EC Casino Closed, Markets Open

Sports bettors are bored, and they’ve turned to trading stocks.

There is a certain type of risk-seeking person who just needs action on something—it doesn’t matter what. I’m not one of those people, but I am known to buy the occasional lottery ticket.

I first learned how to gamble in a casino in 2004, at age 30. My wife and I would drive to Atlantic City in the middle of winter and get a $39 hotel room. Then we’d head to the casino floor and screw around with $5 blackjack and craps. It’s hard to do too much damage playing $5 blackjack.

Why do people gamble if everyone knows the games have a negative expectation, meaning you lose money in the long run?

There are two reasons:

  1. You are hoping for a short-term run of luck, or
  1. You are an advantage player

I know the basics of counting cards. I know the theory behind it, and how it is done. But it takes practice—lots of practice—and I have never had the patience for it. For $20 an hour, it never seemed worth it.

And by the time I learned about it, the casinos had wised up to all the card counters after Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House came out. It’s fairly unglamorous work, and you have to put up with a bunch of drunk knuckleheads.

I’m not into casinos much these days, other than to put $100 on a baseball game, sit in the sportsbook, and eat a $25 cheeseburger. I have friends who gamble thousands of dollars at casinos, and they wonder why I don’t do the same.

Again: I’m not an advantage player, and I’m not optimistic about getting a short-term run of luck. I’d rather play in the financial markets, which do not have a negative expectation.

Not a Zero-Sum Game

Craps, blackjack, roulette, and pretty much everything else are zero-sum games, with an edge to the house. The financial markets are not a zero-sum game, but there is a house. Market-makers are the house. And the odds are firmly in their favor.

1 2 3
View single page >> |

Disclaimer: The Mauldin Economics website, Yield Shark, Thoughts from the Frontline, Patrick Cox’s Tech Digest, Outside the Box, Over My Shoulder, World Money Analyst, Street Freak, Just One ...

How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience. Users' ratings are only visible to themselves.


Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.