How Poker Can Lead to +40% Winners

For those that don’t know, in addition to being the Chief Strategist behind StreetAuthority’s Stock of the Month newsletter, I’m also an avid poker player.

I first picked up poker about a decade ago, well before it was all over television. But I wasn’t after the big jackpot like most of the people who’ve taken up the game. I simply thought poker could make me a better investor. Poker has a lot in common with investing — and no, I’m not talking about luck.

In poker, you get only one move at a time. You don’t get the luxury of making your moves in a vacuum or without consideration for the dynamics other players bring to the game. It also takes patience and foresight to win consistently. And sometimes, it’s not about winning, but simply knowing when to cut your losses.

#-ad_banner-#When put in those terms, it’s easy to see how playing poker can make you a better investor.

Truth is, I count on my experience and skill at the table for my strategy in Stock of the Month. I only select one pick each month to invest in — it’s crucial I make the right call. With a $100,000 real-money portfolio (yes, I buy my recommendations with actual cash), I’m not playing a theoretical game either — this is real money and my picks have real implications.

Fortunately, losing money has been something I haven’t had to worry about; my background and simple, focused strategy is paying off.

A perfect example is a call I made earlier in 2010 as I anticipated a weaker dollar, growing commodities demand and a rebound in strong, well-managed emerging market countries.

With that combination, one of the countries that quickly came to mind was Chile. Industrial commodities were being consumed at an enormous rate by China and India. As the West came back online, they would soon start to feed their hunger for raw materials again. Plus, the Chilean economy was in very good shape and stood to benefit from all the trends I was anticipating during the year. So I did my due diligence and found a great fund to access the country.

Each time I put in my buy order, I get a little shot of adrenaline — not unlike making a call at the poker table. But my research and patience has paid off handsomely. Since making the purchase back in February, my holding in the iShares MSCI Chile Investment Market Index Fund (NYSE: ECH) is up almost +40%.

Certainly at this point the fund has seen quite a run for my readers fortunate enough to have taken the ride. While I believe there may still be some profits left, I’m honestly more excited about some of my more recent additions to the portfolio.

Action to Take –> In poker, there is an expression for playing a starting hand with the highest probability of winning. It’s called “getting your money in good.” My goal is to “get my money in good” with stock picks like ECH every month. So far, the odds have been in my favor. On each of my 11 closed positions, I’ve averaged a total return of +31.1%.

But I’ve learned the best poker players — and investors — don’t spend their time thinking about the hands they’ve already won. They are always keeping their eyes open for the next hand to play.

P.S. — If you want to take a look at my closed Stock of the Month trades, be sure to read this memo. You’ll find all my closed positions — including the ticker symbols — along with more on my strategy for picking winning ideas. Visit this link to start reading.