Things gamblers and investors have in common
Last week, the Bloomberg Television presented a charity poker tournament featuring six wealthy businessmen, called Poker Night on Wall Street. The $50,000 single-table event brought up a lot of interesting topics regarding the similarities between poker and business and how certain skills can transfer from desks in the top-level offices to poker tables on the casino floors.
Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst went on a show on Bloomberg in order to help raise awareness for the charity event and she talked about how it is to be one of the few women in the pro poker scene and also gave some tips to amateur players wanting to make it to the next level.
Considering the fact that Selbst has over $8 million in tournament winnings and is the highest earning woman in the game, her insights on how poker is seen from the outside, and more importantly from the inside, are very interesting. The question that a lot of people might be asking is “why is poker such a male-dominated game?”
According to Selbst, the fact that women are seen a certain way in our society and are raised to be far less aggressive than men gives them the disadvantage at the poker table; a game that requires a lot of aggression. The cut-throat tendencies needed to succeed in poker can also be found on Wall Street.
Calculated risks in investments and in poker
The two industries have a lot of things in common. Players need to take calculated risks according to the information they have available and there is usually no guarantee. As a good hand can be beaten in poker, so can a good business idea fail in the real world, but this shouldn’t stop players/businessmen from trying to get as much as possible every time. Of course, as every poker player knows, things don’t always turn out well even if you get it all-in in a good spot, so it is important to manage the downswings and not go on tilt – something which is a very important skill on Wall Street as well.
The poker tournament showed that the players tended to play poker the same way they do business. Some were very calculated and waited to get in on the ideal situations while others wanted to play aggressive and keep the pressure on their opponents. Selbst also pointed out that investing is similar to poker because there are so many ways and strategies to take, which can work just as well in the right hands. Some players benefit from playing tight and not getting involved in big hands, others prefer making the pot big before the flop in order to use it to their advantage post-flop and so on. There is no one strategy that is the best in poker.
Vanessa Selbst went on to mention that most players do not play their hands aggressively enough and that this limits the winnings they get with a good hand. The fear of the opponent having an even better hand is very common at the poker table and this gives more aggressive players the chance to take advantage and take down the pots with worse hands.
Check out the entire interview here.