CNBC’s New Show “Investor Giants Play Poker at a Strip Club”

Feb 26, 2012
J. Webster
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To counter Bloomberg’s new show, “Titans at the Table“, hosted by Betty Liu, CNBC is set to launch a new show called “Investor Giants Play Poker at a Strip Club”, hosted by Jim Cramer.

The angle, if not obvious, is that while Bloomgerg’s show gives you an inside look at some top hedge fund managers in a more casual setting (as they shove food in their mouths), CNBC wants to go right to the jugular and show hedge fund gurus in a more realistic setting, one that tests their discipline and patience. And to make the show a tad more interesting they’re going to include not just investors but also some journalists and analysts. Set to appear on the first show are: John Paulson, David Einhorn, Michael Lewis and Meredith Whitney.

Mad Money host Jim Cramer will act as the card dealer and emcee or host. The banter throughout the game will be not just about the poker at hand or the nude women gallivanting around them, but about the state of the stock market and the economy. Cramer will ask questions from time to time and after each hand, as in, “How did that game compare to bets you’ve made in the market this year, walk us through the bet.”

Why stage the poker game at a strip club? Well, the idea was to make the game as real as possible, so the players will be drinking while they play and off in the distance there will be girls disrobing and dangling from a strip poles, to liven the game up. The producers of the show want to put the poker players under some pressure, both via the game itself but also in the surroundings – put them in situations the viewer doesn’t normal see them. The game will be Texas Hold ‘Em with a $10,000 buy in.

David Einhorn of course was particularly excited about the new show, since he’s competed in the World Series of Poker. As he told the New York Times some years ago, Poker is much like investing.

“Both poker and investing are games of incomplete information,” Mr. Einhorn said. “You have a certain set of facts and you are looking for situations where you have an edge, whether the edge is psychological or statistical.”

CNBC has some other shows in the works, too. These are all shows which will give viewers more of an inside look at how hedge fund gurus and investors think, from a bridge tournament to chess matches to games of checkers to a drinking game called quarters – yes, that one. There’s also talk of a bunch of hedge fund traders sitting around watching a New York Knicks game, where they’ve all made a wide range of wagers on the game.

The producer said that when hedge fund gurus are gambling and drinking you’re going to hear some interesting things come out of their mouths and maybe a few arguments as well. He said, “To me, I always recall the Seinfeld episode where Kramer and Newman brought the squirrel and the hawk on to the fake Merv Griffin set, we want to see some fights and some Real House Wife type arguments and I’m sure home gamers can glean some honest investing ideas from the shows that way.”

So, look for big time investors facing off in a game of poker with journalists who just wrote a scathing column about them, and analysts who just downgraded a stock said investor has just bought. Should be fun.

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