The World's Best Female Poker Player Joins the World's Biggest Hedge Fund – Bloomberg

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Vanessa Selbst, the most successful woman ever in tournament poker, is working at Bridgewater Associates to learn another big-money grind: hedge funds.

Selbst, who won $11.9 million in prizes over 12 years in the card game, joined the world’s largest hedge fund, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. In a Dec. 31 Facebook post announcing a career change, Selbst said she started at an unspecified hedge fund firm four months ago to focus on trading research and strategy. Selbst didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Vanessa Selbst

Photographer: Bebert Bruno/SIPA via AP Photo

“The environment feels a lot like poker did back in the day — a bunch of nerdy kids collaborating to try to beat our opponents at a game,” Selbst said in her post. “It’s also really freaking difficult.”

Hedge funds have turned to unconventional ways of acquiring fresh talent that could help boost performance. Ken Griffin’s Citadel co-hosted a year’s worth of data-science competitions at elite universities to recruit students who might otherwise seek jobs at technology giants such as Facebook Inc. or Apple Inc.

A spokeswoman for Westport, Connecticut-based Bridgewater declined to comment on the Selbst hire.

Though Selbst, 33, made her name while dragging casino chips, her Yale University undergraduate and law degrees point to a more traditional hedge fund background. Before joining Ray Dalio’s $160 billion firm, she worked part-time at a police misconduct plaintiffs’ law firm. The Brooklyn-born Selbst rethought her career after poker grew into too much of a “real job,” she told her followers, acknowledging that hedge funds might not work out.

“Every day I think I’m getting the hang of it, the next day I fail at the next challenge,” she said. “It’s exhausting, exciting, and completely humbling.”

Read more: Yale poker champ with $10 million shows men how to play