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Saturday, August 30, 2014

What Does the Casino Want?

Think about this.  Suppose you run a casino.  What kind of experience do you want your clients to have? First off, I think you'll agree that you would want them to win the first time out.  If they come in with $1,000 and go home with $2,000, they will market your casino which they'll view as the Goose Laying the Golden Eggs to all their friends.  In fact, next time the bus leaves the community center bound for the casino, they will surely have a couple of friends aboard.

But surely you don't want your clients to win, on average, over the long term because this would put you out of business.  So you set it up so that the odds are against them.  Most of your clients know this, of course, but play anyway because they feel "Mother Luck" is on their shoulder as demonstrated by how easily they doubled their money the first time out.  In fact, some are truly downright stupid and come back, not with the $1,000 they can afford to lose, but with a greater amount that will adversely affect their life style if it goes down the drain.

You can obviously develop a feasible, hypothetical scenario going forward.  With three friends tagging along, the odds are that one will be a winner at the end of the day.  This would be in the casino's interest as the Ponzi-type set up spreads.  The group thinking here could very well be that the winner views him or her self as a superior gambler.  The others obviously don't know what they are doing.

If you're thinking this is really about stock investing, you are right.  One of the worst things that can happen in investing is that the novice hits it big at the get-go and that little voice in the back of his head says "this is easy, we should up the ante."  Experienced investors know that the investment world is like mother nature - assuming everything will stay smooth just  because the ocean is calm can lead to a disaster.

This happened to  many novices in 2001.  At the time, all an investor had to do was buy an internet stock at $25 and watch it go to $75.  How hard is that?  The fact is (like in many areas) if it looks too easy, it probably is.  Some are still shell-shocked from the end game of that experience!

The bottom line is that you need a well-grounded investment philosophy to be a successful DIYer. Going in ad-hoc, thinking it is easy, sets you up, like the casino gambler, to lose in the long run.

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