in reality there's no such Thing as an actual zero-sum game like It in in in in physicality I should say You know if we play a game of chess yes Technically One of us will win one will lose Um so that evens out but In practicality there are external you Know we'll both get better at chess Maybe we'll become better friends maybe We'll actually hate each other you know Have a big argument Um so there's always externalities even To these zero-sum games that we might Play and it's I think an error to not truly Factor Those in and we can expand the

Definition of games as well like You know Technically any kind of interaction that You do you could consider it as a game You know so if you are a Trader yeah Technically you're playing the trading Game if you're a scientist It's you're playing the science game Um you know and certainly some Industries are more like inclined to be Positive some or negative some Um but it's it's it's important that we Sort of just take a step back and really Ask ourselves that you know whether Whether the industry that we are you Know or the career path we are choosing Is actually going to benefit the world Are we are we just optimizing for what's Like the short-term win game for us Um and it's like it's okay you know if You if you do decide no you know what I Just want to do something that is Immediately beneficial to me Um I'm not saying that's wrong but like Don't delude yourself that you're doing Something good at least just like have That as an awareness in your back in the Back of your mind How does poker with Partners work people With Partners yeah as an is is there Like a tag team type situation well or No not usually okay Um but there is a particular format Called you know called tag team poker

Which Um I mean varies but the way the one Uh are you asking because of the Tournament I won yeah 21 with with Partner and boyfriend Igor yeah yeah What was that uh so the way that one Worked was in between hands so not During a hand but in between a hand uh At the end of a hand you could tap out And tag your partner in and you had to Both play a minimum amount throughout The tournament Um but yeah Igor and I won our bracelets In in that bracelet yeah so there's a if You win a World Series of Poker yep Tournament then it's called winning a Bracelet and you get this like gold Bracelet thing yeah and that was again One of my biggest goals in poker was to Win a bracelet and so for us to win both Our first bracelets together was just Painfully cute yeah Um and yeah it was really really fun how Did your New York meet uh we met through Poker funny enough actually we the first Times we have a cross paths as far as we Know was on like day three of that big European poker tournament in Italy Um he says he remembers me I I don't Actually remember him apparently we're Only at the table you know against each Other for a couple of hours Um and I think I won a couple of parts

Off him but uh yeah I mean I presumably Stuck out you know very few girls Playing and then I win the tournament Um so that was when we first crossed Files but we uh we became friends Sometime in like 2012. Um and again yeah we just became really Good friends he lived near me in London Um and it wasn't until like Being friends for a couple of years that We ever like got romantic Um and actually I was kind of like Resistant to it because it was like he Was such a close friend I was like no no This is weird like you know you're Almost like You're my bro like uh but there was Clearly something there and then when it Did turn romantic it was just like oh Obviously yeah and then we've just been Inseparable since oh nice yeah because People often want uh often worry about That I think girls in particular worry About that situation more than guys do Around like oh but we're good friends And this could potentially ruin a Friendship yeah yeah Um I guess it's worked out well it's one Of those I guess risks that well it was Partly because I was just like I wanted to be single for a while Um you know I hadn't had much time Single and just wanted to sort of I'd had like a bad come out of a bad

Relationship and and He I I knew that if we did ever turn Romantic it was going to be a big deal Either way and I just loved our Friendship that we had and um and I Think he felt the same way too you know Not saying it was all one-way Street or Anything Um but Uh yeah I don't know it was it was Definitely very In this again selection bias like I'm Coming from you know this happened to be The one that worked out so well Um but it it was just it was just that Like uh duh when when we finally were Like okay we're a thing yeah Um and yeah it was great so unit Igor Started playing then together as like Tag team partners well no so that that Tag team tournament I think that was the First year they ever ran it right Um as far as them were and it's it's a Very rare like it's literally like I mean it's probably like one in a Thousand but less even oh okay one in Five thousand poker tournaments are Attack team they're really just like They're kind of like a novelty style of Event Um so it is poker is very much an Individualistic game but that doesn't Mean that like Poker players don't benefit from you

Know not at the table but us when you Know when they're away doing their Homework working together kind of as Like a you know as a Brain Trust as a Research group there's a lot of that Um especially sort of back in you know Around the 2010s there would be like Just you know oh the Germans who are the Best at the moment I was the Germans are The best yeah yeah and they like you'd See the different sort of strategies Arise out of the different groups Um because you know like with so many Problems more Minds more minds are Better than one yeah Um and there was there's there's long Been this like really collaborative Spirit within the game which is also Then so interesting because you know They'll be best friends Who've been studying together but then They'll end up at the table against each Other oh yeah and then the gloves are Off you know at least but it should be Off Um and like certainly Igor and I on the Rare occasions where we have ended up at The same table as each as each other Oh If anything we go after each other Harder than others You know partly because people are Always like scrutinizing you like oh Well you know you're a couple that's

This is so you have to really make sure That you do but the foundation of our Relationship is on Competition We also we've we find a way to turn Competitive we find a way to Turn almost every Endeavor into some Kind of competition we gamify everything Even like we're really into bouldering Right now and we talk at each other Non-stop like that it's truly like oh That's our love language Um because we're just both incredibly Competitive people and I think that that's one of the cool Things about poker players is that they Find a way to like Compartmentalize You know again like best friends can be Playing against each other like bluffing The hell out of one another taking money Like getting under each other's skin and Then once you leave the tournament They're like I'm around each other oh Are you in that handed oh yeah but I Would have done that this way And you know drinking and then they're Back at it again the next day and it's It's such a it's a really hard skill to Cultivate but I think it's a really Important one to be able to go okay well This is where we express this Competitive side of our nature but then Still value cool you know collaboration

Above All Else yeah So in 2019 uh you announced that you Were gonna quit professional poker What led to that being the decision I Get in how long were you playing for at That point like over a decade oh yeah Yeah uh yeah like Pro Yeah like 11 years or so 12 years Um I've been starting to lose my fire For poker sort of from 2015 onwards Honestly Um because you know as I mentioned Before it the the way that the game was Played and studied had just drastically Shifted Um into this more More like rote learning at least that's How it felt And and less it felt like it was getting Sort of less creative it was like you Now we understood the mechanics of how The game plays you see the rabbit hole And the question is do you want to go Down the rabbit hole and so it kind of Like took away a bit of the mystery and It was you know again less about sort of People reading and even though that's Still important you know you couldn't Make it as a player like a top Pro Unless you were really studying the Charts as well and it just I don't know whether that was you know Whether my sort of loss of love for the Game around that time was because of

That or maybe just because I've been Doing it too long you know all things we Tend to get bored of things eventually Um but either way I just started losing Interest to like try and stay on top Um not that I ever was on top but you Know like stay the best version of my Myself that I could be as a player Um and you know frankly I I kind of wish I'd quit earlier than 2019. you know it Was it was sort of like it was just like A cushy life you know I still had my Sponsorship deal Um I couldn't imagine another life from That so much of my identity was wrapped Up in you know as live the poker Pro who Goes on tour and go you know I couldn't Like wait I would I would miss the uh I I would miss the EPT Final in Monaco Like inconceivable I've been going for The last nine years all my friends are Gonna be there am I really not going to Go Um and so it's kind of hard to make that Leap and I see a lot of poker players Frankly today who are like Going through the same thing and it's Just so hard to hang up your hat because It's like you're now stepping into the Big unknown you're a big fish in a small Pond and now you're a tiny fish in an Ocean of uncertainty which frankly we Should be good at dealing with but it's

It's still hard Um But yeah and and it was I I mean I Technically like stopped playing Properly sort of around 2018 frankly but It was I think it was 2019 when my poke Stars contract expired and they didn't Want to renew and frankly I don't know If I would have wanted to and I'm glad You know it was it was time Uh to move on but yeah it's hard and it Was only it was funny I went back and Played in uh December For the first time in ages And I was playing this lovely Big World Poker Tour Championship and you know the Players on you know on average were very Amateur And I was like wow I'm not any better than most of these People anymore like right the muscle Memory has just while it's still there Like it's just so Rusty and like Struggling to add you know I used to be Able to add up the pot like that like Instantaneous count combos boom and it Was just like I could hear the rusty Gears like drying but not even really Not sure if they can remember how to And it was a nice moment I was like I'm Not a good poker player anymore great And it was actually very freeing just Being able to like say that to myself And say it out loud because it was such

A big part of my identity Um yeah How did you navigate that identity that Sudden loss of identity when you no Longer this this life that you've been Leading for 11 years Is no longer your day-to-day It was it was actually easier than I Expected it to be like the anticipation Of it was worse than the reality Um you know it partly coincided with Um Yeah it sort of coincided with my I met a new group of friends around both Eager and I met a new group of friends Around that time and they were just like Clear we were clearly being pulled in a Sort of more you know a different Direction uh more you know again a more Positive some direction yeah to do you Know to try and help Help with some of these big sort of uh Catastrophic risks the the that we're Facing you know and we felt you know we Both felt both felt so pulled to go into That it it like I guess lubricated the Ride out Um so yeah it was it wasn't too hard How much how much was money a decision In terms of like deciding what you Needed to do next or like had you made Enough from poker to just not have to Work like What was the vibe yeah I mean certainly

Not enough to like retire from yeah but Enough to be like I can take a year or Two and breathe right yes okay take a Couple of years to breathe Um and think about you know what what's What's the next thing yeah and actually This this coincide another thing that Made it easier I started giving talks As a sort of you know a way of Disseminating the thinking lessons that Poker had taught me Um I gave a TED Talk Um and turns out that you do a TED talk It's a really really good Um Sizzle reel yep for companies you Know to show companies hey look I can Talk about this stuff would you like me To come and talk to your to your Employees or to your clients yes we Would and we'll pay you some money Um so Simultaneously my speaking career Started sort of taking off Um and I guess like you know as a as a Public intellectual whatever you want to Call it yeah that again helps soften the Blow because I could like I still could Sort of somewhat have the Hat of I'm I'm A pro poker player but without actually Having to play and instead actually Doing something more useful again much More useful yeah it's much more positive Some use of of the sort of

Of the game So over the last few years it seems like You've taken a big interest in AI in Particular or potentially over the last Few months I've just seen a few YouTube Videos and you've mentioned in Interviews and on socials how did the Interest in AI start I mean it started I guess around you Know when I first Learned about effective altruism and you Know when on a reading spiral of all the All the different sort of directions That you can take because you know There's so much what's so cool about the Effects of altruism Community is that There's like very little agreement Because it's because it's so difficult You know that it's we don't even know What correct moral framework is you know Is it deontology is it virtue ethics is It utilitarianism we don't know but Let's try and figure it out and so you Know some people come to the conclusion That actually the most effective thing We can do is like Global Health in the World's poorest countries you know Poverty alleviation really strong Arguments for that there's really strong Arguments that actually you know the Same amount of money can save a thousand Times as many animals from like a life Of torture on a factory farm there's a Strong moment for that there's also a

Strong argument that actually the best Thing is you know these it seems like There's a problem a growing probability That we go extinct from our own Technologies Over the next Century so actually that's The most expected value High expected Value thing you can do and there's There's so much disagreement amongst That so in reading all of the arguments For these things one that pops up is Like Where you seem to be on this inexorable March of creating more and more powerful Artificial intelligence and There there's a possibility that if you Buy you know if you if you do Successfully build something that by Definition is super intelligent is much More in you know orders of magnitude More intelligent than any of us that for The same reason Even though a chimpanzee is much Physically stronger than a human We can just draw a fence around it and Control it because we're much smarter it Will be able to we it will be able to do Things and predict things that we Couldn't even dream of so we're Essentially creating a kind of alien god And that's like the most high stakes Thing that's ever happened on Earth We should probably even if we think it's Only a small chance of happening we

Should probably spend at least some Resources on making sure that goes well Because there's no guarantee that super You know intelligence correlates with Like wisdom or kindness or fairness or Caring about biological matter or even Existing You know because a super intelligence an AI lives off silicon we rely on carbon So we're fundamentally operating on Different substrates so there's a chance This might not go well and even if you Think that chance is very very tiny you Know considering we're spending like 500 million on lipstick a year maybe we Should just put a little bit you know Into this yeah Um so that was sort of what got me Thinking and also because the other the Other interesting thing about AI as well It's not all potentially negative it Could be the best thing we ever make as Well it might be the answer to so many Of our problems because so many of these Issues that we're facing are our Inability to coordinate There are so many you know there's eight Billion of us on this planet all with Conflicting interests and desires even Though we're on the big picture we Actually all want the same thing we all Want love and An oxygen-rich environment and food and Shelter and and you know the the

Hierarchy of needs But On a short term sort of day-to-day scale We all have differing incentives and We're all playing sort of Trapped in Different games whether it's a Money-making game or the prestige game Or whatever And how do we navigate this when we're Simultaneously Giving more and more power Which could be used for good but also Could be used for massive destruction to More and more people Um so you know once you sort of go down The rabbit hole of that it's hard to see It you know it's like this like how can We be thinking about anything about this Um at least again not saying that's what You have to do but that was my Experience Um Yeah what was I going with that we're Talking about kind of how you first got Interested in the AI stuff I guess Through the effect of altruism route Yeah so I mean that was just one of the Things that like stuck out I was like Wow this is a big deal and I remember Reading like Um a lot of Elias yukowski's writing on Less wrong which talks about Um you know he's been sounding the alarm On on AI since the early 2000s

And you know it's like okay yeah this Makes sense again even if we give it a Low probability we need some people to Be thinking about it and especially like Even today when people have been talking About AI safety now for years The ratio of like money that's spent on Pure progress versus safety is like 500 to one yeah certainly more than 100 To one it might be thousands to one Frankly So there's like this huge gap Where there's like someone it's so Desperately needed more people working On on the just the sort of the safety Side of stuff What's called the Alignment problem getting it to be Aligned with what's good for Humanity Um And you know that's not to say I'm like Not knocking any like the companies that Are working on AGI development you know Artificial general intelligence you know The ones that are currently leading the Charge Um you know certainly the folks at Deepmind like they're thinking about This deeply deeply deeply but they're Just one company there's so many others That are all now trying to be there First and Again coordination problem how do you How do you They're all playing this game of who can

Get there how do you keep the Externalities to a minimum the negative Externalities if everyone's optimizing For Speed Because if you know like well if we Don't get there first they're going to Get their first Donuts yeah so yeah uh It's it's it's a challenge yeah no Absolutely Um I guess yeah especially it's it's it Seems like the AI progress conversation Has really been kickstarted in the last Few months with the whole like gpt3 chat GPT type stuff and now everyone on Twitter is like oh my God like now we See the power of AI right finally people Are waking up to it Space Invaders and Like okay fine but I was like oh Like this is actually replacing people's Jobs and oh right I can ask it a Question and it responds like a human Yeah it was like it's giving something Because the thing is like the the sort Of the super intelligence thing you know The AGI yeah I mean it's fair it is fair to question That it might not even be possible you Know but what's the you know watch at GPT and and Dolly and all of these have Shown as like we don't even you know we Don't even have to get to AGI to know That this is going to be the most the The AIS we're having now are clearly Going to disrupt industry after industry

After industry And it's like at an at an accelerating Rate of change And we are just not reacting fast enough To this Um in terms of like if you care about Sort of stability to an extent and we Need some degree of stability like Um you know I'm not saying we should Just like stay in lockstep with what We're currently doing really we need to Fix a lot of things but Again fine line between Order and Chaos And we've got to mitigate the chaos Direction a little bit Nice so we talked to um at the start Around kind of your I guess day job Being uh with the Center for Effective Altruism is that right yeah well so uh Uh I Um I guess technically I'm an employee Uh an ambassador For Longview philanthropy Um whose main focus is existential risk Reduction You know how do we mitigate so many of These Growing threats not only from emerging Technology but climate change Environmental destruction So that The next couple of generations Have a world to live in yeah Um and again it's there's a lot of

Dissent you know about is are these Threats happening in the next 10 years Or are they happening in the next Hundred years in my opinion there's not Much difference between the two I mean The 10 years affects me personally but Like I intend to have children probably So I would like them to have a life and Their grandkids Um but it you know it's it's anyone who Says to you oh we're fine the next the Next 20 years are fine like their head Is in the sand or anyone who says to you We're definitely going to die in the Next five years they're a little Overconfident the point is there's Enough uncertainty that it's it's Clearly a big problem and so yeah long Views uh focus is mitigating these risks Um but usually through like advising Donors on on opportunities to you know What good projects to fund um another Big area that's really like should be on All of our minds is like pandemic Preparedness Like Covert is small fry Compared to what could potentially be Coming because again we are developing More and more you know with biotech Developments more and more capabilities That over time will become more and more Available to more people Um and we are you know whether you

Believe covert was natural origin or lab Leak doesn't really matter the point is At some point the probability of Artificially Enhanced or entirely synthesized Pathogens Is going to be widespread and you know If it falls into the wrong hands that Would be concerning so Um Yeah that's another very neglected cause Area Um but um Yeah yeah after after I went to the Longview Retreat a few months ago I Ended up reading a book uh the Bomb by Fred Kaplan which is about the history Of the nuclear bomb and how that's uh Progressed from World War II onwards Till now and that was really scary and So ring as well like oh my God it's not Fun It was all about my Disney film yeah Exactly let's play some Ed Sheeran yeah Good times The trouble is with like when you talk About when you mention like existential Risk the first thing people's minds go To is like oh yeah asteroids oh super Volcano yep I'm like I wish it was just Those those are the easy ones because They're coming from a single source It's like okay there's an asteroid Coming right get together why am I going

To build a thing lasers whatever the you Know the technique at least it's like a Physical thing that you and a single Point you can work on even something Like a super volcano would still feel Probably a bit easier than these Coordinate the other risks that are Coming from coordination failure yeah And these like again these unhealthy Competitive pressures Those are the hard ones and that's what We need as many people thinking about How to like how we need like a hive mind Solution essentially because it's a hive Mind problem yeah Yeah so let's say someone's listening to This and they're like damn this is Really important what are some kind of Actions that people like normal people Can can take I mean probably The main The first thing I would recommend is Just to to read so to try and understand The problem as best possible Um or listen to so some good people Some good podcasts inside of this one Obviously to recommend um and a side of Mine that will be coming out hopefully Soon Um Are the 80 000 hours podcast absolutely Incredible really sort of very very deep Dive on sort of individual problems that

Seem to be you know very high stakes Um with like leading leading experts Um and then some like General thinkers That Have informed so much of my thinking Especially over the last few years Um Daniel schmaxenberger I don't know if you've heard of him uh Jordan Hall These guys are they they do a lot of Sort of public public-facing stuff and They are truly some of the best like Real sort of systems thinkers like Deeply holistic thinkers who Both you know background and like Hardcore background in science technical Knowledge Um but are also willing to like they Have the again this like open-mindedness To perhaps the more esoteric stuff And some of uh Like I remember watching this talk by Daniel schmachtenberger on emergence Just search for his name and then Emergency you'll find it yeah we'll put A link down below as well um And that sort of like it just it was Again a little light bulb moment I was Like oh there's there's some there's Some there's something here but just Listen to honestly any of his interviews Um particularly around civilizational Risk uh uh to talking about this concept

That has become referred to as molok Which is more like essentially the god Of uh unhealthy competition to give it a Face yep Um you know in reality it's just a Collection of game theoretic forces Um you know again this like what the bad Incentives that make people optimize for The short-term goal at the cost of the Long-term whole So a good example of mollock would be Oh no so like in terms of like a bad System design uh is that you're in a Stadium and everyone's watching a you Know football game Everyone's sitting down so it's kind of Like a static State everyone's Reasonably comfortable but then someone Near the front you know actually they Just want like a little bit of a better View so they stand up to just get Themselves that short-term Edge over Everyone else but because of the design Of the system that forces the people Behind them to stand up you know they Have a choice like if they want to Continue sort of playing the game and Watch you know in this case you know Continue watching the game they have to Stand up too but then they screw the People behind them and so on until you Know that one person sort of Selfish action of course is everyone to Have to stand up and there's no way for

Everyone to then sit down again without Some like God's eye view like magical Coordination you know someone over the Tanoi say hey everyone sit down Um so that would be an example of like a Monarchy system where It's very vulnerable it's very easy to Like it's like a ball perch on top of a On top of a hill yep it's not in a it's Not in an equilibrium where it's in the Bottom where it's like stable it's Actually a very unstable equilibrium and It just takes a little nudge from like One slightly selfish act for the whole Thing to fall down and unfortunately That's how so many of our systems are Designed they're not in a stable Equilibrium at the bottom of a hill They're like precariously balanced like Uh and So that that's sort of one definition of Malik right and then another way of Thinking about this like unhealthy Competition thing is like the uh The sort of mindset that gives rise to People doing that because again even With that football situation If the person at the front had just a Little bit more like awareness and were A little bit less you know Self-interested and just thought about How they're you know how this would Affect the entire system then also the Problem wouldn't have happened so

Defeating this this like is the Technical word for it is a multi-polar Trap Um you know which uh just just Google it Um but Sorry The yeah the technical term for this Thing is is this phenomenon is a Multi-polar trap but it's a bit of a Mouthful and I like uh there was this Really great blog actually this is what People should go and read to understand This blog called meditations on mollock Uh written by Scott Alexander Uh his website was once called slay star Codex it's now astral code X10 but just Google meditations on molok and read That That is the best primer to this like This these forces of game theory that Create so many of these these sort of Issues in our society and it the same Thing applies you know as I mentioned Before deforestation the farmer might he Might not want to cut down the forest on His on his land but He needs to make money and it's the most Valuable resource he has and he's like Well look I'm it's only this little Patch doesn't mean everything else is Going to go but if everyone thinks that Way then and you know if he does if his Neighbor does it well now he's Definitely got to do it because his

Neighbor's getting richer and Um so it's you know once you see this Thing you know once you understand the Process behind it You every time you see there's an issue Like it more often than not it's caused By this same process so to create a sort Of sustainable Society moving forward we Need to figure out how to solve these Coordination problems So that can come either I guess through People becoming more aware of them and Their own molokian incentives or Whatever the phrases Um yeah also systems design like the Tanoi guy being like hang on I have the Chance to influence everyone right well That would be a very like top-down Centralized approach but even better Would be to just redesign the stadium Somehow and I don't know what that would Look like redesign the landscape of the System so that It doesn't just take one person to like Defect essentially you know do the Do the selfish action in the prisoner's Dilemma which you know this is what it Is right a multi-way presence dilemma it We need systems that aren't vulnerable To you know the worst the the the worst Aspects of human nature Um because that's you know well while we Can definitely raise the sanity water Line and get more people thinking in a

More like win-win way Um you know in a more like Less adversarial way we're always you Know that what is the percentage of Psychopaths in the population it's like One percent right that There will always be people who end up Not even that states don't really Through like bad action you know bad Intent but just because of their life Situation have no other feel like they Have no other choice Um so we need to design systems that are Robust and essentially align even the People who only want to act selfishly Align their incentives with the good of A whole and it's very very hard to do But it's not impossible And that's so that's a long way of Saying like well if you want to dive Into that stuff more I really recommend Listening to like Jordan Hall Daniel Schmachtenberger because they're like Some of the leading thinkers on that Topic Um so we talked about actually Um I'm curious about your thoughts on Social media Um I've been a few kind of Instagram Reels that I've seen of yours where You've basically been like social media Is bad and all of the kind of bad things Are on social media I wonder if you can

Can just Riff on that from yeah Um well so it I guess I started thinking about this Because I noticed in myself just like I'm so horribly addicted to Twitter It's I mean it's fascinating place but It's like you know it's just like Watching a car crash over and over and Over Um well for two reasons a because it's Like it sucks you in Often with like the the areas that you Personally care about the most the Algorithm figures out what gets you Triggered and will show it to you over And over because um and that's not just True of Twitter it's true of most social Media platforms Um And so there's that but then there's Also the like Dopamine reward system that it's got Going on in terms of like the you know How many likes did you get and so on and I was like you know it it started sort Of setting off the same red flags that You know when I would have like bad days Of playing poker where I was like Chasing losses or something like that I Was like oh this is feeling a little Similar and as well caring about what my Results look like to others and like Well am I getting you know are people Talking about me for whatever they're

Like they're the unhealthy aspects of Whether you're playing The Fame game or Whatever game you're playing it was like Oh this is this is a lot of the same Stuff Um But So I made a video again to explain this Like molok concept Um made it about a year ago called the Beauty Wars which talked about how on Instagram I noticed The this like explosion and popularity Of these Beauty filters Um That weren't around like in certainly 2017 2018 uh but all of a sudden you Notice that everyone's pictures are Starting to look a little bit better and You know I remember playing around with These and inputting a picture of myself Which I liked but then applied the Filter to it where it just like tweaks Your eyes a little bit like this just Very subtly it's hard to pick a finger On exactly what it's doing but it makes You look great and it's like the Click Of a button and then you'd look at the Original picture which you loved next to This new one you're like oh that This is great yeah and this is another Example of like one of these molarchy Processes because Even if you you know even though I was

Aware of like this whole dynamic You know at the time I was trying to Grow my Instagram be a bit of an Influencer I noticed that most of my you Know if I post a hot picture it gets a Lot more likes than one where I'm like Trying to say something intellectual so There's like an incentive pressure to Push more hot pictures Um and then so I'm trying to play that Game and I know that everyone else is Using these things so I might as well so Then I do it but then oh there's an even Better one that comes out and so it Creates this race to the bottom scenario Which is like archetypal of molok Um And so I made a video about that and uh It And yeah it's and it's and it's just Much of the same thing really it's it's Part of the problem with social media is It reduces the richness and complexity Of The Human Experience down to like These very narrow metrics and so by it's By definition it's inherently Dehumanizing Um because you know I'm sure you've Noticed it in yourself right you're like Well well how many followers have I got Now and so on and it's it's even if you Are trying to be as wise and as Thoughtful about this as possible it's Such an alluring thing because it's such

A simple way of measuring success but That loss of complexity that reduction Of information essentially about Ourselves is is is is not healthy it's Not sustainable Um and then when you couple this with uh So this the next part in this molec Series uh video series I've been making Which will hopefully be out by this time This video comes out it's going to be Called the media Wars Um That the same process is happening Within our media Because you know they've always been in A bit of competition right even since Sort of the 50s they were but they were The competition was much less intense on On the media uh Industries but you know The big companies back then because Usually they had their market and it was Fairly safe but then with the the Internet coming along which in many ways Is wonderful because it actually Democratized the ability to speak to People But it also simultaneously turned up the Competition dial and so now these media Companies are having to compete with all These citizen journalists Which is incentivizing them to do you Know they've still got to try and make Money so All these the the the the the the the

Incentives and rewards for being the one Who can do put out the most clickable Headline Overwhelm them and that's why we're Seeing this sea of Click bait and Frankly you know dishonesty and and Divisiveness because that's the other Thing divisiveness seems to be the most Profitable way bro your anger is the Surefire way of getting clicks yep Um so it seems like the culture wars Maybe I don't know if the culture wars Were inevitable but they Certainly seemed to be a product of this In Improperly designed system it was that One designed the internet no one Designed the media industry it just kind Of evolved but if it carries on on the Current trajectory it's on it's not it's Not looking it's not boning well for Sort of Truth and unity yeah like even The ability to make sense of reality Yeah What do we do about something like this The trillion dollar question Um I don't know what the solution is to This But The one practical thing we can each be Doing is basically making a commitment To being Integrity in Integrity to Ourselves

So if we have a belief about something We should obviously do our best to like Navigate the various biases and wants And and and and and so on that we will Have when we get a belief but At the very least make a commitment to Only saying what we believe to be true Yep which so many people are not even Following hmm Because it's just like well you know I Could Spin My Title this way I know you Know or if I if I write my tweet in this Way I know it's going to get more Attention And it's not technically lying it's just It's just a flare I'm adding to it Just making a commitment to be like no I'm going to as best I can minimize that And just whatever I put out there is as Close to what I personally believe to be True that's a huge stepping stone Because then at least we're not having We're not we're honest with ourselves About what we think and in the people in Our immediate Network who we know we Trust if we're if you know you'll make An agreement okay we're going to do this With ourselves at least now there's a Small cluster of of Truth and and I Sounds pie in the sky but I just think This will be like an emergent thing that If enough people start doing it then We're going to start seeing something Cool and more like grounded in reality

Arise Um so that's step one And and it's actually something Practical that we can all do Um but beyond that uh so I'll hopefully Have my uh as I said my podcast will be Out by the time this comes out and I did An interview with Jordan Hall and we Talk a lot about this so go listen to That because we go into it in quite a Lot of depth Um and Then perhaps we can sort of utilize some So you know technology to help us with This you know like blockchain seems like It has a lot of potential right because It's a way of recording truth you know In an indelible way so I'm not a Blockchain expert anyway but again sort Of the systems thinkers who've spoken to A lot say like there's there's some Value in there Um but yeah no Don't know when that's part of the Reason I'm like talking about this is Just I want smart people who were like You know you have a lot of smart people Listening to this to just be inspired And start thinking about it nice yeah Like yeah I can't begin to think of what The solutions are but um we'll put links Together Honestly not really like as you as you Were describing that whole clickbait

Thing I was like oh man so many video Titles where You know I know if I'd call the video How I ranked first at Cambridge University it would get loads of clicks It's not strictly true so maybe in one Exam in one year where it's like one Right joint first prize for like Technically you know spin it Um and it's those incentives at like the Sort of like dozens of times a day if Not hundreds across the population Especially in an internet enabled world Of social media where you're chasing Clicks and attention I just yeah as you Were describing that I was like oh Um yeah it's like we're trapped in this An attention game but game is the nice Way of calling it in reality it's an Attention War you know because what's a Different you know the definition of War You could argue it's it's the ultimate Negative sum game like look at the Russia Ukraine conflict Russia decided To start this It seems to me like an incredibly Needless conflict there are no winners There are no it's just lose lose the More it continues so that's what war is It's it's it's it's it's the ultimate Negative sum game And by the way the original definition Of Malik came from an old Bible story About this cult this cult who would like

War obsessed and was so desperate to Like gain military power they would Sacrifice their children to a burning Effigy of this thing In order to get more military might oh Well Dark As It Gets yeah and that's and Then it's sort of like the legend of This thing has like sort of come through You know through the survived Through The Years Um and it was Scott Alexander who first Put it into you know the meditations on Monologue blog into like game theoretic Terms and then I've sort of like tweaked The definition I call it the god of Unhealthy competition but you can think Of it as the god of war and which brings Me to like so talking about solution Again no clear answer but the thing that Sort of resonates the most to me is you Know I was thinking like okay so if That's what mollock is and let's try and Get you know in my videos I dress up as It to try and give it a personality Because it's such a nebulous concept Like how can you make it a little bit More memeable to people so they can Understand it uh so give it a Personality what would its personality Be like it's like this Monofocused I will win this like unable To see what else is going on Um like capable at that non-narrow game But just like lacking again wisdom

So it's like okay if that's more like What's its inverse or at least what what You know what is something better than That you know if monikers have got to Lose lose what's the god of win-win and So I haven't come up with a better name And just call it win-win and win wins Vibe so again I can only paint it as an Aesthetic but its Vibe is It's like it's fun loving it just it Wants it wants it wants to have a good Time but it wants everyone to have a Good time it if Molex thing is about Winning the game win-win's thing is like Making sure that the game can continue As many as many people can play as many Games as possible and it's like Aesthetic is kind of turquoise and Purple and it's a fun time but it's not Like holier than now like it likes to Get it likes to play a day oh you want To have a heads up game all right let's Go and it will play Um you know it will it'll have a really It will throw itself into like a sort of Zero-sum game when it you know when it's Okay to do so but it has the wisdom to Go okay that's that's enough competition Now we need to cooperate and so on so It's like this It's just this wise but fun loving not Austere like it like wants to have a Good time type of deity Um again sounds sounds nuts but like

This is what has been the thing that Resonates most with me personally and I Think I'm not saying that's what people You know others should follow but like Think about what that you know this this This This essence of win-win competition and Collaboration looks like to you and it's To be clear it's not opposite of molok Because that would have put it on the Same scale it's something bigger it it Can existent exist in its World it just Knows how to like slap it down that's Enough out of you yeah your little arms Race there is getting a bit much yeah Stop that Um so that's where that's where I've Gotten to in this That yeah that really resonates with me As well um and as you were describing That I was thinking of like you know Playing playing board games for example With a big fan of the board game Articulate amazing stuff Um and it can get very competitive and You can just start like shouting people And and all this kind of stuff I think Certainly when I was younger I was very Like hyper competitive on this thing Just like we have to win and then after A while I was like hang on like the Point of the game is that for for all of Us to have fun right so there are Occasions in which like even though

Our team could win by sort of Steamrolling the other team that's not Particularly fun for them so let's like Pull our punches just a little bit Because ultimately people have come over To my place to hang out and have pizza And board games let's take a job you Know that kind of thing you want the Game you want the game to cap and again Yeah you don't want it to get so intense That you essentially break the playing Field you know piss off your friends so Much that like actually we didn't have a Good time we're not gonna play again Um yes that's exactly it and there's a Really good book as well Um that sort of encapsulate this called Uh infinite infinite and finite games Um honestly you can just read the first Two chapters and you get you get the Premise it's it's again like Molec is winning the short-term game Right in front of you whatever it takes Including sacrificing your children or Whatever Um win-win is like just keeping the game Keeping the game going Um that's that that is the ultimate game Is to keep the game going What's your infinite game Great question Um I I think about this in the context of How I want to spend my time right I

Think when uh earlier in my life uh like I mean especially with like a medical Career trajectory it's very sort of There's always like a next goal a next Thing thing to do Um it's very finite gaming of like oh I Need to try and get a first in the exams Or whatever uh and then kind of Since Since losing that identity for me I've Been thinking a lot around What is the game I want to play purely For the sake of playing the game Um For like this YouTube channel and this Podcast business and stuff infinite game Is just like actually just being able to Continue to do cool interviews with cool People And so when it comes to the choice of Getting your ridiculously controversial Guests on the podcast is to get views Versus does that actually reduce the Risk of uh reduce the chances of being Able to continue to play this game and Enjoy it over the long term so I think About that a lot in terms of like how do I want to spend my own time and what are The things I want to be working on Almost infinitely rather than finitely I'm curious I'm curious if you think of That at all like what that's like for You Yeah I mean the thing that's coming up Is

Just like More new experiences right just If I look back at my life the most Notable I mean sometimes I'll be just doing the Same thing you know like cuddling on the Couch with Igor or whatever and just Like those moments but just having these Like what the moments in life where Like you think you've got it all figured Out and they're like whoa and then There's this just this new surprise Comes at you from Left Field I want more Of that and Because now you've got a new puzzle Sovereign I thought I'd discovered everything the Fog of Wars lift it no wait there's a Whole realm Beyond here and I suspect that you know I mean I don't Know whether it's finite or infinite but There's we haven't even begin to explore What is actually going on in this Reality So that's the infinite game to me Um a friend of mine Um she uh One of our favorite sort of Things we like to play with is the item We call it the game Um which is that we're actually in a Giant escape room and the goal is to Find the key to unlock it iterative to Find out what's really going on outside

And to solve all the puzzles nice Um and I think that's the pattern who knows Maybe that's our purpose as you know Humans we've like we've spawned on this Particular planet And what we've it's each of us have Subspawned in our own little spots and But as a collective you know we are Slowly you know what's what's the Purpose of science is right it's just Understanding reality and it now seems Like because it's having more and more You know the more people I mention like This energy stuff too or whatever They're more the people are like Actually I've had a little bit of Something like this too and and So it seems like the territory has grown A little bit and uh You know I hope we make it off the Planet too and actually exploring the Sort of three-dimensional physical space But it seems like there's some hyper Dimensional stuff going on as well that Yeah we can play with mental stuff yeah Have you ever heard an unexplainable Um No not really my brother has and I'm a Lot of friends close to me have can you Share it Um yeah my brother had an experience Where Uh and and and and this was the thing

That gave him a lot of conviction about Religion Um about Islam in particular he had an Experience at University where you know He wasn't feeling particularly great he Wasn't Um you know struggling with exams and Kind of stressed out and so he randomly Got a call from Um one of his friends who happened to be The president of the Islamic society and The guy just you know was asking him hey You know how's it going and that was Completely random for him he just hadn't Their relationship wasn't the sort where The guy would randomly ring him but the Guy said that yeah you know I just I Just had the feeling that you know I Should just like check up on you and Think and see how things were going and They had a conversation after that Conversation my brother was like oh my God like how how did how could he Possibly have known how did he have the Intuition it's like that doesn't make Any sense at all Um and that really helped get my brother Out of like a kind of dark spot in his Life and that gave him conviction that Like there's got to be something out There right Um And I'm quite kind of jealous of people Have the sorts of experiences because it

Really Seems to on an emotional level help you Really know that there is something out There that we don't quite understand Whereas I feel like right now for me I'm Still stuck in stuck in the rational World of uh materialism and the things That I can see in touch with the things That exist so I'm Keen to explore like Meditation stuff the Psychedelic stuff Don't tell my mum and like all of the Other occulty type stuff uh at some Point yeah yeah and maybe I don't know Look more into the religion thing as Well yeah no it's on the it's on the There's clearly yeah there's something Going on the fact that shamans Independently arose in almost every Indigenous tribe Who had not spoken to each other you Know ever but like diverged Millions of years well no I'm sorry Diverge the thousands tens of thousands Of years ago and yet these same things Pop up like where shamans were often Like you know this this seemingly Unnecessary part of the human experience And that like Monotheistic religion okay that kind of Came out from sort of a similar place But There's clearly something to this and it Also seems somewhat absurd to me that It seems more implausible to me that the

Universe sprung out Randomness and nothing Then like was in was create you know Intentionally created by something yeah And what's funny is like you know so Many of the sort of like materialist Types are now like subscribing to the Simulation argument yep that's Indistinguishable from religion actually Like it's it's you know it's the same It's just it's just put into like modern Day terms And that's great you know so there's Clearly like there's something that we Keep converging on yeah and Doesn't mean it Definitely true but it's worth exploring And it and it's and it's okay Um it's okay to be agnostic essentially Um which I imagine most people I think Most people yeah it's like it's rare to Find someone who's so staunchly atheist Definitely doesn't exist but at the same Time like I do it the the like the Classical biblical definitions of this Like all loving God when you then see All these like terrible things happening It's like that's hard to marry up so Maybe that definition doesn't quite work As well but maybe it's like something Created and it was like oh no no don't No no don't do that you know like that's Possible you know it can still be caring But like unable to do something for

Example I don't know you know like a Simulator presses play on their thing They can't then like tweak it Necessarily who knows who knows yeah so Much to explore Um thank you so much this has been Wonderful I'd love to end by asking for A few recommendations from you so uh We've got all these things that we're Going to put in in the video description Um and in the show notes Um and you know your latest YouTube Video which will be out by the times of Things your YouTube channel your podcast Things across Um I I have a gym session now so I'm Going to be listening to Metallica As a Bit of a Gateway right into metal um any Books that you'd recommend for me and The audience yeah fiction non-fiction Can be anything that's that you found Nova scene by James Lovelock Fairly nice short read nice uh Who he's amazing because he he only very Recently died like age 100 and he wrote This when he was 98 and he was one of The most polymathy brilliant scientist He wasn't he was he was everything he Was like incredible scientists made so Many just go read his Wikipedia it's Incredible so he wrote that Inadequate equilibrium Which is technically an e-book by Eleazkowski

And then the next one will be and I've Haven't read it fully but I've read Parts of it and I've been very much in Like close to the writing of it it's by One of my dearest friends Tim Urban oh Yeah and it's going to be called The Tale of us and it should be out by the Time this comes out but if if it's not It will be out imminently Um and it's about Understanding again this like Divisiveness and why we seem to be Everyone's so angry and like just why Tribalism is what it is and why it's Gotten so bad in particular lately Um that's going to be a really important Read uh nice yeah yeah I love Tim Urban So I'm looking forward to checking that Out you should have him on here I'd love To yeah yeah invest in the US isn't it Yeah he's in New York New York he's Incredible nice I will reach out to you For an intro if that's right when I when I absolutely New York that would be Awesome to have them yeah Um fantastic and I guess final question Is any um kind of We we talked about how you'd recommend People learn poker not necessarily make A living from it because it's a lot of Valuable lessons to be learned there Anything else in terms of sort of Experiences and new things to try out That you would recommend for people like

I'm fishing for recommendations for Myself here like I want to you know this Like Any activities any sports any any things That you've done where you think oh more People should try this thing and I Didn't really know that this was the Thing until I tried it out Uh well yeah Um bouldering climbing specifically Yeah we evolved to be great climbers Human beings our bodies are actually Very very naturally good for us good Good at it And even though there's a really steep Learning curve like you'll have forearm Tightness and like you'll feel like I'll Never be able to do this stick at it for A couple of months because your grip Strength will come remarkably quickly And what I love about it so much is it's Kind of like physical chess In that it's not just a pure it's not Just like hammering out weights in the Gym or it's just like pure Brawn or like Who can run the fastest it's it's You have to like think through your body And learn what your body what you know How it moves and it's so Dynamic and It's and particularly in bouldering like There'll be different problems that are Set and they're literally called Bouldering problems so it's like a Puzzle to solve that happens to be

Physical yeah so for people who like a Bit of intellectual stimulation in their Exercise it's the best Um and particularly if you find a Partner who you can go with who's like Roughly a similar level then you can Like challenge each other a little bit And it's you'll also learn together it's Just it's it's been my obsession now for The last couple of years and it's so Good it's so fun it destroys your hands My hands are a mess but it's worth it Nice yeah we've got a building wall uh Next door oh well fairly close here Close by to here which I haven't haven't Checked out yet so that's that's Inspired me to give it a go yeah yeah Well if thank you so much thank you We'll put links to all of your stuff Down in the video description in the Show notes wherever people are watching Listening to this any final asks or Recommendations for the audience Ideas on how to solve the molok problem And make more win-wins please uh contact Me Um yeah amazing thank you so much it's Been wonderful thank you all right so That's it for this week's episode of Deep dive thank you so much for watching Or listening all the links and resources That we mentioned in the podcast are Going to be linked down in the video Description or in the show notes

Depending on where you're watching or Listening to this if you're listening to This on a podcast platform then do Please leave us a review on the iTunes Store it really helps other people Discover the podcast or if you're Watching this in full HD or 4k on YouTube then you can leave a comment Down below and ask any questions or any Insights or any thoughts about the Episode that would be awesome and if you Enjoyed this episode you might like to Check out this episode here as well Which links in with some of the stuff That we talked about in the episode so Thanks for watching uh do hit the Subscribe button if you aren't already And I'll see you next time bye

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