Leaving a house of cards with a good hand

July 15, 2009

Wall Street’s gatekeepers often make their displeasure known when reporters and columnists refer to investment decisions as “bets” or taking on risk as a “gamble,” and God forbid should you liken the entire business to a “casino.”

And yet are the skills really so different?

A case in point is Steve Begleiter, who is currently having a better run of luck at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas than he did more than a year ago as head of corporate strategy at Bear Stearns. He is one of 27 remaining players on the final three tables, in third place with $11.9 million in chips.  Play resumes today to winnow the field down to 9.

At Bear Stearns, of course, bridge, not poker, was the preferred card game.  As Bear Stearns was melting down, James Cayne was in Detroit, playing in the spring 2008 North American Bridge Championships.

One comment

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The question is, was he out honing his poker skills (as Jimmy Cayne was doing with his bridge skills) instead of creating a “better” corporate strategy? The one Bear Stearns was pursuing was obviously a losing strategy (but he probably raked in millions and millions).
That would be great if they could get all of the people who have been hurt by this financial crisis to stand on the rail and “cheer” Begleiter on……

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