Saturday, July 14, 2012

How to Play Poker (or Invest) Like David Einhorn

In some circles, David Einhorn is admired as much (or even more) for his poker abilities than his investing skills. But as Einhorn himself points out in this article his strategy with both is similar. 
Einhorn has said his approach to poker resembles his approach to investing: He doesn’t play a lot of hands. When “the situation feels right, I put in a big, aggressive raise with a marginal holding,” he said in a 2006 speech. “It is very hard to describe how I know the ‘feel,’ and sometimes I get it completely wrong. But to do well in a poker tournament, you have to recognize a few non-traditional opportunities and you need to get people to sometimes fold the better hand. I think we invest similarly. By this, I mean that most of our investing lines up nicely in the disciplined, traditional value camp—very low multiples of book value, revenues, earnings, etc., but occasionally we are opportunistic and invest in situations that are difficult to justify under traditional criteria."
The article contains some inaccuracies--for example, Einhorn wasn't bluffing and thus couldn't have been out-bluffed--but in addition to the above it contains how many millions Einhorn won playing poker this time and how Einhorn felt doing so.

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