An article in honor of Jeff : Amarillo Slim plays Bobby Riggs in Ping Pong with Coke Bottles.

"Amarillo Slim Hustles the Hustlers"

Jeff Watson writes: 

Some take aways from that most excellent article.

"Once again I proved that you can make a living beating a champion just by using your head instead of your ass. The easiest person in the world to hustle is a hustler."

" So I practiced and practiced until I could hit the ball over the net every time, and right then I knew that Coke bottle was going to make me a boatload of money. "

Sometimes, you need a stall. This one was perfect………………. "Let's get it on!" Lefty said. "No," I said, savoring the moment. "Let's post our money and play thirty days from now. I need to practice a little, now that I see you got yourself a real-life Ping-Pong champion."

" I am not interested in speculating, nor am I interested in making a small score. You see, friend, when I make a wager, the bet has already been won. And if I'm gonna win, I sure as hell want to break somebody doing it."

" I like to bet on anything—as long as the odds are in my favor."

"….I also learned that there are people who love action and others who love money. The first group is called suckers, and the second is called professional gamblers, and it was a cinch which one I wanted to be."

" If there is one fatal flaw, the Achilles' hell of every gamble, it is hubris. No gambler ever wants to lose face, and I have used that psychological edge to my advantage. All I have to do is play to a wealthy man's ego, and not only can I get him to gamble, but I can get him to gamble with me for life."

I can't even count how many market lessons are contained within that story. But then again how much money did my own hubris cost me over the years?





Speak your mind

3 Comments so far

  1. David Harriman on September 13, 2013 7:16 pm

    Dear Mr. Niederhoffer,

    Will you be at the Atlas Society poker tournament in a couple of weeks(in NH)? I’d like to meet you one of these days.

    I’m author of The Logical Leap, a book on scientific method based on Ayn Rand’s theory of concepts. If possible, I would be interested in attending one of your “junto” meetings.

    Best regards,


  2. Graeme on September 15, 2013 7:50 am


    This Ted talk could be of interest for your audience. It’s about a professional pickpocket - I think there’s a few market analogies there!

    Kind regards,


  3. Ross Hendricks on September 15, 2013 9:30 pm

    Dear Mr. Niederhoffer,

    I am a 25 year old graduate from the University of Texas where I studied chemistry, in addition to taking some advanced math courses including statistics and differential equations, and have spent the last year working on learning how to program and test systematic trend following systems in my spare time. I used Ed Seykota’s website as a guide to develop a basic “long only” trend following strategy for the S&P 500, was able to match his results to the penny, and then expanded his work to include a long/short system as well as optimizing the two systems for entry, exit, and position sizing parameters. The results I obtained were promising, however I know there’s much more to learn, and I’d like to know how I could possibly get involved in working with you or even simply getting any advice or answers to the long list of questions I have about the art of speculation. I can send you a presentation that I’ve put together to summarize the recent work I’ve done, if you are interested.

    Thanks for your time,

    Ross Hendricks


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