Poker is an age-old card game that’s been played worldwide for many years.
It’s synonymous with the Wild West and Vegas, but it also has roots here in the UK. Poker was popular in the West End casinos of the sixties and is often associated with villainy, wrongdoing, and misdirection. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Indeed, poker players often make incredible traders with some big figures from the world of investing also thriving at poker; that might be online trading or other genres. David Einhorn is a fine example; he’s the founder of Greenlight Capital, but he has won more than $5m (£4.4m) at the World Series of Poker. He’s not the only trading figure to have a strong poker game; Bill Chen has won more than $1.6m (£1.4m) and is employed by Susquehanna International Group as the head of their Statistical Arbitrage Department. Vanessa Selbst (Bridgewater Associates) and Andy Frankenberger (BNP Paribas, JP Morgan) are two more examples of million-dollar poker players in the trading industry.
How is this of use to you?
As an online trader, how can you leverage poker to improve your portfolio? Or, as a trader, what skills can you take to the poker tables of your local casino?
There’s a link, as we’ve demonstrated, so all you have to do is understand the skills that apply to both fields. These are three you should really be aware of.
Poker is often seen as a game of chance, but it is also a part of the skill. There are unknown variables on every hand, but there are also known variables. You know your cards, the community cards, and the actions of those around the table. You can use those variables to calculate pot odds, which gives you a firmer chance of winning a hand. There are always two sets of variables in trading, the known and the unknown. Learning to make calculations with your know data, factor in the unknown, and commit accordingly is an attribute a good trader will always demonstrate.
You’ll see poker players losing a hand; it always happens. Even top players, such as Selbst, lose hands. The World Series of Poker had 8773 players in 2022; only one could win the top prize. That player, Espen Jorstad, took home $10m (£8.8m), but even he lost a hand or two along the way. It happens, it’s inevitable, and it’s exactly the same in trading.
Not every stock you back will be a winner, and not every investment will give you a return. The trick is not to get sucked into a loss; never overcommit to make up ground and move on quickly. Losses happen, and the best traders, and poker players, quickly move on and resume their strategy for the next deal.
In Poker, a hand happens quickly, and there’s always a chance to get over a bad beat. Just as we highlighted how moving on is important, making quick decisions is also important. There are only a few minutes for you to assess your cards, read the table and make a choice; how good that choice is and how well you work under pressure is the difference between success and failure.
Many people are prone to making bad choices when the chips are down or following their heart rather than their head. It might pay off occasionally, but those with the most success will make calm, balanced decisions in split-second moments. Trading is the same; knowing when to invest and when to pull out isn’t easy, and if you can act coolly under pressure, you can be a strong trader.
GENERAL RISK WARNING!
NOTE: This article is not investment advice for anyone because online trading could be a high risk for all who lack knowledge & experience. 86% of traders lose money in financial markets. we are not your financial advisors who guarantee your profit at all.