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The Poker Face of Wall Street

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  92 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Wall Street is where poker and modern finance?and the theory behind these "games"?clash head on. In both worlds, real risk means real money is made or lost in a heart beat, and neither camp is always rational with the risk it takes. As a result, business and financial professionals who want to use poker insights to improve their job performance will find this entertaining ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by John Wiley & Sons (first published January 1st 2006)
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Dec 08, 2008 Greg rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: finance professionals looking for a different perspective
Check out the flashback sections at the end of some of the chapters to get some perspective on the author's experiences. Generally I liked the book, but I was struck by the fact that there wasn't a lot of advice for finance/risk professionals. Basically his take is that they should be good at risk related games such as poker, but this doesn't say much more to me than that you should be good at math.
Sections I liked :
The Games People Play - General information about game theory and poker. Not rea
Aaron Brown is the quant equivalent of a rock star (well, to me at least). I loved this book - it provides historical context as well as real-world ideas and experience. All quants (and risk managers) should read it.
As someone who never gambles as a past time, this book is way outside my comfort zone and has significant sections on how to win at poker that I assume I will never need. The author does share my reservations about game theory and he did teach me poker fundamentals! Nevertheless I learned quite a bit from it about why people go looking for risk, how they handle it and the role of risk in the economy. The author sees little difference between the modern financial economy and poker and thinks this ...more
Good discussion about poker, finance, and economic history. Probably a more interesting book about the financing support for westward expansion of the American frontier rather than a "strictly poker" tale.

The discussion about "soft money banks" was insightful.

The book is hard to summarize. Lots of great content and anecdotes, but I didn't get a solid feel for the author's thesis, if in fact there was one.
Being nice and giving this a three because if you are more foreign to the subject this would be more useful. Too much fluff in this book. The format of going between the 2 subjects, poker and then wallstreet... gets old. Content should have been cut in half.
Brown seems like a smart guy and there is some interesting stuff in here --- but not enough to make it a compelling read overall.
Anandh Sundar
Good read for poker players but gets a bit dull at times.
He neither does complete justice to finance or poker
One of the best books that I have read. Recommended for anyone who loves derivatives market and/or poker
Franco Arda
Aaron opened my eyes to a new world: un-calculated risk.
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