Playing The Game: Poker & Trading (w/ Denise Shull) | Mental Game of Trading

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Denise Shull of the ReThink Group notes the attraction that many traders have to the game of poker. In this episode, she digs into the similarities and more importantly, the differences, between playing card games and trading financial markets.

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Playing The Game: Poker & Trading (w/ Denise Shull) | Mental Game of Trading

For the full transcript:
I’m Denise Shull, a performance coach for hedge fund managers, traders, professional
athletes, and now, some corporate warriors. I founded the ReThink Group, we think of it as a decision
consultancy, although I think we’re probably known for peak performance, using neuroscience and modern
psychoanalysis to help people really deliver their best performances in any realm actually.
Poker and portfolio managers generally go hand in hand. Not all portfolio managers play poker, but a lot
of them and a lot of traders play poker too. There’s a certain appeal to it, I think, because it’s like the
markets. And it is, in many ways, a good analogy. The markets are a global poker game, really. You have
all these participants who are looking at these numbers, making bets on their relative value, just like the
poker table- making bets on the relative value. And in poker, you sort of win not with the cards, but by
betting against other people’s bets, right? It’s really about figuring out who’s bluffing and who’s not.
So, that’s also true in markets, not that anyone’s bluffing. But that you win in markets, like the neuroscience
shows that those who are best at predicting price action are predicting the people. Our brains are very
social, the market is effectively social, the value of any given thing at any given moment is just a collective
social perception, right? There’s not some, like, be all end all truth over here that says this is worth that,
because tomorrow, it’s worth something different. So, you’re always betting against what other people are
thinking, which is really the way you win in poker. So, that’s why there’s a good parallel.
The thing about that markets, though, is like the cards change. At least in poker, the cards do mean what
they mean. They don’t in the markets, like the relationship between bonds and the dollar, or the gold and
oil, or whatever is going to change. Now, the relationship between aces and the kings isn’t changing. So,
the markets are actually harder than poker, but the process of practicing thinking about, like, what cards
do these people have? And how are they betting? Like that process is good practice for market decision

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Playing The Game: Poker & Trading (w/ Denise Shull) | Mental Game of Trading

6 thoughts on “Playing The Game: Poker & Trading (w/ Denise Shull) | Mental Game of Trading

  1. Weak analogy mama. You’re not betting against anyone’s bets at all. Just the opposite. You’re trying to be in harmony with the market, cause the market is never wrong. Did I mention the market is never wrong. Cause you cannot beat the market… you get in harmony and go with the flow and the market rewards you.
    Out of curiosity? Do you work for a Bankruptcy attorney. Just wondering.

  2. If you lose a hand in poker you lose the hand. If your trade goes the wrong and your trading long ,you can wait for the stock to go back up.

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