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Vegas, Baby!

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June 19, 2009 – Comments (8)

Our family will soon be taking a road trip!  One that, for me at least, is a bit overdue.  We usually make the trip to Las Vegas about once a year or so, and it's one I'm really looking forward to.

We just love the great swimming pools (especially Little Eldrehad) and the free shows (again, especially Little Eldrehad -- she's very excited about seeing the circus shows at, you guessed it, Circus Circus).

And I do sometimes like to gamble -- just a little bit.

Actually, I can't help but think of some parallels between gambling and investing in stocks -- while perhaps a bit worn, tired, and things you've likely heard before, I still think they're pretty important.

When I do gamble, as I said, it's not much -- and it's certainly not with money my family actually needs.  I probably spend less money gambling than many people spend taking in one of those fancy shows -- and while I know that the odds are stacked against me and I will, more likely than not, lose, I consider the house edge nothing more than the fee the casino charges me for providing me with the enterainment of gambling.

I know that for some it's a compulsion or addiction, but it's a real shame that all too many people actually risk money they or their family actually need.  Then again, I can't help but be reminded of one of those news shows I saw a little while back in which the people who thought themselves just a couple/few years away from retirement were devastated as they openened their 401k statements and began to wonder when they'd be able to retire, if at all.  Of course most of them were unfortunately all to heavily invested in stocks.

One reads "Never invest in the stock market money you will need in the next 5 years" in quite a few places for very good reason (though I've always thought it should be at least 10 years -- the recent market collapse reinforcing that point in my mind).

Reminds me of a conversation I had once with Mrs. Eldrehad after a little lucky streak I had at the tables one trip.  Upon hearing the news her response was (said tongue-in-cheek), "Is that all?  I'll be happy if you win some real money."

My resonse, "Well, to win big, one generally has to bet big, and risk losing big."

"Oh" she smiled, "Never mind then."

I'm also genuinely surprised by the number of people I see playing roulette.  Maybe it's just a matter of taste (I prefer games where I have to make at least some kind of decision).  As I mentioned, I think of the the house edge as simply the fee the casino charges for providing entertainment -- but why pay more than one has to?  Why play roulette, one of the casino games with a relatively high house edge, when often a few steps away there's a blackjack or craps table where one can place the same wager with a substantially lower house edge?  Sure, to get those lower house edges on blackjack and craps, one actually has to do just a little bit of homework and know what one's doing (not every bet on the craps table carries the same house edge -- some are far higher than others) -- but it's not difficult.

Then again, I've run into a number of colleages over the years who don't know what fees they're paying for their mutual fund holdings.  Maybe it's me, but I generally like knowing what I'm paying for something.

Anyway, I'm sure I've probably bored you senseless (if, that is, you're still reading) as all of this is stuff you've likely read or heard countless times before....  I suppose my mind is too busy contemplating the 'lazy river' or thinking about watching Little Eldrehad stare in rapt attention at the jugglers and trapeze artists to write anything much more interesting.

After all, we're headed to Vegas!

Regards,

Russell (a.k.a. TMFEldrehad)

 

8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 19, 2009 at 3:18 PM, Evlampius (< 20) wrote:

Hey, congrats on a vacay and good Luck in Vegas!

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#2) On June 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM, ocsurf (< 20) wrote:

Beware of Wayne Newton!

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#3) On June 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM, Schmacko (64.44) wrote:

My wife and I both enjoy playing roulette and it's generally a game you can play for a long period of time if done right.  I usually sit at the $10 roulette tables and place $1 on 5 individual numbers and $1 split between 5 pairs of numbers.  This gives you a just under 40% chance to hit (15/38).  It is generally pretty brainless since I mainly just put my chips in the same 10 spots every time (with minor variations if some numbers seem more streaky than others) but it allows my wife to sit and bs with the wife, drink for "free", and have a good time.

The people that don't really make sense to me playing roullette are the ones that make little patterns on the table.  They'll place a pile of chips on one number (or a couple numbers) then place some on the splits connecting to that number(s) and then an even smaller pile on the corners of that number or the splits.  If the central number hits, which it never seems to, they win big if another part of the pattern hits they win some money, but generally not enough to cover what was bet making the rest of the pretty pattern.   

Blackjack is also pretty fun and that's the second game the wife and I'll play. 

Craps is the most fun game I've played in a casino, but it's also pretty easy to lose your money pretty quick.  Generally if I'm up decent on blackjack or roullette I go blow some of those winnings on craps.

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#4) On June 19, 2009 at 4:39 PM, Evlampius (< 20) wrote:

..brainless since I mainly just put my chips in the same 10 spots every time (with minor variations if some numbers seem more streaky than others) but it allows my wife to sit and bs with the wife, drink for "free", and have a good time.

Cool, in Vegas you have several wives!! ...but what happens in vegas...

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#5) On June 19, 2009 at 5:08 PM, nottheSEC (79.39) wrote:

TMFEldrehad's enjoy your vacation and all best ! and head the words of ocsurf  beware Wayne Newtown and Mr Popageorgio.

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#6) On June 19, 2009 at 5:56 PM, TMFEldrehad (99.99) wrote:

We actually went and saw Wayne Newton's show a couple of years back -- and while his voice wasn't what it once was, his showmanship was as good as ever -- we actually rather liked the show (which proves, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that there's no accounting for taste!).

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#7) On June 19, 2009 at 7:36 PM, checklist34 (99.69) wrote:

i own just a bit of stock in mgm, lvs, byd, and wynn.  don't stay at a harrah's place!  j/k

i also enjoy vegas, but i actually don't gamble.  I just find the human-made scenery spectacular, and there is more eating, shopping, and so forth than anybody could possibly take in in a month.  And I enjoy watching people gamble and chatting up the dealers.

Its like no place else on earth and while I've been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit, the only place more flooring to me than Vegas is Manhattan.  Manhattan > all

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#8) On June 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM, TigerPackFund (< 20) wrote:

TMFEldrehad

I hope you can participate in the new "collective" picking system portfolio we have devised for a small group of Top CAPS members.  Click below to read the blog under the new TigerPackFund member name explaining our effort: 

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/ViewPost.aspx?bpid=215551&t=01008389776301665428

We could absolutely use your smarts and experience to generate a higher return for readers.

We are basically asking you to pick up to 5 stocks at time, under the normal CAPS rules and scoring system.  Our goal is to find a solid group of 40 members who have proven themselves already, to be our regular contributing stock pickers.

I don't know if the fool.com boys will let you participate (for conflict of interest reasons and/or any implied endorsement of the idea by CAPS), but IF you can join you are very welcome to be a part of this effort!

Keep up the great work.

-TigerPack

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