The first ever MacroSports conference was held in Las Vegas on the weekend, and was attended by a number of poker enthusiasts from around the US.
The conference company held their inaugural meeting at the Bellagio Hotel, and featured discussions on the art of reading behaviors, or tells, in poker players along with strategy for how to play the WSOP Main Event, which has just finished its three starting flights.
MacroSports, which lists its chief goal is revolving around “catering to the mutually shared interests of finance professionals and poker players”, includes poker players such as Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan and WSOP Gold Bracelet winner Phil Galfond in its speakers list.
It was founded by businessman Reid Walker, who has also played a number of poker tournaments – including the WSOP – under the name Chance Walker. Mr Walker said that the point of the MacroSports conference was to explore the similarities between finance and poker and how skills and knowledge of both areas could benefit once another.
“As a former hedge fund manager, playing high-stakes no limit hold’em tournaments was always oddly relaxing and exhilarating It shares some of the intensity of managing a portfolio, a highly competitive environment with high variance, risk controls, reading people and interesting personalities,” he said. “There’s always been this hidden nexus of what drives good poker players and good investors. I hope it will be a fun conference over time if it germinates like we hope it does.
Mike McDonald, who is the youngest player to win a European Poker Tour and Epic Poker League event, was present at the conference and spoke on the issue of staking in poker tournaments. According to McDonald, between 20 and 25 per cent of buy ins for last year’s WSOP Main event was funded via staking, which is, by and large, an illegal practice.
McDonald said that the marketplace for investing in poker players and the events they play in is largely inefficient, but could not sell long and short stakes in other players due to the practice’s illegal status.
“It’s probably one of the least efficient markets I’ve seen and for one that’s this large, it seemed it would be beneficial to have it correct itself,” he said. “If I could aid in correcting it in the worst case and financially do well in the best case, it seemed kind of win-win.”
A second conference is planning to take place in Las Vegas next year, with it possibly occurring in May in due to the weather being cooler than it July. Temperatures in the western US city are currently around 38 degrees Celsius.