Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, has written about his experiences at a prestigious poker tournament hosted by Warren Buffett, for the Forbes issue of September 10, 2012. Warren Buffett, who is known for his passion for bridge, recently confessed to Lane that every hand fascinates him.
Over the last seven-year period, Buffet has become the host of one of the most exclusive live poker tournaments in the world—the NetJets Poker Invitational.
Taking part in the NetJets Poker Invitational, a live poker tournament run by the private jet subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway is meant exclusively for players who either have a share in NetJets or own a Marquis Jet Card.
The prize pool is $500,000 plus 10 hours worth $150k on a Bombardier Global 5000, along with prizes for the top ten players of the tournament. The player field comprises highly successful entrepreneurs. Besides, the highlight of the event is Warren Buffet, who is the mascot, host, and target of the event.
Lane was one of the 240 players who took part in this tournament in June. The tournament usually lasts for seven hours and is held on a Saturday, which makes it one of the longest poker corporate tournaments. Most of those taking part spend the entire year learning strategies and fixing their skills in preparation for this tournament. The tournament began with 24 tables at around 10:00 a.m. with Phil Gordon as the commentator.
The most exciting feature of this tournament is its bounty. Each table has one prominent business personality, and the player who knocks him/her out gets a prize of $5,000.
Just before the tournament, Buffet had emailed Lane, saying,
You will find me about five minutes after the tournament starts on the sidelines—knocked out as usual in the first round.” Explaining the difference between bridge and poker, he said, “I just don’t care about poker as much.
While Lane finished in the 181st place in that tournament, Buffett lasted for one more hour. He was defeated by Dennis Jones, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur, and finished in the 121st place. He spent the rest of his time having his picture taken with almost anybody who requested for it.
The tournament dwindled into a heads-up match between Jeff Corzine and Sue Decker late that afternoon. Ultimately, it was Corzine who won the championship title while Decker won a barrel of Dalmore whiskey and a vacation package to Skibo Castle in Scotland.