If there were an equivalent of a quantitative trader in the poker world, then Chris Ferguson would be a perfect example. Chris earned a PhD in computer science in the late nineties and went on to become a professional poker player and gambling and lottery industry consultant. He has won five World Series of Poker events, including the 2000 WSOP Main Event, and the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. His playing style is highly mathematical as he uses a strong knowledge of game theory and has developed computer simulations to improve his understanding of the game. Last but not least, Chris also tried his hands at day trading.
I watched a video of him being interviewed by Michael Covel, who is known as one of the original Turtles. Although the video is short, it successfully brings across the following important points:
- Play with the best players and learn from them.
- Spend more time away from the tables doing analysis, thus developing an analytical thought process.
- Do not focus on last hands’ results. Winning or losing does not matter in the short run. Focus on the process and long-term results.
- Put faith in mathematics. Try to make decisions less emotional as possible and mathematical as much as possible.
- Study the game hard. Analyze the game from mathematical stand points.
- Practice and practice and practice.
Although Chris discussed these points in order to educate aspiring professional poker players, they are definitely important lessons for quantitative traders as well.