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The goof finally stopped spawning more goofs when John D'Antona arrived late one Friday morning with suitcase in hand. He'd planned a weekend trip to Puerto Rico D'Antona didn't discover the switcheroo until he emerged from a hotel shower in Puerto Rico that evening. He was the backbone of a new and fragile enterprise, they said. Screw backbones, he said, he had been offered much more money by Goldman Sachs They expected, they said, for him to forget about trading for a moment and consider the importance of loyalty to the firm.

And you know what he said to that?

Book Review of Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis

He said, 'You want loyalty, hire a cocker spaniel. After being sent to fetch lunch for several traders, Matty bragged about having snuck out of the cafeteria without paying:. His big mistake was to brag to one of the fat traders how he had done it. That afternoon Matty received a phone call from a man who claimed to work for the "special projects division of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Would Matty know anything about that? Here's what happened when Matty went back to his desk after meeting with managing director Michael Mortara, who orchestrated the entire charade:. He had been made the victim of what was known in the department as a goof.

Liar's Poker

It had been Mortara's idea, but Mortara persuaded Gutfreund to lend a touch of credibility to the ruse. Ranieri needed ten thousand dollars. He was nineteen years old, and all he had to his name was his weekly paycheck. He was finally forced to request a loan from the one Salomon Brothers partner he knew vaguely Ranieri thought that meant it would be deducted from his weekly paycheck, which he couldn't afford, and he began to protest.

Salomon Brothers paid the ten-thousand-dollar bill racked up by the wife of its mailroom clerk with three months' tenure. And though they eventually learned, how Howie Rubin lost more money on a single trade than anyone on the history of Wall Street remained one of the most beguiling mysteries on Wall Street. A Merrill exec told the WSJ that Rubin had put the bonds in a drawer, and the firm was unaware of their existence. When news broke that the Soviet nuclear reactor had exploded, Alexander called Instantly in his mind less supply of nuclear power equaled more demand for oil , and he was right.

His investors made a large killing. Mine made a small killing. Minutes after I had persuaded a few clients to buy some oil, Alexander called back.

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Of course. A cloud of fallout would threaten European food and water supplies, including the potato crop, placing a premium on uncontaminated American substitutes. But in addition, he could trade it in at any time before for Salomon common stock at thirty-eight dollars a share. In other words, Buffett got a free play, over the next nine years, in the shares of Salomon. Lewis writes, "My degree in art history finally served my career. I knew all about frauds.

Ask yourself: What would a painter do if a rival stole his work and put his name con it? One trader begins by making "a bid. Once the first bid has been made, the game moves clockwise in the circle. Let's say the bid is three sixes. The player to the left of the bidder can do one of two things. Or he can "challenge"e hat is like saying, "I doubt it. Then, and only then, do the players reveal their serial numbers and determine who is bluffing whom.

In the midst of all this, the mind of a good player spins with probabilities. What is the statistical likelihood of there being three sixes within a batch of, say, forty randomly generated serial numbers?

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For a great player, however, the math is the easy part of the game. The hard part is reading the faces of the other players. The complexity arises when all players know how to bluff and double-bluff. The game has some of the feel of trading, just as jousting has some of the feel of war. The questions a Liar's Poker player asks himself are, up to a point, the same questions a bond trader asks himself. Is this a smart risk? Do I feel lucky? How cunning is my opponent?

Does he have any idea what he's doing, and if not, how do I exploit his ignorance? If he bids high, is he bluffing, or does he actually hold a strong hand? Is he trying to induce me to make a foolish bid, or does he actually have four of a kind himself?

Book Review of Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis | Hooked to Books

Each player seeks weakness, predictability, and pattern in the others and seeks to avoid it in himself. But the place where the stakes run highest, thanks to John Meriwether, is the New York bond trading floor of Salomon Brothers. The code of the Liar's Poker player was something like the code of the gunslinger. It required a trader to accept all challenges. But he knew it was stupid. For him, there was no upside. If he won, he upset Sutfreund. No good came of this. But if he lost, he was out of pocket a million bucks. This was worse than upsetting the boss. Although Meriwether was by far the better player of the game, in a single hand anything could happen. Luck could very well determine the outcome. Meriwether spent his entire day avoiding dumb bets, and he wasn't about to accept this one.

Ten million dollars. No tears. It was a moment for all players to savor. Meriwether was playing Liar's Poker before the game even started. He was bluffing. Sutfreund considered the counterproposal. It would have been just like him to accept. Merely to entertain the thought was a luxury that must have pleased him well. It was good to be rich. On the other hand, ten million dollars was, and is, a lot of money.

If Gutfreund lost, he'd have only thirty million or so left. His wife, Susan, was busy spending the better part of fifteen million dollars redecorating their Manhattan apartment Meriwether knew this. And as Gutf reund was the boss, he clearly wasn't bound by the Meriwether code. Who knows? Maybe he didn't even know the Meriwether code.

Maybe the whole point of his challenge was to judge Meriwether's response. Even Gutfreund had to marvel at the king in action. So Sutfreund declined. In fact, he smiled his own brand of forced smile and said, "You're crazy.

I make a lot of money. It came through a distant cousin of mine who, years before, and somewhat improbably, had married a German baron.

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