February 3, 2016


Brandon Adams, a Harvard professor in behavioral science and poker player, sees a strong connection between the education of a poker player and the skill set of someone breaking into finance.

“In theory, poker should be a qualifying skill set because successful poker players have survived a ferociously competitive ecosystem that requires intense study, analytical skill, risk control and clear thinking under pressure,” says Adams.

“You make lots of bets with incomplete information,” says Strasser. “There is a big difference between trading/poker and a game like chess, where you know where all the pieces are.”

Traders and poker players both ask a lot of questions,” says Adams. “They don’t take the world as it is presented to them.  They are constantly tearing things apart and analyzing problems in new ways. They both tend to be a bit eccentric and individualistic. They are both extremely confident in their own decision-making.”

In addition, an inquisitive mind can be a valued asset shared by poker players and successful traders.

One of the most important attributes that a successful poker player can bring to Wall Street and become a successful trader is the ability to move on from the past.

“In trading and in poker, it’s important to have no memory,” says Brown, whose book was ranked among the top 10 in business in 2006 by Business Week.

The abilities to forget a lost hand or position without emotion and maintain a forward-looking perspective are critical mental skills in both disciplines. But these attributes are perhaps the hardest to develop.

“The sharpest differences [between poker players and traders] are emotional,” says Adams. “Whereas poker players are willing to go down to the mat emotionally, to experience truly bad runs and bad times, traders more often have a built-in conservatism that makes this less likely. At the end of the day, this conservatism and ego-protectiveness is also what prevents most finance pros from being truly elite poker players. The finance pros fear loss and it shows physiologically.”

Source: http://www.thealphapages.com/content/why-are-hedge-funds-hiring-poker-pros

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