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Matt Wladyka

Matt Wladyka

Head Trader | USA

Connect: linkedin

Matt paid his way through grad school playing poker, and the lessons he learned at the table have served him well on the trading floor.

While it’s often debated whether poker is a game of chance or skill, it’s easy to see that the ability to analyse risk and reward quickly and under pressure has served him well in the markets.

Matt grew up in Southern California with his sister, and their parents taught them the value of a good education and of giving their absolute best in every endeavour. Naturally curious and adept in all things quantitative, he double-majored in mathematics and economics at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

It was there that he realised his calling was in finance, so he got the aforementioned Master’s degree in Mathematical Finance from Boston University. All the while, he was a tournament specialist, focusing on multi-table tournaments. His proudest (and coolest) accomplishment there was a win in a Card Player Poker Tournament for just north of $33,000.

He saw the similarities between poker and trading, and knew it would be the logical, challenging, and fulfilling next step in his professional career. An internship at State Street Global Advisors, one of the world's largest asset managers, made him realise he thrived in high-pressure, high-stakes environments.

He applied solely to trading jobs upon graduation from BU in 2013 (the same year he won that tournament). His first full-time job was at PEAK6 Investments, a well-respected Chicago proprietary trading firm. There, he learned about options trading and how to profitably manage a volatility arbitrage portfolio within the US equity markets. He quickly moved up the ranks and was allocated more capital each year.

Later, while working at Polaris7 Investments, he met Mark Xue, who is Kaiju’s Director, Trading. The two kept in close contact through Matt’s tenure as an equity options trader at Gelber Group, and his stint as a Data Science Fellow at the Springboard Data Science Program in 2020. While acting as an investor and advisor for early-stage companies, Matt heard from Mark that Kaiju’s volatility arbitrage group was raising money to trade a bigger book.

That was music to his ears and he soon joined his former colleague.

Matt lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.