05.31.11

New Mets Minority Partner David Einhorn : Great At Stealing The Team From Wilpon, Merely Average At Poker

Posted in Baseball, poker, The Marketplace at 12:50 pm by

A day prior to Biz Of Baseball’s Jordan Korbitz characterizing David Einhorn’s purchase of a $200 million stake in the New York Mets as a sweetheart prelude to his eventual takeover of the club (“if Wilpon can’t fund this year’s estimated losses of $70 million, after previously borrowing $25 million from MLB to fund team operations, it is highly unlikely he will magically come up with $200 million to buy Einhorn out in three years, regardless of how the Picard lawsuit is resolved”), Newsday’s Neil Best sought to clarify Einhorn’s rep as something of a poker maven.

Though Einhorn finished 18th in the 2006 World Series Of Poker, donating his $659,730 in winnings to charity, poker veterans quizzed by Best painted a picture of a less than imposing challenger.

“He seemed like a nice guy. I was somewhat aware that he was a rich hedge fund guy and was playing for charity,” said Michael Binger, who finished 3rd. I don’t want to be negative. He was a very nice guy. But he definitely was an amateur player, so I was certainly looking forward to playing with him. He wasn’t terribly experienced from what I recall.’’

So how did he get that far? “It’s all probabilities,’’ Binger said. “The person who won that year, Jamie Gold, hasn’t done anything since then and frankly was one of the worst players ever to win, according to most accounts. There is a lot of luck in the short term in tournament poker. On average the better players will make it further and deeper, but that doesn’t preclude an outlier.’’

Prahlad Friedman, a poker pro who finished 20th in the 2006 event, initially wasn’t sure he recalled playing against Einhorn. Then he asked whether Einhorn was the guy with the handprints on his sweatshirt who “kind of looks like ‘The 40-year Old Virgin,’’’

Like other pros, Friedman said the WSOP Main Event is not the best way to measure poker acumen. “Jamie Gold won that year [in ‘06],’’ Friedman said. “He was not a very good player. There have been some players in the past that aren’t that great that have won the whole thing. Just because he made a deep run doesn’t mean he’s a winning poker player who could do it for a living.’’

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