Wall Street Recognizes Poker’s Importance in Two Events

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Many in the poker community remember the famous commercial from Full Tilt Poker that compared the game of poker to the inner workings of business. The similarities between business and poker, with such terms as calculated risk, leverage and return on investment used, were all a part of that Full Tilt commercial back in the mid-2000s. Continuing to demonstrate the similarities, power players of the business world gathered together for two poker tournaments earlier this week, with one of them to be broadcast on television.

On Tuesday, six businessmen gathered at the Borgata in Atlantic City for a sit and go that was taped by Bloomberg TV and will be broadcast in August on the channel. The six hedge fund managers – two readily recognizable faces to poker players in David Einhorn (Greenlight Capital) and Bill Perkins (Skylar Capital) and Steve Kuhn (Pine River Investments), John Rogers (Ariel Investments), Jim Chanos (Kynikos Associates) and Mario Gabelli (Gabelli Asset Management) – all put up $50,000 that went to charity. According to Business Insider’s Linette Lopez, the program promises to be interesting as, during the One Drop High Rollers in June at the WSOP, Einhorn knocked Perkins out of the tournament.

For those that will be looking for this on Bloomberg TV, the program will be called “Poker Night on Wall Street” and, although a firm date hasn’t been set, it is expected in August. It will be hosted by Bloomberg TV’s Trish Regan, who also hosts the program Street Smart on the same network.

Last night, the event was a little larger as Michael Sabat of Sanford Bernstein and Whitney Tilson of Kase Capital brought together their business compatriots, athletes and poker professionals for an event at Gotham Hall in Manhattan. The Fourth Annual “Take ‘Em To School” charity poker tournament, raising funds for Education Reform Now (an advocacy organization to ensure children receive high quality public education), was a $1000 buy in tournament with some side casino action and drinks priced at $250. Up for grabs for those in attendance was a seat at the 2014 World Series of Poker Championship Event, swanky vacations and golf outings, and the chance to lunch with the power players in the investment industry.

Along with the tournament a silent auction was held to raise additional funds for Education Reform Now. Such auction items as a chance to attend the Grammy Awards, a signed photo of the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and other items were up for grabs, and a putting contest was held on a special putting green. It was the poker tournament that drew the greatest attention, however.

Einhorn, apparently looking for some more action, stepped to the felt for this tournament as well and was joined by three poker professionals who all carried bounties on their heads. Poker Hall of Famer and eight time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel, Andy Frankenberger and Olivier Busquet were joined on the felt by former New York Knicks guard John Starks and former New York Mets and Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden took part in the casino action. In total, 250 players showed up for the poker tournament, according to Business Insider’s Julia LaRoche and Steven Perlberg, who provided photos of all the action at the event.

Also on the felt were both Sabat and Tilson, joined by the defending champion of the tournament David Rogers, Sabat’s brother John and wife Amber, Paul Britton (Capstone Investment Advisors) and Ray Waterhouse (Magnitude Capital), among others. As the midnight hour passed, Britton was able to defeat Amber Sabat to take the championship, but the real winner was the charity.

The two events held by the power brokers on Wall Street only confirm the ties that poker and the business world have with each other. Not only were they able to raise a great deal of money for charity, but they were also able to join together in the camaraderie of the game of poker for an evening.

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