Trading and Poker

Gekko93's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 252

There have been plenty of comparisons between trading and poker. Both are risky, high stakes, snap judgement games. Both require a good mental game. Both require skill to beat your opponents. The poker allusion has been enshrined in S&T books like Liar's Poker. What do you think about the similarities? Should I start playing a lot more poker if I want to pursue S&T?

Comments (55)

May 9, 2011

Skip the poker, Go Fish is a more applicable card game

May 9, 2011

They are often referenced in the same context because the qualities that allow someone to be successful in trading generally allow them to be successful in poker.

One doesn't cause the other, player.

May 9, 2011

Trading isn't gambling. Poker is.

May 9, 2011

Trading isn't gambling. Poker is.

May 9, 2011
Walkio:

Trading isn't gambling. Poker is.

Totally incorrect.

Poker is a skill based game with incomplete information. The individuals who make the best decisions and lead their opponents to make worse decisions are the ones who win in the long run.

Lots of traders are also poker players, or have left to become pro poker players (especially at SIG, where the game is very much a part of the firm's culture).

Learning poker at a high level of play is a good way to improve your decision making.

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/famous-poker...

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May 9, 2011

You will get split views on this.

Personally I think there are a lot of similarities between poker and trading.

Walkio: how you can say trading isnt gambling but poker is is beyond me tbh.

However, I would say a good trader usually makes a good poker player, but not necessarily the other way around. Mainly because poker is a game where the rules are defined and constant over time, whereas trading is a lot more open ended and unrestricted.

May 9, 2011

stephen cohen was a mean poker player. there's probably some correlation.

May 9, 2011

Liar's poker.

May 9, 2011
mp2437:

Liar's poker.

this book had nothing to do with poker. the only analogy mentioned b/n poker and sales is that in both you need to be a good bluffer

May 9, 2011

is a big poker player too. during their training they do a lot of poker lessons as he believes there is a big correlation between decisions made in poker and in the equity derivatives market making business

May 9, 2011

An understanding of money mangagement, pot odds, probability, expected value should all help a good poker player make a good trader.

May 9, 2011

Liars Poker is not the same type of poker as you are thinking of.

liars poker is betting on seriel numbers on the face of dollars bills and the like

IT IS NOT PLAYED WITH CARDS...

and I do not think that they require the same skill set. Many good traders are very bad poker players and vice versa.

May 9, 2011

Not sure how often you play poker but if you truly understand the game and statistics you should be able to acknowledge the correlation between the two skill sets. Successful poker players and traders work with imperfect information to make calculated decisions to manage risk.

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May 9, 2011
junkbondswap:

Not sure how often you play poker but if you truly understand the game and statistics you should be able to acknowledge the correlation between the two skill sets. Successful poker players and traders work with imperfect information to make calculated decisions to manage risk.

couldn't agree more with junkbondswap

May 9, 2011

I've actually taught myself, and practice online. So far I have been surprisingly successful, which is why I am cynical that trading is this easy to get to grips with...thanks for your reply :)

May 9, 2011

you have to play in the long run to determine if you are actually successful or not-there is a lot, A TON I should say to poker theory. Start reading and playing.

I play on pokerstars.com

May 9, 2011

I was told by a Global Head that poker has nothing to do with trading. I suck at it anyway.

May 9, 2011

That global head probably wasnt a poker player or familar with the correlations. Duh

"Oh - the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion?"

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

May 9, 2011

You can not ignore the overlap in the skill sets. However, I would be cautious about putting too much emphasis on poker or gambling in an interview. If you do mention it talk more about your disciplined approach to playing as opposed to the thrill of putting money on the table.

May 9, 2011

not only that, there is a game theory aspect to trading when dealing with illiquid markets. like bringing your bets to a poker table with only 6 major players.

May 9, 2011

its not just the mathematical aspect that is similar. there is also a correlation between the required mental approach.

Patience, conviction and an ability to see the bigger picture all serve a poker player and a trader equally well.

May 9, 2011

lol, that's awsome. I play holdem and omaha.

May 9, 2011

oh, yea. Poker is used at quite a few firms. I've been a professional poker player throughout college and it's the main reason how I've been able to interview at the majority of the top prop trading firms. SIG founders were professional poker players back in the day and Jane Street is run by ex SIG people that also use poker. I go to a semi-target school with a meh GPA. The quantitive skills are helpful but the pyschological skills I've gained are much more important to being able to become a profitable trader. It's a good stepping stone to use to help you decide if you can handle the trading lifestyle.

May 9, 2011

i'm not a trader, but i am addicted to hold'em. you guys play on pokerstars?

May 9, 2011

Yep. 2-4 through 5-10 nlh.

May 9, 2011

I play on AbsolutePoker a few times a week (single table sit and gos) and a few times a month at Mohegan/Foxwoods with a few Vegas trips thrown in each year.

May 9, 2011

Wall Street Oasis private tourney on poker stars... Im feeling it Patrick. I mostly play big Multi Table Tourneys typically 1000+ players.
VERE IS MY MONEY!? Mr. Son of a Bitch. Lets play some cards!

"Oh the ladies ever tell you that you look like a fucking optical illusion" - Frank Slaughtery 25th Hour.

May 9, 2011

I play a ton... mainly live but little on line

I like hold omaha and omaha h/l

May 9, 2011

I have a game with a bunch of ex bear energy and lehman energy folks

May 9, 2011

I play almost exclusively no-limit hold'em, although i really want to learn pot-limit omaha. My next Vegas trip will be in June during the world series of poker, can't wait.

Poker is HUGE at SIG. Both bill chen and matt hawrilenko are very successful poker players (they both have won bracelets at the world series) and work at SIG.

May 9, 2011

I would love to work at a place that was big on poker. the guys at my previous shop were terrible at it

May 9, 2011

I prefer NL Holdem and Omaha. I occasionally play cash, but I mostly tournaments. I play at PokerStars under this handle. I would certainly be interested in a WSO tourney, that would be fun.

May 9, 2011

i play 20 bb poker

May 9, 2011

knocked out on the final three tables of miniftops yesterday ... argh!

May 9, 2011
MarginCalling:

knocked out on the final three tables of miniftops yesterday ... argh!

Yeah, I completely forgot about miniFTOPS starting. Can't wait until the Poker Stars SCOOP tournaments in April.

May 9, 2011

Draw and 5 card stud...not really into the hold'em....i think it is because every want to be poker player plays hold'em

May 9, 2011

5 card stud is a MAN'S game, no place to hide.

May 9, 2011

Anyone successfully go from pro poker to trading?

I've been doing it for almost 2 years and am thinking I might only want to do another 1.5ish. This will have been my only work since graduating. I do play a lot and take it very seriously (made SNE on PS last year, 1st full year playing).

Suggestions for other things to do on the side? Books to read? Will firms give me a chance? Should I try for unpaid internships?

May 9, 2011

Nothing is fun unless you are winning/making money.

May 9, 2011

No, trading isn't poker.

Whatever BTBanker said...

May 9, 2011

That's true..I guess I like poker so much only because I know I'm good at it and can make money. I don't have the same confidence about trading because I've never tried it. I also really like coding, so the main alternative career I'm considering is tech. The main thing I'm trying to figure out is which one I enjoy better.

"The code of competence is the only system of morality that's on a gold standard." - Francisco d'Anconia

May 9, 2011

Write an algo that you think will yield alpha. Backtest it, put on trades in a paper account etc. to document your findings.

May 9, 2011

it is like poker, but that depends how you play poker. While all of the prop firms are looking for someone with a math/poker background, all they want is how you handle probability and decision with limited information, not actually how good you are in poker. Also, trading is much more than a 60 hour/week job.

May 9, 2011

If you haven't tried making poker a full time job, I would caution you on saying you're "good at it." You don't sound like you have any interest in markets whatsoever.

May 9, 2011

What's with the monkey shit?

"The code of competence is the only system of morality that's on a gold standard." - Francisco d'Anconia

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May 9, 2011

Trading has very little to do with poker, barring teaching you logical thought processes, handling risk and avoiding results orientated thinking (right idea wrong outcome - losing AA v KK for example). Otherwise not much beyond that. Supported my way through college with poker.

May 9, 2011
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May 9, 2011
May 9, 2011