Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Brain Townsend's Blog

Brian Townsend is some sort of high-rolling player on Full-Tilt who's been playing the "Big Game" at the Bellagio during the WSOP.

I don't know much about the guy, and just started reading his blog a few weeks ago. It's certainly interesting.

Million dollar swings (recently 3 million), having $150,000 in your online account is "playing short money". It's a window into a different world.

If you read his blog regularly I think it's also a peak into how a gambler with a lot of money is a very different kind of person than the typical rich person.

I don't think Warren Buffet would react to losing a few hundred thousand dollars in the same way Brian Townsend does. I think that's because he looks at money from a totally different perspective.

If Brian Townsend left a million dollars on the table he'd shrug it off, saying, I've got a 100 million, I've got plenty more where that came from. He thinks in terms of how meaningful that money is to his bankroll, how meaningful it is to him personally.

A really rich person, like Warren Buffet, tends to think of money in terms of what it can do. Not in terms of whether or not he needs it. That's a very different viewpoint and it causes very different types of money-related behaviors.

When you see gamblers talk about how competitive they are I don't think they think of competitiveness in terms of accomplishments. Not in terms of actually doing something, but more in terms of what it gets them. The difference might be subtle, but I don't think it's a small difference. I think it's pretty big.

Here's an RSS feed for the last 10 blog entries at Brian Townsend's Blog

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Blogger Dr Zen said...

Buffett would understand Townsend's point of view. He understands risk/reward perfectly well. It's his strong point.

This is what I found odd:

"Sitting with some of these guys made me realize how limited poker is. Not that I am not happy with what I do. I also make more money than I personally will ever need. But you will never be a billionaire from playing poker and interacting with some of these guys made me realize how much money there is to be made. I don't' necessarily need to make that much but its good to be cognizant of the possibility."

He makes more money than he will ever need, gives no ideas what he would actually do with more, but it's good to be "cognisant" of the possibility of making much, much more.

WTF? If I make more money than I will ever need, that's the day I give up poker. I guess I've never understood that whole dicksizing thing. Money is a means to an end, not a way to keep score for your life.

7:51 PM  
Blogger DMW said...

It depends what you "need." Rupert Murdoch needs more money to build a media empire than I do to keep my car running.

8:21 PM  
Blogger StB said...

Sounds like he doesn't understand the value of money. Has no respect for it. Kinda like watching the stupid show with Esfandiari and Laack making prop bets. Each show a lack of respect for what they have and for the people they get involved with their bets. Should they go broke I wouldn't feel bad for any of them.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Dr. Zen.

I don't think Townsend is about risk/reward at all, and I think you're example actually demonstrates that.

It's about winning to him, at all costs. There is no tradeoff, there's only winning. Risk only enters into the picture because of the importance of staying in action, not as any kind of efficient frontier.

Buffet understand what a well spent million dollars can to do improve the human condition -- which is why he gave 30 billion to the Gates Foundation to disperse on 3rd world health and education.

To Townsend, money that doesn't contribute to his goal of winning isn't relevant to anything.

I think Townsend is very typical of gamblers (and, yes, Virginia, poker players are gamblers).

11:18 AM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

DMW, you simply demonstrated what I said: money is a means to an end for someone like Murdoch. He doesn't "need" it unless he has a purpose for it.

Gary, Townsend just doesn't strike me as quite the same kind of boneheaded gambler as a Matusow, but I do take your point. However, Buffett does not make money *so that* he can be a philanthropist. He's trying to win too.

Anyway, I don't think you can make money at poker unless you have the urge to win. It seems that all the best players are the kind of guys who would want to win whatever they played.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

I'm not so sure Buffet cares about winning as much as you think.

He wants to be right, he wants to do a good job, but I'm not sure his motivation is as directly financial as you think.

He's very much a value investor, he buys positions in companies that he thinks are undervalued relative to their ability to generate profits, not companies that he thinks the market will soon re-value.

To some people the winning isn't about the winning, it's about the process. I think you can be a winning poker player without caring at all whether or not you win any particular bet.

3:58 PM  

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