The Poker Face of Wall Street

The Poker Face of Wall Street


By (author) Aaron Brown, Foreword by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 231mm x 38mm | 544g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0471770574
  • ISBN 13: 9780471770572
  • Sales rank: 686,440

Product description

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 book a "must read." So will poker players searching for an edge in applying the insights of risk-takers on Wall Street.

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Author information

AARON BROWN is an executive director at the investment bank Morgan Stanley. He won the Wilmott Award in 2005 as Financial Educator of the Year for his speaking, writing, and activism. He holds degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard (where he played poker with a future world's richest man and a future president of the United States) and finance from the University of Chicago (where he played poker with three Nobel Prize winners). A well-known Wall Street quant, he is a columnist for Wilmott, the leading journal serving the quantitative finance community. He has been involved in trading, risk management, and portfolio management for Prudential Insurance, JPMorgan, Rabobank, and Citigroup. He is also a serious lifelong poker player who has played with Wall Street tycoons and world champion poker pros.

Review quote

"He convincingly argues that card strategies apply to investing, and he drives his thesis home with real-life examples." (Bloomberg News, April 27, 2006) "...The intellectually challenging and highly entertaining ... actually helps serious-minded investors (and poker players) increase their odds of making money." (Financial Times, March 2006) "[Brown] convincingly argues that card strategies apply to investing, and he drives his thesis home with real-life examples." (, May 2006) "...if you fancy yourself as a trader...then this book is an excellent place to start." (Financial World, July 2006)

Back cover copy

Praise for "The Poker Face of Wall Street" "Playing high-level poker, trading options, marketing bonds, and being a professor of finance--Aaron Brown has done them all. He shares with us the insights each of these has given him about the others and the lessons he's learned about life. From John Law to Fischer Black, I enjoyed the characters and the anecdotes." --Edward O. Thorp, author of "Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One" and "Beat the Market: A Scientific Stock Market System""How to be a poker pro and much more . . . a delightful journey through risk concepts with a Wall Street derivatives trader. Brown uses poker concepts as a wonderful metaphor for investment and living life. His enthusiasm for grasping the brass ring of adventure while explaining the role of 'incalculable risk' draws one into the experience of the book. A great read and a good manual for understanding risk." --Dr. William T. Ziemba, Alumni Professor of Financial Modeling and Stochastic Optimization Emeritus), Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Vancouver"Make no mistake, this is a book about economic development as much as poker, and it tells how to win at both gambling games. Experienced poker players and economists will both look at the world with new eyes after hearing what Aaron Brown has to say." --Perry Mehrling, Professor of Economics at Barnard College of Columbia University author of "Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance""The Poker Face of Wall Street is packed with useful information about gambling, the life on Wall Street, poker culture, and some of the most interesting people involved in gambling. The book is a great mix of entertaining and nontraditional thinking." --Espen Gaarder Haug, Trader, JPMorgan author of "The Complete Guide to Option Pricing Formulas"

Flap copy

Although you probably don't want to think of your broker orinvestment bank as playing games with your hard-earned money, thefact is that gambling lies at the heart of economic ideas andinstitutions. Not surprisingly, the game most like the financialmarkets--poker--is hugely popular with financialprofessionals. Financial professional and lifelong poker player Aaron Brownknows how fine the line is between risk-taking and ruin. Now, inThe Poker Face of Wall Street, Brown enlightens and bedazzlesserious risk-takers about the odds and skills underlying theirmercurial crafts and shows how the cultures of poker and WallStreet are so easily intertwined. Whether you're walking the walkon Wall Street or talking the talk on the Vegas Strip, thisentertaining book reveals why the modern game of poker and modernfinance have more similarities than differences, and what thosesimilarities mean for players at each kind of table.The Poker Face of Wall Street also: Delves into the psychology of finance and the economics ofpokerExplores some of the cutting-edge work being done in thesefields and some of the dangerous nonsense to avoidReveals how America's passion for gamblingat poker and in themarkets has shaped the country's economic success and nationalcharacterIncludes author flashbacks in which Brown candidly recalls histriumphs and disasters in high-stakes finance and pokerThe Poker Face of Wall Street is a one-of-a-kind book that willshow you the real meaning of risk and reward. Financialprofessionals who want to use poker insights to improve their jobperformance will find this entertaining book a must-read, as willpoker players searching for an edge by applying the insights ofrisk-takers on Wall Street.

Table of contents

Foreword. Preface. Chapter 1. The Art of Uncalculated Risk. Chapter 2. Poker Basics. Chapter 3. Finance Basics. Chapter 4. A Brief History of Risk Denial. Chapter 5. Pokernomics. Chapter 6. Son of a Soft Money Bank. Chapter 7. The once-bold mates of Morgan. Chapter 8. The Games People Play. Chapter 9. Who Got Game. Chapter 10. Utility Belt. Annotated Bibliography. Index.