When poker lands you in hot water
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When poker lands you in hot water

An old chum of mine decided to host a round of poker for his banker colleagues in his apartment last week, deciding to ring in the New Year with a spot of gambling.

He told me that as well as a night of betting, it was also an “interview” of sorts for a junior looking to join the trading desk, even though the little tyke didn’t know it.

As is the norm, the festivities were preceded by an afternoon of drinking that extended into the evening down at a Wan Chai watering hole, so my pal could see how the junior handled his drink, along with his game. Perhaps sensing he needed to impress, the young one drank more than most.

So when they later tumbled into my friend’s Mid-Levels apartment, fuelled by whiskey and Dutch courage, the chap went all in on the first hand and laid down the $1,000 buy-in. When one of the others matched him though, he lost spectacularly.

Now, 20 years ago such bravado might have landed you a job as a hotshot trader at a bulge bracket firm. These days though, having “unsuccessful gambler” on your CV is a recipe for unemployment. Not since Dodd-Frank has gambler been synonymous with trader.

Needless to say, the junior banker failed the test and it may well be one he’ll come to rue when cost cuts rear their head again.

Still, my mate felt a pang of compassion for the young man. So he gifted him the pack of cards with this piece of advice: never play a hand you don’t know you can win.