Poker training the base Susquehanna International was built on

All six co-founders of Susquehanna met in the late 1970s at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where they gathered to play cards. (Image courtesy

Most hobbies are just that, hobbies, but imagine if you could turn yours into a million dollar, a billion dollar, or how about a trillion dollar global juggernaut?

On City Avenue in the Philadelphia suburb of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., across the street from a TGI Fridays and California Pizza Kitchen, sits a bland building that looks like any other corporate office. The only notable feature is in the parking lot: a large oak labeled a “significant tree” because it survived the American Revolution, writes Annie Massa for 

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And yet within that dull gray-brown edifice, away from the trading hubs of New York and Chicago, sits a crucial engine of the $5 trillion global exchange-traded fund market, one increasingly relied upon by investors ranging from hedge funds to individuals. What’s more, the little-known billionaires behind the operation have groomed a generation of canny market experts.

Like its headquarters, Susquehanna International Group LLP is hidden in plain sight. It keeps a low profile even though its fingerprints are everywhere in financial markets. In addition to ranking among the largest U.S. traders of ETFs, it’s a giant in options trading and has plowed into sports betting, private equity, and even Bitcoin.

Susquehanna built its empire on poker. All six co-founders met in the late 1970s at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where they gathered to play cards before advancing to Las Vegas casinos. One of the six, Jeff Yass, had the insight that card skills could transfer to Wall Street. That bloomed into Susquehanna’s philosophy that poker provides the best training for the type of probability-­based decisions in uncertain circumstances that are needed in markets.

To read the complete story click here. 

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