First conference on macroeconomics and poker analysis

The theme of the first MacroSports conference, held on July 7, 2013 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, was the intersection of macroeconomic concerns and poker analytics. Hedge fund managers and poker players discussed the synergies between the areas. One of the conference attendees saw the essential connection in the emotional distance that successful poker players and managers need when dealing with large sums of money. The importance of body language and statistics was also discussed.

The conference took place just around the corner from Casino Rio, where the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments are currently taking place. The conference was held in parallel to the main events, which will reduce the number of participants to nine by 15 July. For the total profit will be poker only in November.

Reid Walker, co-founder of MacroSports and former co-owner of Walker Smith Capital LP in Texas, said there has always been a connection between what drives good poker players and successful investors. He described participating in high-stakes tournaments as a similarly intense process as managing a portfolio. Both areas are characterized by a competitive environment with many variables, in which it is necessary to interpret the behavior of the opponents.

Visitors to the conference included professional Canadian poker player Mike McDonald (nickname Timex), who often stakes for other players. He said during the conference that about a quarter of the buy-ins at last year’s World Series of Poker Main Event, or about $ 15 million, were provided by investors like him.

Many of the investors present showed interest in this relatively unknown investment strategy. McDonald had caused quite a stir in early June when he set up an account on Twitter called @BankofTimex and announced he wanted to offer odds to players in tournaments. However, he quickly realized that this was not allowed in US legislation and withdrew the offer.

Brandon Adams is the second founder of the MacroSports conference. Not only is he a poker expert and poker player, he has also taught at Harvard and published books on financial topics. His influence has been felt in conference topics such as global debt and the development of foreign exchange markets. However, there was a particular interest in practical poker topics, such as the art of interpreting the behavior of poker players and managers, and strategies for participating in the main event of the WSOP.

Among the professional poker players who gave tips were z. Tom Dwan (nicknamed “durrrr”), who specializes in one-to-one duels and has already earned more than $ 2 million in tournaments. Also present were Phil Galfond and Kenny Tran; both very successful poker players and winners of the World Series of Poker.

The last lecture of the day was held by Nate Silver, who spoke about the outlook for the elections from 2014 to 2016. Silver is a well-known statistician (and former poker pro) in the US who became known for his accurate political predictions. In the 2008 US presidential election, he was able to predict the winner in 49 states using his statistical model. Meanwhile, his columns are published in the online edition of The New York Times. He underscored the groundbreaking nature of this conference by pointing out that this would be the first conference in Las Vegas history to begin at 9am on Sunday morning.

This conference can be interpreted as a sign of the renewed interest in poker. The poker boom of the 2000s was spurred on, among other things, by the winning of Chris Moneymaker in the main event of the 2003 World Series of Poker, which ended abruptly on the so-called black Friday, April 15, 2011. On this day, the legislature extended the ban on online gambling, which existed since 2007, officially also on poker providers.

Organizer Adams said it was “almost impossible to become a professional poker player, especially in the United States.” Above all, he sees this as a result of the lack of legal online offerings and the fees that casinos require in order to organize tournaments with cash deposits. However, the now legal online poker offer in Nevada should be a first ray of hope. Next year will show how many states are actually going to legalize online poker as one of the ways to keep the online trends like free pokies.