-Optimal strategy is not “How do you win the most?” It’s “How do I lose the least?”
-”One of the nice things about Chris growing up and playing games is he didn’t mind losing. Most kids I play with are scared of losing. He knows that losing, you learn something.” He said it only really upset him if he lost as the result of a mistake
Nearly fifty years later, it occurred to an amiable U.C.L.A. graduate student named Chris Ferguson to apply game theory concepts to grand-master poker. Relying on them, in 2000, he became known as the first person to win a prize of more than a million dollars in a poker tournament. Ferguson was born in L.A. in 1963. His father, Tom, taught game theory at U.C.L.A., and he brought home specialized board games and card games and taught them to Chris and his older brother, Marc. At seventeen, Chris began making occasional trips to Las Vegas. From a fifty-two-card deck, 2,598,960 five-card hands are possible. The basis for most poker strategy is a ruthless notion: what can I discern about my opponent’s habits that I can attack? Such an approach is called “maximally exploitive.” It is the way nearly all professionals proceed. While he was still a student, Ferguson decided also to employ a method called “optimal strategy.” It means, when up against an expert opponent, “How do I lose the least?” Mentions Leonard Kleinrock. Since 2000, Ferguson has won more than seven million dollars playing poker, and that’s less, apparently, than what he’s earned as “something like the chairman of the board” of Tiltware, which developed and licensed the software for FullTiltPoker.com, where people play online poker, sometimes against Ferguson and other professionals, for money. According to HR Gambling Capital, the online poker business made about $3.8 billion last year.
If you have any coding talent whatsoever, the best way to make a killing today is creating iPhone apps. It really is gold rush time. Apple takes a 30% cut, but handles all the billing and financial back-end.
-Ethan Nicholas wrote iShoot at night in his free time in only 6 weeks. He made $1,000 the first day his app went live and $2,000 on the second day. On his peak day he made $35,000. He has now made $800,000 in 5 months.
-iSteam which is just a neat trick emulating steam. The author made $100,000 on the app in 3 months after only 7 days of coding.
-Steve Demeter wrote Trism, a popular iPhone game, made $250,000 in the first 2 months.
-iFart, which is app that makes farting sounds, has netted over $290,000.
Source 1, Source 2
Larry Summers made over $5 million in 2008 from D.E. Shaw, a hedge fund he worked for. More eye-brow raising is the huge speaking fees he got from almost every major Wall Street firm and bank. Conflict of interest questions arise now that he is an instrumental economic advisor to Obama.
I doubt each speech had $67,000 of insights, but it’s more likely these firms were paying for future access. Here are some of his speech dates and compensation numbers:
1/9/2008 Skagen Funds $60,300
1/10/2008 Skagen Funds $60,300
1/11/2008 Skagen Funds $59.400
2/1/2008 JP Morgan $67,500
2/14/2008 Price Waterhouse Coopers $25,000
3/3/2008 Citigroup $45,000
4/9/2008 Financial Times $60,000
4/16/2008 Goldman Sachs $135,000
4/17/2008 Lehman Brothers $67,500
4/18/2008 State Street $45,000
5/7/2008 American Express $67,500
5/12/2008 TA Associates $67,500
5/30/2008 Citigroup $54,000
6/18/2008 Goldman Sachs $67,500
7/30/2008 Lehman Brothers $67,500
10/2/2008 State Street $112,500
10/19/2008 McKinsey $135,000
11/11/2008 Charles River Ventures $67,500
11/12/2008 Merrill Lynch $45,000
The real scandal of course is how Goldman kept over-paying vs. Citigroup. Just kidding.