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What's a Ping Pool? A VIP Lounge for Dark Trading

It's warmer in the pool.

It's warmer in the pool.

Photographer: Trinette Reed/Getty Images

There are casinos that welcome everyone, by the busload. Then there are casinos that are by invitation only, designed for big rollers. In the markets, stock exchanges are the first kind. Ping pools are the second. And like anything else with a velvet rope, they’re generating intense interest among those left outside.

They’re alternative stock-trading venues, mostly run by large electronic-trading firms. Virtu Financial Inc. and Citadel Securities operate the largest ping pools. Jane Street Group LLC started its own such venue in 2014; IMC Financial Markets launched one last year.