Bill Perkins - The Hedge Fund Poker Player

5 years ago
The Hedge Fund Poker Player
03 May

The world of poker is a colorful and vibrant arena, where interesting players and characters are never hard to find. One of these, however – Bill Perkins – stands out from the crowd.

If you ever read stories about high-stakes poker amateurs pitting their wits and wealth against the elite, Perkins will be in there somewhere;

If it’s a tale of crazy prop bets with massive stacks of cash awaiting the winner, Bill Perkins will be at the forefront;

And if you’re looking for a party-animal who can simultaneously discuss renewable energy issues and government intervention in the market-place while posing with a bevy of beautiful models, once again Bill is your man!

Think Dan Bilzerian with a conscience and a brain and better poker skills! That’s Bill Perkins.

Off the table exploits

In fact, Bilzerian is one of Perkins’ best friends – the two recently sharing a prop bet of ridiculous proportions which saw Bilzerian cycle from his home in LA to the sign heralding in Las Vegas. The 300-mile ride had to be completed in under 48 hours and $600,000 was at stake – as well as Bilzerian’s private jet when fellow high-stakes poker pro/prop bettor Rick Salomon got in on the action.

Perkins’ prop bet shenanigans are legendary in the poker world, Antonio ‘the Magician’ Esfandiari often the bait which Perkins lures into his wild schemes. Recently Esfandiari was kicked out of the Main Event at the PCA in the Bahamas as a result of a Perkins prop bet.

His ‘lunging’ for 48 hours to win the reported $50,000 bet against Perkins had left him in so much pain, that going to the bathroom to relieve his bladder was too much to contemplate – so he used a bottle under the table instead! Needless to say the PCA organizers were less than amused by this ‘party trick’ and Esfandiari was out on his ear in embarrassing fashion.

Perkins spoke to Cardplayer shortly afterwards, explaining the reasoning behind the prop bet:

I knew, from going to the gym and doing lunges, once you sit down and then you have to lunge to and from the bathroom during breaks, it would interfere with his [PCA] main event. He had a plan for that. He had towels and a water bottle for him to relieve himself without having to get out of his chair. It was pretty much impossible for him to play the tournament and lunge back and forth to the bathroom, and lunging in the bathroom would have been a disaster. So, I think Antonio got a little myopic and didn’t look at the big picture of what was going on here and what he would have to do to win the bet."

As fellow PokerTuber Florian Gheorghe has reported:

Perkins also accepted some very interesting prop bets from poker pro Jeff Gross, bets that involved booze abstination, no flour for a whole year, jumping from the stratosphere, and yes, even a back tattoo worth over half a million dollars. The Texan lost most of them, but that surely didn’t stop him from pushing the edge over and over.”

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Esfandiari was also involved in a ‘no sex for a year’ challenge from the financial expert-turned-playboy/philanthropist/part-time poker pro.

“Big bet again..... Antonio Esfandiari no sex no release of any kind for one year...can he make it?” tweeted Perkins at the time. The ‘multi-millionaire hedge fund manager and recreational high-stakes poker player’ won this particular bet when Esfandiari bought himself out of the bet barely two weeks into it! Hardly surprising as ‘self-release’ was also banned for the duration!

At the table successes

When it comes to his actual poker-playing skills, Perkins is surprisingly good for someone who seems to spend as much time living it up as he does focusing on the card-playing aspect of his life.

Although primarily to be found at the high-stakes cash tables, he has also made his mark in tournament, the 2013 WSOP One Drop High Rollerwith a buy-in of $111,111 seeing him finish 3rd for a staggering $1,965,163 and he added a 4th spot and an almost $1/2 million payday the same year in the £50K buy-in Super High Roller during EPT10 in London.

Unlike some of the ‘whales’ among the mega-wealthy poker wannabes – Guy Laliberte, founder of Cirque du Soleil springs to mind immediately – Perkins has a game worthy of mixing it with class players.

His WSOP 3rd spot was ahead of the likes of Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Shaun Deeb and Martin Jacobson. In London, only the German trio of Martin Finger, Tobias Reinkemeier and Christoph Vogelsang got the better of him, with the likes of Patrik Antonius finishing 8th.

His high-stakes cash games also included an appearance on the televised High Stakes Poker, although Perkins was under par for most of his showing. However, a $175,000 pot near the end, in which his KQ outgunned Jason Mercier’s K10 on an AKK flop, brought him out of the red and he walked away a happy man.

His stints on PokerStars ‘Big Gameback in 2010 and 2011 also afforded him the opportunity to test himself against the world’s best players, with Hellmuth, Laak and Bertrand ‘ElKy’ Grospelier among the opposition.

Around the table expertise

As you have probably worked out by now, Bill Perkins is a man of considerable wealth, able to indulge his fantasies and whims in poker, gambling and a wider field of interests. Specific numbers are hard to come by naturally, but given his background we are talking about multi-multi-millionaire status!

He founded the firm Small Ventures USA back in 1997 and went on to trade in energy derivatives, working for some of the biggest companies in the US. Senior positions and directorships gained him huge respect for his knowledge of the industry and how to effectively trade in such high-risk commodities.

As if he hadn’t accomplished enough in his career and outside interests, Perkins also started up his own film production company, Lleju Productions and Films, and actively participates in the Save the Children charitable organisation. In addition, he found the time to get married and has three children.

So there you have it! A hugely successful businessman, a very good poker-player at the highest stakes, a family man and philanthropist - and he still finds time to pepper Instagram with pictures of his ‘rich bachelor-type’ alter-ego. Dan Bilzerian eat your heart out! Now there’s a prop bet worthy of a Bill Perkins!

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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