PCA 2016: From business to poker and back again
When it comes to business and poker, you have to learn to deal with bad beats.
That was the most important piece of financial advice that Team PokerStars Pros Eugene Katchalov and Liv Boeree gave players to digest along with their pastries and coffees.
"Businesses are like poker tournaments," Katchalov said during this morning's "Breakfast with the Pros" Q&A session. "Most of the time you fail and you only make real money like one percent of the time."
You can do everything right and still fail, Katchalov told the audience. In his life before poker, Katchalov was a stock market day trader who went on to found his own hedge fund.
But then came poker.
In 2003, Katchalov dedicated himself to poker full time and he's cashed for more than $8.5 million since. Now the pendulum is swinging back and Katchalov has become an angel investor for small businesses.
Katchalov knows success because he's learned to deal with failure. The important thing is perseverance.
"You don't get your aces cracked every time," Boeree agreed. "But it happens. If you put in a lot volume, it happens a lot.
"The same happens in life. There are lots of small possibilities of bad events happening and sometimes they do. Learning to deal with bad beats helps you stomach the negative when it eventually happens."
There are other translatable skills like risk assessment and money management, but there are a few other variables that come into play when you make decisions off the felt.
"I have this real altruistic friend on Twitter who was talking about how -EV the Powerball is," Boeree said. "And he was like 'Back me up Liv!'"
But Boeree said she had a hard time doing so because his equation hadn't factored in the "Fun EV" from sweating the numbers and dreaming about winning the lottery.
"It brought three days of dreaming for one of my friends," Katchalov said. At $2 a ticket, it's one of the most +DreamEV decisions you can make.
"I think the PowerBall's actually financial +EV now," Katchalov said. "I read an article that said it's something like $2.04 expected value for your $2."
If players were looking for specific financial advice from a successful hedge fund manager and professional poker player, they got it: go play the lottery.
Katchalov has other goals though. Within the next 10 years, Katchalov says he expects to ween off professional poker and focus on a single business.
"I find the idea of start ups fascinating," Katchalov said "I love watching them grow and being a part of the process.
Boeree, who's doing a lot of charity work, said she's still soul-searching for her big business idea.
Ten years ago she was split between being a professional poker player and a rock star. If neither of those worked out, Boeree said she probably would've ended up getting a PhD and worked as a research scientist.
Now she's researching inefficiencies in different industries and brainstorming on how to improve them.
Katchalov and Boeree might fail a few times, but that won't stop them from reaching their goal.
They only stop when they've reached success.
Alexander Villegas is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.