WSOP $1 Million Tournament: How Did The Businessmen Fare?

WSOP $1 Million Tournament: How Did The  Businessmen Fare?Going into WSOP Event #55: $1 Million Big One for One Drop, there was huge interest on how the 20 billionaire businessmen would fare against the 28 pros in poker’s biggest ever tournament.
Its long been known that just like their poker playing counterparts, talented commodity traders and hedge fund managers often make excellent poker players, especially with their heads for figures as well as their good risk assessment skills. One just has to look at David Steicke and Andy Frankenberger for quick examples.
The ‘Big One for One Drop,’ too, certainly had its share of traders including Dan Shak, Talal Shakerchi, Bill Perkins, Chamath Palihapitya, Paul Newey and David Einhorn. In addition, some of the world’s top entrepreneurs were also represented at the Las Vegas tournament, bringing to the table with them a vast array of business and people skills.
In the end, out of the 9 paid places, 5 of those went to the pros or 6 if you include 4 times WSOP winner Bobby Baldwin, who modestly calls himself a hybrid somewhere between an amateur and a pro. Baldwin finished 7th ($1,408,000) in the competition and giving his take on the event, concluded:
“I think the businessmen were quite comfortable and a lot of the pros were not. The stakes were higher than [the pros] were used to and the field was tougher than [the pros] were used to.”
Providing further insight into how some of the traders approaced the game, David Einhorn (pictured right), who finished top of the businessmen in 3rd place ($4,352,000) gave this revealing explanation as to some of the thought processes involved:
“There’s some information you know, there’s some information you surmise, and then there’s the future which is the unknown information and you have a range of possible outcomes. If you think about a poker hand that way, you have your cards, you have what you can surmise about whatever your opponents might have and then you have whatever cards might come on the board that are uncertain. So there’s a range, and you’re calculating through those three pieces of information.
“And when you invest, it’s really the same. There are the things you know about a company or the world or whatnot, and there are things that you surmise — you don’t know, but you kind of assume –and then there’s the future, which is the range of possible events in the future. And then you think about how do those three things put together affect an investment, which isn’t all that different from how something might affect a poker hand.”
Ultimately, with a prize pool of $42,666,672 up for grabs and nine places paid, by the time the competition reached its exciting conclusion Tuesday night the poker pros walked away with a share worth $33,834,673 compared with the $8,831,999 won by the businessmen.
Although still a reasonable result for the so-called amateurs, considering the amount of money other wealthy businessmen invested to stake many of the pros, the distinction as to who cleaned up between the pros and the businessmen becomes even more blurred.
One thing for certain, though, is that the businessmen put on a fine performance during the tournament and always put themselves in the position to reach the top. Offering his take on the debate, Phil Hellmuth, who finished 4th for $2,645,333, concluded:
“I never underestimate the billionaires. I play with billionaires in my home game and these guys have a way of showing up with a hand when the money is in there big. These billionaires are some of the smartest people on the planet, and they’re going to figure out a way — their own way — to play the game. So it didn’t surprise me.”

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