Thanks to the fact that she’s the women’s all-time leader in poker tournament winnings with $8 million and has a Yale Law School degree, Vanessa Selbst gets a lot of mainstream attention. So it was little surprise when Bloomberg TV interviewed her in a segment dedicated to the link between poker players and investors.
The reason for the sudden interest in poker on Bloomberg’s part is due to their new show, Poker Night on Wall Street. Rather than having pros compete against each other, this TV show pits successful hedge fund managers like Bill Perkins and David Einhorn against each other.
When asked why she thought these Wall Street guys could be good at poker, Selbst said, “Absolutely, there’s so many similarities, cross-overs between the two industries. You’re taking calculated risks, processing a world of information that’s at your disposal.”
Selbst also discussed how the math aspect of poker favors investors. “It’s a game of numbers, it’s a game of pushing small edges,” she said. “Another skill that is important is to take the downswings, and not go on tilt as we say, and really be OK with losing for a long time in a row. You know, just like investments that were maybe a good idea at the time, and they just went the wrong way.”
Moving away from the investors, the two-time WSOP poker champ also had some advice on what the average player does wrong. “I would say that they don’t play their hands aggressively enough. They kind of get scared that they don’t have the best hand, so they don’t capitalize – they don’t maximize their gains when they have the best hand.” She added that players really need to go after it when they think that they’ve got the top hand.
Vanessa Selbst has certainly never been afraid to go after a pot when she thinks that she’s in the lead. And the $8 million-plus that she’s earned certainly indicates this fact. Seeing as how Selbst has collected over $2.4 million in tournaments this year, you can count on seeing her in the winner’s circle plenty more in the future.