Beating the Odds – Susquehanna International – Jeff Yass

Jeff Yass was always a little different from his peers — a brilliant young man taken with poker and horse racing and the power of rational decision-making. He’s used all of it to turn his company — Bala Cynwyd’s stealthy and mysterious Susquehanna International — into one of the world’s most lucrative and powerful financial firms

The gaming world — it’s the perfect melding of brains making money. Another ex-Susquehanna trader says that if the company’s higher-ups didn’t have to sleep, they wouldn’t. That trading is in their blood. That it’s an enormous game of poker played at the highest level — especially by Jeff Yass. A game of poker played, the trader says, at both the highest level and the highest stakes. Next to death.

So I come to understand that the reason for Jeff Yass’s silence about his company is really quite simple. It goes all the way back to that Binghamton dorm room. Jeff Yass figured something out, and it is very, very important. That the world would bend to his brain. That he could play cards, or bet on the ponies, or invest in the stock market, and do it better than anyone else, because he’s smarter.

And it’s his. Jeff Yass has gone into tirades, when traders leave for other firms or go out on their own, taking what they’ve learned from him and making their own millions. He argues that it’s wrong, what they’re doing, getting rich off of Susquehanna ideas. Because they are his.

In the end, it really does boil down to picking door number three. The thing is, Jeff Yass figured it out. We didn’t. The largest company of its kind in the world. The smartest guy in the room invites us to stay the hell out.