David Einhorn, a 43 year old hedge fund manager from Westchester, held a conference call this morning to announce he was in line to purchase a minority share of the New York Mets. Here is an annotated list of every interesting thing he said during the call:
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Mr. Einhorn is fairly skilled at giving short answers to dumb questions.
Besides being a well known gardener . . . oh, hedge funds. Besides being a well known hedge fund manager, Einhorn is also a good poker player, finishing 18th in the 2006 World Series of Poker. He also grew up a Mets fan, before rooting for the Brewers when his family moved to Milwaukee.
More importantly, he seems like the sort of guy you might want making decisions about a baseball team (though his share in non-controlling). Einhorn once said this about whether investing and poker were different:
People ask me “Is poker luck?” and “Is investing luck?”
The answer is, not at all. But sample sizes matter. On any given day a good investor or a good poker player can lose money. Any stock investment can turn out to be a loser no matter how large the edge appears. Same for a poker hand. One poker tournament isn’t very different from a coin-flipping contest and neither is six months of investment results.
On that basis luck plays a role. But over time – over thousands of hands against a variety of players and over hundreds of investments in a variety of market environments – skill wins out.
Well that’s Moneyball-ish enough for me. Einhorn also claimed to be impressed with Sandy Alderson — real recognize real — so I’m sold.