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Commodities trader Dan Shak is used to dealing with millions of dollars through his hedge fund but he told us he gets more of a sweat at the poker table. Shak has been crushing the high-stakes live tournament circuit, racking up over $5.3 million in earnings since 2004. We caught the newly-minted Ivey Poker pro on a break at the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific main event to find out what it's like to juggle careers in poker and finance while traveling around the world.
It so far has been special. I played two events, final tabled one. Played well at the final table, didn't run so well, so you can't change that. But as far as Crown Casino goes in Australia, it's always been probably one of my favorite places to play in the world and not because of results just because... It's just the people here are amazing. The Crown Casino is amazing, and I just keep getting drawn back here. I wasn't going to come to this trip, but I just couldn't resist. I'm not one to really talk about my records. Obviously, good finishes feel good. I guess some of my bests especially recently, results... I've come here. I don't think, it's necessarily Australia-related. I just think, it's just a matter of luck, and I'd run well here, and I'm happy when I'm here, and I think when you're happy, you play better.
Oh, the balance has definitely shifted. I'm semi-retired which means, I work 12-hour days and 12-hour days of poker doesn't leave a lot of time for sleep, but I'm definitely leaning more towards the poker world than... I've been in finance for close to 30 years. So I've had enough of it but to walk away from that, I don't think I'm going to be able to do .but I'm definitely moving more towards playing a little more poker than I used to.
Well, I think that my work which is trading commodities and poker takes the same skills, and it's gut instincts, reading abilities, mathematics. I think when you combine all of them, the skills are basically the same. And bankroll management plays a big part in my work world and my poker world. I mean I do treat poker as a business, and I've always said, if I wasn't doing well, I wouldn't play as much. So as long as my results hold up, I'm going to keep playing. And if I saw my results falling off, yeah, I probably wouldn't play as much.
I think it's in the poker world that I feel more of a sweat. As I said, I've been trading a long time, and for some reason, I don't know whether it's the excitement of poker or what it does to people, but I could have a really bad day at work and win a small poker tournament and still be happy that I could have a really good day at work and get a bad beat in poker, and I walk away miserable. So I would guess I would have to say, more adrenaline comes from poker than work.
I have always stayed away from having anything to do with the business end of poker, but Phil [SP] approached me, and I've always respected Phil, not just for his poker game which clearly is the best in the world, and he showed it again last night. I was happy to be there to watch it. But I think, they're going to turn this into a really good business and I've said it before, I don't see my role in the company as teaching people how to play and because I'm not a particularly good teacher on that. But I think I can bring a lot to the table as far as the business end of poker which is overlooked in a lot of factors. Because a lot of players have big scores, big wins, and they don't how to keep the money and manage the money. And I think that's where I can come in from bankroll management to deciding what tournaments to play and not to play based on what you have, and I think I can be very helpful to the company.