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Annie Duke

Special Partner, Decision Science

Annie Duke combines her academic studies in cognitive psychology with real-life decision making experiences at the poker table to help the First Round team refine the way in which we make investment decisions — from creating rubrics and implementing systems to reduce bias, to improving our data collection so we can conduct retrospective reviews post-decision.

Annie also shares her decision science expertise with our community, coaching First Round-backed founders through frameworks to help them make the very best possible decisions as they build incredible companies, whether it’s the small decisions that define great products, or the “bet the company” strategic gambles.

For two decades, Annie Duke was one of the top poker players in the world, winning more than $4 million in tournament poker. During her career, Annie won a World Series of Poker bracelet and is the only woman to have won the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions and the NBC National Poker Heads-Up Championship. She retired from the game in 2012.

Prior to becoming a professional poker player, Annie was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship to study Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her master’s degree. In 2021, she returned to her alma mater as a Visiting Scholar, and also teaches executive education there.

In 2014, Annie co-founded The Alliance for Decision Education to build a national movement that empowers teachers, school administrators and policymakers to bring Decision Education to every middle and high school student.

Annie now spends her time writing, coaching and speaking on a range of topics such as decision fitness, emotional control, productive decision groups and embracing uncertainty. Her latest book, “How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices,” was released in the fall of 2020, and her previous book, “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All The Facts,” is a national bestseller. Her upcoming book, “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away,” is due out in October 2022.