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Talal Shakerchi, founder of Meditor Capital Management in the UK, is back at the poker table ready to take on the world's best poker players for the highest stakes ever played in a poker tournament. Shakerchi is one of some 40-odd players to pony up $1 million to play in the 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop and PokerListings.com spoke to him moments before the action began to find out whether he favors the poker pros or the businessmen in this contest. Shakerchi explained that while the poker pros definitely have the skill edge, the businessmen will feel much more comfortable risking $1 million, which might swing the odds in their favor. Shakerchi is no stranger to big wagers at the poker table, having played the first Big One for One Drop in 2012 as well as high-stakes cash-games and tournaments all over the world. Check PokerListings.com for the latest news and video from the 2014 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
I'm very excited. This is the world's biggest buy-in tournament, it's only the second time it's been run. I can just, for any poker player this has got to be a dream tournament to play. There is a lot of great players here, so I'm looking forward to it.
I don't have particular charities that I'm thinking about in terms of winning. I think, my goal is just to focus on winning and then think about what happens next after that. There is a big overlap between finance, particularly fund management, and poker because you are dealing with a lot of the same kind of skills that are required for the individual, the player or the fund manager. Like, for example, the balance between risk and reward, how to deal with incomplete information, decision making in difficult circumstances often under high pressure, reading people. There is a lot of overlap between the skills sets so, both of those activities help the other as far as I'm concerned.
I think it's difficult to say who has the edge here. I think you've got some really highly skilled poker players who know how to deal with pressure who should normally have the edge. I think though here, because the buy-in is so high, because a lot of the players are backed often by multiple others players and often many times their friends, I guess, there is more pressure on them from that than they normally experience in poker tournaments, and I guess that would affect them differently. So in some senses the businessmen have an edge if they can afford to lose the money and they are not being backed whereas obviously the top poker players have the edge from their skill set. So it's difficult to say how those two will balance out.
I would say on balance, the top few poker players know how to deal with that pressure and have a very skilled game, they have got to be the favorites. So people like Phil Ivey, Philipp Gruissem, some of the Germans, they are used to high rollers, they are used to dealing with pressure, so I think you have to say they are the favorites.