“There’s a big difference between Bill’s and Warren’s approach to learning the game,” Osberg said. “Bill is very scientific. He reads and studies on his own. Warren enjoys playing. Warren has good instincts.”
“When I first met Warren, his game was ragged around the edges,” she said. “We would play in the evening, and I would go through teaching points. He absorbed it like a sponge. Bill is the same way. Pretty big brain capacity.”
.. Some people have paid millions just to have lunch with the Oracle of Omaha. Osberg trades gossip with him on the phone and plays bridge remotely with him three to four times a week.
.. Bear Stearns, the investment firm that failed in the 2008 crash, was known as “the bridge firm” because its top management and many of its quant geeks were players.
.. Famed value investor and Buffett mentor Ben Graham reportedly compared the strategy of bridge to the discipline of long-term investing.
.. “As Graham pointed out, playing your hand right — in bridge or in the stock market — generally leads to success in the long term. It doesn’t, however, guarantee you success right now. Sometimes, playing a hand the right way leads to failure; sometimes picking a stock for the right reasons results in a loss.
.. “Bridge can teach an investor the importance of sticking to a well-thought-out strategy.”
.. “Everyone loses more than they win,” Osberg said. “Losing is much more common. You have to develop a thick skin.”
.. But Buffett, the steely capital allocator who moves world markets with mere utterances, had enough.
Osberg recalls: “He said, ‘I can’t do it anymore.’ It was so stressful, he didn’t want to play in the finals.”
.. “I had no business being in it at all,” Buffett said. “We were playing people not as good as Sharon was, but a whole lot better than I was. I dropped out. I was on the board of USAir at the time, so I said I had to get back to a board meeting. This was not great behavior on my part. I love the game, but playing in tournaments is too many hours of concentration.”
At her peak, Osberg was one of the top players in the world.
“I am no longer a serious player,” she said. “I used to play just to win. Now I play for the beauty of the game.