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Ten Minutes With Greg Jensen

A poker-playing hedge fund manager



Greg Jensen

Greg Jensen is CEO and co-CIO of Bridgewater Associates, a $130-billion investment fund, based in Westport. In January, the amateur poker player entered a PokerStars Super High Roller tournament, with 59 entries, a $5.7-million pool, and some of the top pro players in the world. Jensen made the final table, finishing sixth and earning $286,200, which he summarily donated to a group supporting families in Newtown. He lives in Ridgefield with wife Valerie and their children. 

Were you nervous?  I wouldn’t say nervous. Winning and surviving in a poker tournament, like most things, requires a mix of appropriate aggression and fear. You need to be aggressive enough to crush your opponent and wary enough to avoid being crushed.

You were pretty, well, poker-faced, while the others were pretty chatty. Was that your strategy?  The other guys at the table play more poker in a couple of weeks than I have played in this decade.  So they are comfortable in most circumstances. I needed more focus to have a feel for what was going on. They also gain info by knowing how to talk to people during the hand, and I was better off staying away from that.

What is it about these pros that make them better than your Ridgefield poker friends?  The pros drink water instead of beer, and they have an incredible ability to concentrate and consider multiple possibilities naturally. 

How well can you read what cards others likely have?  It depends who I am reading. Most of card reading is about understanding betting patterns and being able to probabilistically determine what the range of cards they might have is. I am decent at that, but some of the pros are almost magical at it.

Where is there more pressure—managing an investment fund or sitting at a final poker table?  Poker is great fun and teaches a lot of valuable life lessons, but it is nowhere near as broad an experience as trying to make sense of the world and systemize that understanding as I do at Bridgewater. At Bridgewater, there are many more people helping me see my mistakes before I make them. I could have used that at the poker table.

Do you have lucky socks or anything that you wear to something like this?  I can’t give all of my secrets away.  

Did you develop any poker groupies?  Val beat all the groupies off of me with a stick. I had to do the same for her as she finished third in the women’s tournament later in the week

Lots of high-fives from colleagues back at work?  Everyone was very intrigued, and naturally I got a fair dose of feedback on my mistakes.

Why did you decide to give it all to Newtown?  Like all parents, Val and I were devastated by the shooting and pictured what it would be like if those were our kids. Val started brainstorming on what would be an appropriate and beautiful gesture of support to Newtown, and she has a great gift planned. 

 

 

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May 2016

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The Friends of the Library host a special Memorial Day used book sale.  Stop by and stock up on beach books before or after the parade!

Cost: Free Admission

Where:
Library Lawn
472 Main St
Ridgefield , CT
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Jesse Lee Church is planning a "Breakfast to-go" before the Memorial Day Parade. They are providing breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese, and a choice of bacon or sausage, which can be...

Cost: $8

Where:
Jesse Lee Church
207 Main Street
Ridgefield , CT
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Returning to The Playhouse after a sold out performance in 2013, the two–time Emmy Award winner Sarah Silverman is best known for her politically incorrect humor and courting controversy...

Cost: $95

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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The Pound Ridge Library will be offering a free 3-part weekly series entitled "Mind-Body Centered Therapeutics Workshop", led by Dominique Daly, LMT, CPT, NCTMB, board certified...

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Pound Ridge Library
271 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
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Sponsor: Pound Ridge Library
Telephone: 914-764-5085
Contact Name: Alan Ramsay
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Rides For Ridgefield will hold a fundraising event called “Wine, Music and Beyond” that features a husband and wife team with a unique blend of music “from Bach to bebop”...

Cost: $50/person

Where:
Keeler Tavern Garden House
132 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Sponsor: Rides for Ridgefield
Telephone: 914.522.8410
Contact Name: Tom Steiner
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Join us as Rich Cohen discusses his new just released book The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones. Rich Cohen is the author of the New York...

Cost: Free Admission

Where:
Main Program Room, Ridgefield Library
472 Main Street
Ridgefield , CT
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Legendary country rebel Johnny Cash comes to life in the re-creation show ʺCash Is Kingʺ. With a career spanning half a century and countless hits, including ʺFolsom Prison Blues,ʺ ʺI Walk the...

Cost: $35

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
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Cellist Kate Dillingham and Harpsichordist Jory Vinikour present a concert performance of Three Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, BWV 1027-1029 by Johann Sebastian Bach.  Ms....

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Dominique Johnson
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