David Rogers, chief executive officer of JD Capital Management LLC, won the Reach Take ’Em to School Poker Tournament early this morning. Greenlight Capital Inc. analyst David Tepperman was declared runner-up.
“At the final table I came in with the second-lowest chip stack,” Rogers, former head of trading for the equities division at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said. “I did have a couple of lucky hands.”
Rogers, who selected a seat at the World Series of Poker 2013 for his prize, said he won with a pair of fives to his opponent’s king and ten.
Tepperman outlasted his boss, Greenlight CEO David Einhorn, on his way to claiming a five-night stay at a house on Lamu, an island off the Kenyan coast.
“My boss is good at poker, so I got rolling with it,” Tepperman said.
Adam Oestreich, who runs the opportunity desk at Merrill Lynch, placed third; he chose a two-night stay at Caesars Atlantic City. Oestreich said he was invited to the event by a client, Pershing Square Capital Management LP.
The tournament, held this year at Gotham Hall, an event space in Manhattan, raises funds to prepare high-school students for Advanced Placement exams. Last year nearly 3,000 students attended training workshops, Reach Executive Director Kathrine Mott said.
Michael Sabat, an equity derivatives sales trader at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., was chairman of the tournament. He said in high school he took advanced-placement exams in calculus, Spanish, English and history.
Among those in attendance at the event: Whitney Tilson, founder and managing partner, T2 Partners LLC, who was just back from a trip to Italy and Berlin; and Jacques Garibaldi, managing partner, London Park Investments LLC, who said he is going on a vacation to Slovakia to visit his in-laws.
The tournament began with 24 tables, which were sold out three weeks prior to the event, Sabat said. Tables cost $10,000 and came with 10 seats to play, while individual seats cost $1,000; both included cocktails and buffet dinner.
Prizes went to the top 10 players. Jason Mudrick, president and chief investment officer of Mudrick Capital Management LP, placed 10th; he won the tournament in 2010 (taking home a stay in Kenya, which he still hasn’t used), and placed 14th in 2011. Oleg Nodelman, a portfolio manager at BVF Partners LP, Seth Lax, a senior vice president at Contrarian Capital Management LLC, and Phillip Hawkins, a trader at Bank of America, also made it to the final table.
Among the few women players were Julia Humphries, a trading assistant in fixed income at Capstone Investment Advisors, Rebecca MacDonell, who works at Highstar Capital LP, and Olivia Chung, a lawyer at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Karina Kabbash, a hedge-fund intern and New York University student majoring in economics and Mandarin, stuck to the blackjack table.
Bottles of water labeled The Merger Fund were provided by that mutual-fund company, and the goody bag included New York Knicks T-shirts donated by Madison Square Garden Co.
Shayla Williams, one of female masseuses who attended to the shoulders of players, said, “It’s pretty awkward. I’m used to working with oils.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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