Poker Fan Palihapitiya Buys Piece of NBA Franchise

Chamath Palihapitiya

Long-time poker player and former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya has joined the ownership group of the Golden State Warriors, the team announced yesterday.

Terms of the agreement with the Warriors weren't disclosed, but Palihapitiya will become the latest Executive Board Member on the Warriors' ownership list headed by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

Palihapitiya has been playing poker for well over a decade and made a couple of deep runs at this summer’s WSOP, including finishing 101st in the Main Event and grabbing a 15th-place finish in a $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event.

Said Palihapitiya, in an interview with PokerListings at the time:

“The respect and the mental fortitude it shows to win a WSOP bracelet is just incredible,” he said.

“It would mean everything to win one”

While he fell just short of that dream Palihapitiya, who left his Facebook job earlier in the year to found The Social+Capital venture capital fund, definitely sees poker as an essential counterpart to his high-pressure career.

“It’s a very important part of my life,” he said.

“It’s one of the few things I have that allows me to break away from what’s otherwise a really intense job.”

Prior to launching The Social+Capital fund, Palihapitiya was the longest tenured original member of Facebook's Senior Management team, holding several positions and finishing his four-year run in June as Vice President of User Growth, Mobile and International.

Palihapitiya has also held senior management positions at AOL (Vice President and GM of AIM and ICQ), Mayfield Fund (a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley), Winamp and (two internet music pioneers).

Palihapitiya graduated from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, which has also produced well-known poker pros Mike “Timex” McDonald, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Glen Chorny, Scott Montgomery and Nenad Medic and was named one of PokerListings' Top 5 poker universities.

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