David Einhorn, förvaltare av Green-light Capital, brukar jämföra investeringsprocessen med pokerspel. Nedan återges hur han menar:
"Investing and poker require similar skills.
Different people approach poker different ways. Loose aggressive types play lots of hands – virtually any two cards – and try to win lots of small pots. They are the day traders of the poker tables.
Others play any Ace or any King or any two high cards. They play too many hands, but don’t play them well. These folks can do fine for a while, but get outplayed after the flop by the loose aggressive types who eventually wear them down so that they wind up in a desperate spot playing a decent hand against a strong hand for the remainder of their chips. I would compare them to long-only closet indexers who trade too much.
Then there are the rocks. These folks sit around waiting for premium hands – high pocket pairs or an Ace, King. They fold and they fold and they fold. They are going to wait until they know they have a huge advantage. Then they bet as much as they can. It is very hard to beat a player like this. They can last a long time. Once people figure them out, nobody will play them when they do play. So they don’t get the chance to get enough chips in when they have a large advantage. Could this be what is becoming of Berkshire Hathaway?
I will tell you my poker style. It is close to the patient players waiting for a big advantage. I don’t play a lot of hands. But I don’t just wait for the perfect hand. They don’t come up often enough. I try to pick out one or two people at the table I want to play against or who I sense don’t want to play against me. When the situation feels right, I put in a big, aggressive raise with a marginal holding.
It is very hard to describe how I know the “feel” and sometimes I get it completely wrong. But to do well in a poker tournament, you have to recognize a few non-traditional opportunities and you need to get people to sometimes fold the better hand.
I think we invest similarly. By this I mean that most of our investing lines up nicely in the disciplined, traditional value camp – very low multiples of book value, revenues, earnings, etc., but occasionally we are opportunistic and invest in situations that are difficult to justify under traditional criteria but for one reason or another we believe to be better situations than they first appear.
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."
M.a.o. under korta perioder kan man vinna enbart på tur, men i det långa loppen krävs det skicklighet både inom poker som inom investeringar. Bida sin tid tills man har oddsen på sin sida och att satsa kapital i relation till hur säker en hand/investering är verkar vara ett recept som leder till framgång både inom poker som investeringar. Man kan dock göra allting rätt men ändå hamna fel vid enstaka tillfällen, men i det långa loppet så bör man lyckas bättre genom att hålla fokus på den långsiktiga processen.
Det jag känner Einhorn inte får med i ovanstående jämförelse är att investeringar, till skillnad från poker, inte är ett s.k. nollsummespel där den enes död är den andres bröd. Enligt mig så kan alla få till en "vinst" på sina investeringar på längre sikt genom att ta del av bolagens vinster. Antingen genom utdelningar eller genom att bolagen bygger upp värden internt. Det gäller dock då att inte falla i allt för många och dyrbara fallgropar under tidens gång.
Vad är din syn på ovanstående?