Hedge fund managers may turn out to have raked in more dough last year than they did in 2006, according to Bloomberg Markets.

Through the first nine months of 2007, three hedge fund managers had made more than $1 billion. Two of them, John Paulson and Paolo Pellegrini of Paulson and Co., earned a combined $2.7 billion.

That figure outstrips the $1 billion pulled in by the 2006 leader, James Simons of Renaissance Technologies.

The Paulson executives profited from bets that the housing bubble was about to pop. Coming in third the list is Philip Falcone, a principal in Harbinger Capital Partners, who also bet against the housing market. He had earned $1.3 billion as of September 28.

In last year’s listings, hedge fund managers needed to have earned $240 million just to be included in the top 25.

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