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MFAA Prosper : Mortgage and Finance Brief 08
MFAA National Convention 2011 Speaker: Risk-Taking and Decision-Making in Poker, Business and Life You haven't had what one would call a 'conventional' career path. Was there a plan at work or were you just enjoying the ride? (laughs) A plan? Definitely not. At 16 I was an actor, and that made me want to become a film director. I was ver y passionate about that. I went to Cambridge University at 19 and, even among the thespian community there, I was the most driven and focused and, fuelled by that ambition, everything went very quickly. I wrote a screenplay at age 19 and by 22 had it produced by Film Four and Columbia Tri-Star, so for that period of my life there was a plan and my life was going according to it. The irony for me in the film industry was that the more successful I became the less I enjoyed it. I needed to do something else and poker was only ever going to be a stopgap. I didn't think it was going to last for three years, but it did. So after that I retur ned to the UK and started the video production company with a vague idea that I would embrace risk in a business context in the same way that I had managed it on the poker table. How did you become involved in business speaking? Well, after three years (r unning the company), I knew that my happiest days had been talking to groups of people and teaching the people in my company. I thought that I'd like to have a job where I go around speaking to people about what I know and I guess now, seven years later, that's what I do, which is a nice feeling. Serendipitously, I met a guy who worked with people from all walks of life for business presentations. What I knew 100% was that I wanted to work with people in a way that was engaging, fu n and educational; but I was lucky enough to meet someone who could help me get to a high level quite quickly. You've been the presenter and poker expert on Poker Night Live and Sky Poker, the poker strategy writer for Flush magazine and you gained a film credit as poker adviser on the James Bond film Casino Royale. Is poker still a big part of what you do? Somewhere between yes and no. I used to go to Las Vegas for holidays and in the summer of '99 I had a conversation with a man about professional poker playing. Having studied Economics I saw immediately what I now teach (the con nection between poker, risk and decisions). Apart from that, everything else about poker was not natural and I had to work ver y, very hard for ever y dollar I ear ned. After coming home (to the UK), I continued to play for another four years and then I scaled that dow n (to just playing with friends). I now bill myself as a 'former professional poker player ', which inevitably leads to people saying, "Ooh, you must have made a loss"! (laughs) You obviously became fascinated at some point in the process of decision-making. When I was studying Economics, there was no way that I thought this would be a great message for business, however when I was playing poker, I was having very specific conscious thoughts about this at that time ... but probably didn't think about this again for about six years. But the obsession with decision-making did come about at the poker table (where) you have to make a decision on average every 90 seconds. You can't delegate, you can't procrastinate; you have to make a decision. The process of doing that eight hours a day, six days a week for three years made me fascinated by the power of the voice inside At 16 Caspar Berry was appearing on the BBC children's show Byker Grove, and over the following 15 years he has read Economics and Anthropology at Cambridge, made a movie, worked in Hollywood, lived in Las Vegas as a professional poker player, started a video production company, before becoming a business speaker in 2005. He will be appearing at the 2011 MFAA Convention in Brisbane to tell us about Risk-Taking and Decision-Making in Poker, Business and Life. Interview Rober t Dugan Caspar Berry “At the poker table you have to make a decision on average every 90 seconds. You can't delegate, you can't procrastinate; you have to make a decision.” 24 | Mortgage & Finance brief Interview
Mortgage and Finance Brief 07
Mortgage and Finance Brief 09