Poker Table to Hedgefund: An unconventional talent acquisition.

One of the world’s most successful hedgefunds, Bridgewater Associates, explored an unusual approach to talent acquisition earlier this year. Bridgewater, founded by American billionaire investor Ray Dalio turned to the poker tables when they decided to hire professional poker player Vanessa Selbst.

Vanessa Selbst won close to $12 million during her poker stint as is considered the most successful woman ever in tournament poker. The Yale Law graduate made her leap from poker into finance, citing similarities between the two: “The environment feels a lot like poker did back in the day — a bunch of nerdy kids collaborating to try to beat our opponents at a game” (Grant, 2018).

We discussed in a previous article the similarities of poker and trading, and it is not unexpected to realize how both endeavours require certain attributes to come out on top.

Essentially, both professions are in the business of managing risk where every decision could under or over expose itself to opportunities for rewards at the expense of possibly forgoing some capital. Poker players and hedgefund managers are in the search for an opportunity that generates “Alpha” (excess returns). This could mean a good hand or undervalued stock in poker or fund management respectively.

Maybe it’s time to pick up some poker. Who knows, you could either make your millions in professional poker, or land yourself a job on Wall Street.

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Till next week, have a good weekend!
Grant, N. (2018). The World’s Best Female Poker Player Joins the World’s Biggest Hedge Fund. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Jun. 2018].


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