The 20 Biggest Poker Players On Wall Street

Wall Street Poker Intro

The World Series of Poker is on right now.

Unfortunately, hedge fund manager David Einhorn is out, but he’s still in the game as far as Wall Street is concerned.

Value, risk, personal inventory and the inventory of your competitor…

All of the above are as useful in stock or bond trading as they are at a poker table.

So it’s no surprise that Wall Street has a penchant for poker. And it’s no surprise that they’re good at it.

What might surprise you is how good some of them actually are.

Cliff Assness, AQR Capital

AQR chief Asness played in the now-famous 2006 poker game at a New York hotel, at which Peter Muller, Ken Griffin and Boaz Weinstein were also at the table.

Ken Griffin, Citadel

Remember, Griffin played at the table in 2006 with poker titans Peter Muller, Cliff Asness and Boaz Weinstein.

Griffin also served on the committee for the Wall Street Poker Night Tournament, which Pete Muller won.

Chris Fargis, Toro Trading

Toro hired Fargis, an online poker player, after he came recommended from someone who knew him from the poker world.

Fargis is Brooklyn-born online poker star, who's won a few championships and made a ton from it.

Jeff Yass, Susquehanna International Group

Yass began playing poker during college. 'My friends and I took poker very seriously. We knew that over the long run it wasnt a game of luck but rather a game of enormous skill and complexity. We took a mathematical approach.'

He thinks the market is like a giant poker game, 'and you have to pay very close attention to the skill level of your opponents.'

Susquehanna even once held a poker tournament to select trainee traders for its European operations.

Scott Redler, T3

Redler is a major proponent of the parallels between the card table and the stock market and has been a constant presence, and often victorious, at Wall Street poker tourneys for a while now.

Steve Schonfeld, The Schonfeld Group

The billionaire proprietary trader is also a poker fanatic and managed to walk away victorious after bellying up to the tables with other billionaires when he won the Forbes Billionaire Poker Tournament (a charity event) in October, 2009.

Jim Simons, Renaissance Technologies

Boaz Weinstein, Saba Capital Management

In 2005, Warren Buffett invited this former Deutsche Banker to a poker tournament, where he won a Maserati. He said he often hired poker players for his trading division.

He was also at the table in 2006 with other poker players Peter Muller, Cliff Asness and Ken Griffin.

Weinstein is also a chess master, and a blackjack player too. He picked up poker at MIT.

Carl Icahn, Icahn Partners

Icahn reportedly 'generated his first investing stake by winning $4,000 playing poker while in the US Army after graduating from Princeton.'

In 2005 he was at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, at the table with professional gamblers. 'In a $40,000 game, he wound up as one of two players left in a hand of seven-card stud,' Time reports. The pro tried to say that he'd seen Icahn's hand, and Icahn almost folded before announcing, 'I learned a long time ago that in big business and big poker, there ain't no nice guys.' He won the hand.

He hosts private poker games at his East Hampton home.

Steve Cohen - SAC Capital Management

Before he was taking home $1 billion a year, Cohen was taking home 'Stacks of Benjamins' from all night poker games with his high school buddies.

The SAC chief 'eventually quit his part time job to focus on poker and says that it taught him how to take risks.' He continued to play at Wharton while he was earning his degree, and travels to Vegas to play the tables.

Cohen has said there is a relationship between how he plays poker to how he trades stocks.

Bill Chen, Susquehanna International Group

Bill Chen is one of many Susquehanna guys that has a passion for cards. But he stands out as a particularly talented poker player, competing in pro tournaments and supporting his Wall Street income with some substantial winnings on the Pro Poker Tour.

New Susquehanna 'hires are given copies of 'The Theory of Poker' and 'Hold 'Em Poker' and spend one full day a week studying the game by playing it.'

Jason Strasser, Morgan Stanley

Strasser turned a love of online poker as an undergrad at Duke into a lucrative pro career before taking a job at Morgan Stanley as a Derivatives Trader in 2007.

He even lists his time as a poker pro on his LinkedIn resume.

Aaron Brown, AQR Capital

James Vogl, Moore Capital Management

Vogl won a coveted bracelet in a World Series of Poker event in Las Vegas in 2004, aged 24, beating 800 other players, and earning himself $400,000 in tax-free profits in just one hand.

'I've got a knack for risk and reward games. I spent a lot of time practicing, learning the game and the odds, doing the calculations,' says Vogl, who admits he's disciplined and highly competitive.

Read more at the Business Insider >

Peter Muller, Morgan Stanley

Quant king Muller has won a ton at the poker table and made the final table of the $3,000 Limit Hold 'em event at the 1998 World Series of Poker. He also came 4th at the World Poker Challenge.

He's still on the World Poker Tour, though he says he now mostly plays online and cash games instead of tournaments. He used to bring his dog to tournaments with him, as a good luck charm.

Just last year he beat 104 other Wall Streeters to take a large pot at a charity tournament.

David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital

So prodigious are the poker gifts of the incredibly successful hedge fund manager that he won $660K in a tournament this May. He donated the money to charity before dropping $200 million on 49% of The New York Mets.

And that could be an ideal fit as owning The Mets requires a superior poker face (right Fred Wilpon?)

Source: NBC Sports

Steve Beigleter, Flexpoint Ford

Begleiter, who used to head corporate strategy at Bear Stearns, made the final table at the main event of the World Series Poker in 2009.

He came sixth, and won $1.26 million.

Daniel Shak, SHK Asset Management

Andy Beal - Beal Bank

Beal dropped out of college to play poker and made enough in winnings to start his own business, what is now a billion dollar Texas-based bank.

'During the height of his poker playing days, he would play some of the biggest names in the game for pots that often exceeded $1 million,' the WSJ said.

Beal once lost $16.6 million to poker king Phil Ivey, and is recognised 'as the poker player who won more money in a poker game in a single day than any other known poker player.'

And despite his new corporate life, he's still known to partake in the occasional $1 million game now and then. Carl Icahn once said of Beal, 'I always thought of myself as a good player. But I'm not in his league.'

Chris Ferguson, former prop trader

Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson, who won the World Series main event in 2000, used to trade at a prop trading firm.

He's won five World Series of Poker events and is a professional poker player, but we thought that considering he continues to trade stocks, he's a good ending point.

We're guessing there's going to be a lot of card games soon for these hedge funders...

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