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"I think I've lived long enough to see competitive Counter-Strike as we know it, kill itself." Summary of Richard Lewis' stream (Long)
I want to preface that the contents of this post is for informational purposes. I do not condone or approve of any harassments or witch-hunting or the attacking of anybody.
Richard Lewis recently did a stream talking about the terrible state of CS esports and I thought it was an important stream anyone who cares about the CS community should listen to. Vod Link here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/830415547 I realize it is 3 hours long so I took it upon myself to create a list of interesting points from the stream so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, although I still encourage you to do so if you can. I know this post is still long but probably easier to digest, especially in parts. Here is a link to my raw notes if you for some reason want to read through this which includes some omitted stuff. It's in chronological order of things said in the stream and has some time stamps. https://pastebin.com/6QWTLr8T
"The last month has convinced me, that we are going to be heading into a dark place for Counter-Strike esports in 2021."
"I think I've seen the scene essentially kill itself."
"For the past 5 to 6 years, we've basically been in a holding pattern of people coming into our game wanting to run it, wanting to run all of the esports and wanting to profiteer and its been sort of a concerted effort to drive them off and push them away."
"We're spread way too thin."
"If Riot don't get involved and stop the scumbags that have moved over to Valorant from getting their feet under the table, Valorant is going to have real problems."
RL thinks too much has happened all at once for us to do anything except watch it play out, like:
Recent CSPPA strike against BLAST
ESIC failures and them not being supported enough
Teams cheating i.e. coaches/bugs
Widespread match fixing
"People who try to hold bubble events are so incompetent and fuck up and people get the 'rona and its their fault."
"People who say Flashpoint is a bubble is full of shit and is a lie and people are now suffering for that lie."
"To save money they let people go home and break the bubble for a week."
"Not just Flashpoint peoples decision, they have a partner that handles the production." (hinting FACEIT)
"People are trapped in hotels essentially under house arrest because of COVID restrictions and has fucked peoples lives up."
"It's all too much, all of this incompetence, all of this greed, maybe we ride it out."
RL says he has talked to the Riot devs (the ones working on Valorant) and says, "They are so cognizant of all the fuck ups and all the problems we have in Counter-Strike."
He continues to say that this is factored into their business plan and that we never had a competitor, but just so happens to have one coincide, when we are at our worst.
CSPPA - Counter-Strike Professional Players' Association
"Who does this union really fucking serve?"
RL believes that the CSPPA is a mockery.
He points out the hypocrisy that they wouldn't strike for the pros who were kicked out of ESL Pro League, or for Jamppi or dream3r.
He also says ESL paid CSPPA and are racketeering and many other TOs have to pay them to get their "seal of approval"
He says they would strong-arm TOs saying "well if you don't give us the money, these guys are so we'll just have to commit to playing their event."
Also points out that they will strike against a competitor they are not in agreement with (Flashpoint)
RL: "It's what it says about every other time you haven't done it and it's about every time you don't do it now moving forward." "The issues they've chosen to ignore this year alone are embarrassing."
Then he points out that there was no strike for Valve qualifiers even if we have no major but Jamppi and dream3r can't play in them.
"and Valve have said 'Oh yeah we know actually their stories are accurate, Jamppi didn't cheat, now in a legally binding document. Yep dream3r did have his account hacked in a LAN café', but they still can't play. Where is the fucking solidarity? Gone. Doesn't exist. It's not important [because] it doesn't affect you." "That's what the union does right now, it looks after all the tier 1 people."
He says the CSPPA doesn't represent all players all the time and has driven a divide where you have the haves and have-nots
"We have a tier of players that operate with impunity and do not help their tier 2 or tier 3 players out at all." "If you are not a tier 1 player you do not matter, they don't event ask your opinion."
He tells chrisJ to admit and own the fact that the reason he didn't speak up during the ESL Pro League debacle is because it didn't affect him
"They are looking after some players at the expense of other players. How the fuck is that a union?"
He says the BLAST situation is a reasonable dispute and supports the players but is not the right time for a strike and have not even identified the correct enemy
He thinks players are lashing out now due to previous incidents and are upset that BLAST are working with ESIC
He stated that CSPPA shouldn't beefing with ESIC and they should be working in harmony
He says what they need to do is talk with the teams/organizations that have sold that right to BLAST
RL: "Your employers, the people who pay you that massive exorbitant salaries, when you don't stream and you don't do interviews and you offer no value beyond your ability to click heads and you get 25k dollars a month." "Why don't you talk to them about it? Oh right. You're happy to take away BLAST's paper, but you don't want to risk your own."
"I am seeing such unbelievable cowardice from the players here with the battles you choose."
"Where was the strike action when in the qualifiers for the world championship, there were teams and players engaged in huge conflicts of interest?" "Where was the strike action when your image rights were taken and sold to every league you've ever been in every union type organization you've ever been associated with like, WESA, to your org every time you sign a contract, to the leagues you play in."
"Your image rights are essentially worthless now, there's about 10 fucking separate parties that have them, and how many of them are giving you anything for it? Not much pretty much your org by the way."
"That's a big issue. Your image is you, your image is your brand. What are you doing about that? Nothing."
He is also angry at SirScoots who is "popping off" at people on Twitter who all want the same thing, which is 'A unified Counter-Strike scene for everybody, that works for everybody, that has a sustained ecosystem that nourishes everybody.' "We don't have that now."
He also says their rankings are a joke
"Just so happened, oh look TACO, that very important prominent member of the board, we pushed his team artificially up when they weren't even in the fucking top 20, not by a long shot."
He also says the ineptitude of the CSPPA cost Flashpoint a monitor sponsor
"Is it really a player association or is it like a fucking agency at this point"
ESIC - Esports Integrity Commission
"They have been put in an impossible position."
RL says that Ian Smith, the founder of ESIC and who was done work in mainstream sports, is a good and honorable man who has dedicated his life to integrity and sports. He takes on both sides, ensuring match fixers are punished, but also doing appeals and ensuring those punishments were fair.
"ESIC is a tiny organization" and are in need of money, "They didn't run a grift like the CSPPA did."
"Saying 'you want our support and you want the players to turn up you better pay us.' They don't do that."
"Had startup seed money from MTG and since then they've been pecking shit with the hens."
Ian Smith made sure that the money given by MTG (Modern Times Group, parent company of ESL, ESEA, DreamHack) was nothing more than startup money and wouldn't be in debt to them
Ian Smith sat down with other TO's not part of MTG and wanted to partner with them. They declined and called ESIC "ESL spies and we will never align ourselves with you"
"They only were just able to afford, hiring a PR guy on a full time salary to deal with the press and send out those releases you've seen, this year."
"They have a tiny group of staff investigating these things and they have taken on the biggest problems in our scene: the cheating, the match fixing."
ESIC have had "unprecedented levels of cheating to deal with, because there's something wrong with our scene ever since we went online. There's something wrong with it, everyone's lost their fucking pride and self-respect and they got no passion for it anymore, so they think fuck it, what's in it for me?"
He calls out coaches who are talking about players rights when they would rob and steal from them.
Also says more coaches being banned are coming
He also points out flaws in community's reaction to the punishments to coaches bans: "Half of the cunts still have jobs and some of the cunts got new jobs. We didn't even shun the cheating coaches."
ESIC have "found I think another 2 or 3 exploits like that one and they are investigating them all right now, it's going on right now."
"I know that there are going to be more names getting banned, again."
"So they're doing that on a skeleton crew while, investigating 3 continents worth of match fixing in MDL and semi-pro level CS." "They're doing this with half a dozen people." "They don't have any money or any help. People barely even fucking cooperate with them, they are treated like pariahs. It's ridiculous."
"Why are the CSPPA popping off at ESIC on my Twitter timeline, when you should be working together." "because its all about what's in it in for me." "2020, the online era of CS: 'What is in it for me?' How can I cheat, how can I get my paper, how can I bleed this scene one last time before I fuck off and play shooty shooty bang bang Riot Games babys first fps."
RL says that in the CIS region, teams have gone to tournaments and have been eliminated multiple times by the same team. We found out they were cheating and those players who lost, have been cut from their roster, careers ended because of cheaters.
"They're all at it in the online era, they're all at it, they're all cheating, they're all using exploits, probably that see through smoke bug got used a bunch of times"
RL talks about how there is no integrity from dead (the player), always denying when caught doing something
On the topic of 'BLAST never said we couldn't stream snipe': "Lies, BLAST never said you could do that, they had to sort of retcon it." "because what happened after that they fucking started snitching and squealing"
"Suddenly you had like, 10 of the top 15 teams in the world, staring into the abyss of being banned for 6-12 months in line with ESIC recommendations."
He says that ESIC was put in a tough situation and couldn't enforce the bans because it would have resulted in killing CS. What resulted was, BLAST, ESIC, and teams came together and gave them a warning and told them, in RL's words "don't do this again or you're gonna get got."
He then says the top teams brushed this off and didn't give a fuck
The new MiBR team playing Flashpoint, that wasn't involved in the previous incidents are doing it again (stream sniping). He gave credit to Flashpoint for the quick resolution and punishment and respect for cogu's response to the situation.
"ESIC came out and said, once more, 'Guys, zero tolerance from now on.'" RL then got upset at community's reaction calling ESIC "pussies" for their non enforcement and said if we want competitive CS we cant ban the top 10 teams.
He points out how players have no integrity and will do anything for an edge as long as they won't get detected or banned or it's within a grey area.
"All of this shit was mad avoidable, even in the pandemic era."
He talks about why aren't we filming them. Why aren't there representatives for leagues and tournaments making sure players aren't cheating?
"How many years have we let our scene be fucking pillaged by these greedy cunts?" "We just let it happen."
RL says that gambling and skins betting which existed in moderation was "accelerated and blown up by the Call of Duty greedy fucks."
"Never forget TmarTn was on the board of EnVyUs." "His website, CSGOLotto, they had a bunch of off-the-books sponsorships." "NBK promoted them. People forget."
"Those people who had access to the skins, go to the players" "Even people like s1mple, best player in the world, even he scammed knives and skins off fucking fans."
Owners of skin casino sites would approach pros and lend them skins to use in tournaments and possibly keep them after reaching a deal
Players would tip off inside info about matches and teams in exchange for skins. Info such as: roster changes, how they played in scrims
They would use this info to bet and subvert the odds on their sites. "That happened religiously, I can't even tell you how many times it happened."
"I had access to the biggest database of information, from an inside betting circle in NA, and it would take information and screenshots from other pro players, who were feeding them info in exchange for money or skins."
"Some of these players are still playing." "Incredibly, there are players still in the CSPPA today, complaining about the BLAST recordings, that were embroiled in this murky shit back then."
RL also says that there were tournaments where teams contrived with each other, who should throw, who should win.
"There's a handful of people that are trying to fucking clean it up, and you think you get something over the line and you see something like the CSPPA and it's run by corrupt fucking chuckle heads, and now you've got another corrupt body you have to fight on a fucking daily basis, it's demoralizing."
"It's too far gone. Our entire semi-professional scene is compromised."
"It's rife guys, I'm not going to lie any more. It's not just China, it's not just Russia, it's here, it's NA, it's Europe, it's Australia, so much more than you think, so much more than we can prove."
"I get sent chat logs all the time […] and they're morons, these players, short-sighted, amateur, morons and they're doing it on WhatsApp." People would get cut from the bets because they want to make more money, then they leak the logs. He says, from the chat logs, they spread "little" bets across every site they can (400 to 1k dollars) to prevent shifting odds
He says the scumbags who've fucked off to Valorant will do the same there if Riot doesn't do something and says Valorant "is an esports scene heading for a very early fall based on the sheer volume of scumbags that are already there."
"That's tier 2 CS in a nutshell these days. They know they're never going to play in a major, so what's the punishment?"
"All of these tier 2 fucks that are fixing games now they are like the fucking mafia compared to iBuyPower" "These guys are working with organized criminals to fix entire seasons worth of games. That's what's going on in your tier 2 CS."
"I'm literally being told that there are players fixing games at all levels of Chinese esports and motherfuckers with guns are turning up to team houses and stuff."
"Everyone in NA has left we've lost a continents worth of support during this pandemic and Valve haven't said a fucking word."
RL says the Call of Duty "goblins" that destroyed CS for years are the same people who are now trying to leave CS. "The nerve to treat a game where the fans, and the community, and the TO's were nothing but good to you." "To just kick the players out now and go and leave and say 'It just doesn't make financial sense.' Oh you'll slither back when we have a major though for them stickers won't you."
There's a cascading effect in NA where people don't bother with CS anymore and people like Chaos suffer.
He says NA team owners are incompetent for always wanting it easy and always wanting a guarantee on their investment without skill or nuance.
RL says he would be able to market a team correctly and would have a good ROI and also points out how TSM wouldn't even be bothered to tweet that their team, which was one of the best in the world, was playing at the Major.
He also says not all NA owners are like that, compliments and respects Jason Lake who nearly lost everything to keep Complexity going.
He then calls out the incompetence in Infinite Esports when they acquired OpTic Gaming and bought an Indian CS team.
He says HECZ is not to blame here and that they couldn't tell forsaken was cheating when it was so obvious.
They measured his reaction time to the likes of dev1ce and s1mple
When an enemy showed up on his screen he won that duel something like 44% of the time
"was like the number 1 player in the world statistically"
He brought a laptop to their bootcamp and refused to use the high end PCs that hey provided
He respects Andy Miller (NRG CEO) and HECZ but says that the attitude of not being able to easily monetize their teams is "piss weak" and there needs to be a risk.
He says Chaos EC shouldn't be cutting their roster and should be competent enough to be able to figure out how to make money off their team.
He says there are still opportunities in NA and people are panicking and pulling out, and says Valorant will be the same if not worse.
He also says "bums" who couldn't even get out of groups in NA competitions, are making crazy money in Valorant and says it will continue to inflate.
He also said that he heard rumors that EG (Evil Geniuses) are done.
He also thinks that the rumors of a Valve franchised league from before was sparked up from "these lazy fabled weak NA fucking team owners basically trying to see if Valve would bite at the hook if it was dangled and they didn't"
Slasher says NA team owners are really in favor of franchised leagues because they want to make more money. "Most of the powerful team owners right now are on board with ditching this third party organization structure, or they are trying to play this power politics with all the TOs, and that is contributing to a lot of the problems there"
RL says that Riot has proved they can run a franchised league (LCS) and will be profitable in 2021 which is what a lot of team owners care about and says the competition will only serve to snatch people away from CS.
RL continues to say, "I am so sick and tired of what we have done to this scene, I am just exhausted with it." "I think we have legitimately fucked it, I really think we have. I think we're staring into almost like a CGS (Championship Gaming Series) wasteland in NA." "Counter-Strike esports is a fucking joke."
"TO's have treated CS talent like absolute human garbage for years now."
RL says that people like Sean Gares and ddk switching over to Valorant isn't for financial reasons because they are making less over there.
He points out that TO's can't even give talent a 3 month in advance calendar.
Because of the pandemic TO's won't hire certain people and some people are working more hours for the same money.
He says we as a community don't respect journalists enough which is why we don't have good journalists.
He also says DeKay is leaving the scene soon and that Thorin is close to leaving also
He says he had to talk a caster down from quitting and was struggling to find reasons.
He says that DreamHack told Vince they would hire him but not if he wants to stick with dusT and says that this is the norm in esports. "Constant leveraging of people against each other." and says this is why we don't have a talent union.
New gen casters are getting put into shit situations and the community's reaction to them is adding fuel to the fire
He says the reason Moses left was because of the terrible conditions
He says that Anders had to constantly leave his family and kid because someone fucked up or broke promises and had to constantly tell his kid to their face that "daddy can't be home this weekend."
He says that esports has always been a lie to sell you this dream, "Meanwhile there's about 2% of the cunts getting all the checks."
"Anything that Riot does, is better than Valve's inaction"
Slasher says that the larger aspect of esports as a whole compared to other entertainment mediums and Valve's lack of inattention are the bigger problems. He continues saying that the fact that Valve let their game be ran as an esport, they need to take on the responsibilities of it.
Both Slasher and RL wants Valve to take control but not on the level of Riot Games, there needs to be a balance.
In case it was ever a question: Gabe Newell has been to 0 CSGO Majors.
RL calls Valve out saying they could have done something during the gambling era.
He says Valve used to come to the majors, but doesn't think they do anymore.
RL had met with Valve at the Cluj-Napoca Major and had tried to appeal iBP's indefinite punishment and had also gave Brax's life story:
A recent family member passed away, they had lost a lot of income, they had to live in trailer, iBuyPower did not pay any salaries, and was pressured by family to make money who didn't support his career.
RL said that Valve told him, "How dare you try and make us feel guilty." "We shouldn't feel bad about enforcing the only thing that matters that we need to make players afraid of: cheating and match fixing"
RL also tried to share other info about match fixing and nothing came of it
RL points out that Source 2 or a new engine is not something you will want based on the experience of transitioning from CS 1.6 to CS:S. "Valve's track record with brand new engines being launched, not fucking great from what I remember."
Slasher says "If there is anything the community should do, is pressure Valve to hire a community manager."
They say that we need a commissioner, a community manager (not the person who runs the Twitter who posts memes all day), then we need to have a circuit
RL reiterates that Valve doesn't care about CS esports and says they need to change the culture at Valve to make them care about CS esports
Slasher says a systemic problem is making it so working on CSGO would be a bad decision for you as an employee for Valve
He also hasn't talked to Valve in ages and have sent over bugs and cheats and doesn't get emails back anymore
Slasher says we should be directing attention at the developer leads, pointing out Ido Magal, if he even is still the project lead
RL thinks that Ido and Brian are the only people that "vaguely even give a fuck about CS" and were the only people that RL recalled that actually read Reddit and paid attention from time to time
"It is really fucking precarious. Somebody has got to step the fuck up and start giving a shit"
Slasher suggests org owners, with CSPPA, with ESIC, with TOs have a concerted effort against Valve
"Riot Games are doing better things than Valve in the esports space" which is something RL didn't think he'd say.
"People who used to be talent, working with unions, arguing with other talent, when the unions fucked them over, can't understand their perspective, TOs fucking over broadcast talent, broadcast talent wanting to leave and go and work for orgs, orgs having no money, Valve might take coaches away because all the coaches are cheating, ESIC has about 4 people in a fucking call doing the investigations, everyone thinks they're spies for ESL, ESL are just the evil fucking overlords wanting to rule the scene and will just somehow, like cockroaches outliving a nuclear bomb, and Valve are in a fucking holiday in Hawaii thinking about the next Dota character because they don't give a fuck about us."
"We've peaked. If we want to sustain and exist, now is the time to figure it out. No esports lasts as long as this, we've already done 8 years. We've already broke the records. We have got to figure out a way to coexist and drive the negative forces out and we need to do it as a collective and we're not doing that."
RL compared the Counter-Strike scene to the people on the Titanic who ran around with guns robbing people while the boat was sinking.
"We have given up on being a respectable esports scene." "We are now a conduit to make money for those who want to just milk it, just have one last ride, one last roll of the dice. It's done." "What a fucking mess. What have we done to our fucking scene?"
"There's just too much self-interest driving all of this." "I don't see a way we stop the dominoes." "When it's that bad, when there's that many dishonest people that ESIC have to come out and say that if we punish them all there's no one left. What does that tell you?"
"How many opportunities have we had to clean house? How many times have we said, 'this must never happen again', and another scandal." "The entire skins betting operations was the biggest criminal conspiracy in esports ever executed and no one has been punished for it." "The people who could be driving that don't want to."
"Right now people are fans of those organizations because the scene has value. It is worth being a fan of Astralis because they are excellent at Counter-Strike. It is worth being a fan of s1mple because he is the best player in Counter-Strike, maybe the exception of ZywOo. If the scene is devalued, if the scene loses its meaning, those things lose its meaning too, and people will leave, people will stop tuning into the games. I have seen it happen in multiple esports, this is not my first time at the rodeo. I am getting big Brood War vibes right now and I don't like it."
"The role you play in all of this as fans, as viewers, as listeners, as consumers of esports content, it's absolutely imperative that you know who the good guys are. It's absolutely imperative that you use your voice. It's absolutely imperative that when things are bad, you know who, at least, is trying to make them good, and you have to apply your criticism to the right targets."
He continues saying it's no good in continuing to attack ESIC and saying how they are bad, ESIC have it hard
He says CSPPA are on the right side of the argument on BLAST but have been on the wrong side of many arguments many times.
"If you are not willing to stand along side the weakest member of the union, with the least amount of influence, and the least amount of power, then it is not a union at all and you shouldn't pose as one." "You wanna serve a bunch of special interest do it, everyone else in esports fucking does, but do not pose as something you are not." "We love the players. I've been fighting for players rights for as long as I've been able to, but the CSPPA is not what we needed."
"They are not applying the pressure to the right people, they are not fighting the right battles, they are not helping their weaker members."
He says what orgs have done by keeping or hiring coaches is bad. "When you give up on holding an appreciable standard, you've lost the scene" "Competition matters, rules matter, punishments matter, achievements matter, excellence matters" "If you start stripping that away, you have nothing" "You guys need to take that knowledge and apply it sensibly."
"Valve has sold you all down the river, they sold everyone in the esports scene down the river, tournament organizers are selling their talent down the river. Don't hate on them for sounding tired after a 16 hour day. Don't hate on them because the hype for a matchup they've seen for the 20th time in the past 3 months, they can't be as excited or it sounds contrived. Support your guys, they're there for you, these are your people."
"This community has got to start acting like one for the first fucking time. Just put the petty shit away, let's try and fix this fucking scene while we still have one to save."
"You can't rely on Valve, you can't rely on ESL, you can't rely on the CSPPA, you can't rely on anyone." "Once again, it's gonna be the likes of us, the amateurs, the people who give a fuck, rolling up our sleeves and grafting." "I'm old and tired and I don't want to have to do it again. People need to pick up the torch and do it."
"Like Michal did, like Dudenhoeffer did. You see something wrong, fix it. You see somebody doing something wrong, call it out. If you think something could be better, let people know."
"Vote with your wallets if you're not happy with the direction Valve goes in. If when we do get to the Major, they serve up another subpar, same old bullshit stickers and signatures package again, do not buy it."
"You're a powerful block and if you use it correctly we can fucking avert this disaster."
"I'm not doing another year in this broken, bust-up fucking scene, where everyone is miserable, everyone is broke, everyone is tired, and everyone is trying to fucking rob everyone else, blind, while the fucking people who are meant to be protecting you, are just fucking enhancing it and lining their own pockets."
"I'm not doing it anymore and you shouldn't want to do it either."
"I stand by every fucking thing I said. I mean it, because this game fucking matters to me, this scene fucking matters to me. I put my life into this, my adult life, and to see it in this state is fucking sad."
I love New Vegas, its my favorite game of all time. And it is for a lot of other people too. This unfortunately means that its almost impossible to say anything negative about the game on Reddit without getting massively shat on. The only point you seem to be allowed to criticize is the bugs, which gets rebutted by "but they only had 18 months to make it" or "Bethesda was in charge of QA", as if any of these things excuse it for you as a customer. So now that the game is 10 years old and most of us have played it tons of times, I thought it would be a good time to make a thread where we can actually criticize this lovely game. I'll start, now bear in mind this is of course all degrees of subjective so don't throw "uR nOT obJEvTiVE" at me just yet:
The bugs has to be meantioned first. The game ran horribly at release and still did for a long time after. Its first many years later with patches and mods that we reached something that can be called mostly stable. I'm playing it right now only with stability mods on and it still crashes about once every 1-2 hours, and its still very buggy and janky.
Caravan, this game's made up card game, is horrible. Firstly its very buggy somehow. I am surprised they couldn't even bug fix a solitaire-like card game, but here we are. Secondly even when it works its not very fun. It takes minimum 3 cards to make a caravan and only one king or jack to ruin it. It means it heavily favors just fucking up your opponent and hope you win the war of card attrition. The game used to be stupidly easy but was then patched so now the AI will spam kings and jacks constantly. After I got the 30 games achievement I dropped it. Lastly the game doesn't do anything with Caravan. There is no quest to become the Mojave champion or such. I get this isn't needed but it would have helped make it interesting. The only other games in the game are casino games which all depends on your luck stat. I would love being able to play high stakes Caravan.
Cut content. Roleplaying is best when you actually have good reason to join both sides. In Fallout New Vegas the NCR gets the majority of the content. If you side with the Legion you can finish all the faction quests in a few hours, meanwhile the NCR has so many quests I always have to check the wiki to remember them all. Its such a shame. It doesn't help that for 3 of the endings you can work with the NCR but only 1 for the Legion. I don't get this when in 2 of those endings you end up double crossing the NCR anyways, why not allow the player to double cross the Legion? The difference being that the NCR will stand down and the Legion will then try to fight you and your army.
Caesar's Legion is weird. I love most of the faction. I love the ideological conflict between a faction trying to redo democracy but running into the same problems with corruption vs a brutal but safe dictatorship. I like talking to everyone and its cool to see how different peoples' options are of the factions. Some just hate the Legion outright because of their massacre. Some see the value of having a safe society, Cass mentions how she considered running her caravan in the Legion instead of the NCR because its safer. Its cool. However I can't get over the fact that this faction is a big ancient Rome LARP. They run around in football gear. Why not just make them look normal, or similar to Romans but not literally Romans. Its such a well crafted faction that gets ruined by this pretty silly design.
Independent is basically the House route but with you instead. You don't get to choose what your plans are other than your interactions with the small factions, which also doesn't feel special. You don't ever get to use your securitrons. It would have been extremely cool to be able to send your army with you to wipe out or subjugate factions instead of just doing the same quest you do if you side with House. Again, you are also forced into a choice between an uneasy alliance with the NCR where you double cross them, or killing both major factions. You can't make it clear to them beforehand that you don't want to be annexed.
The economy is poorly balanced. In Fallout 3 you barely made any money and vendors were just as poor, so it took a long time to accumulate wealth. Most players would just use gear they found instead of paying for it at a store. In Fallout New Vegas you can easily have 5000 caps by the time you reach The Strip. I had twice that when I reached it 2 days ago. Stores have tons of money and are more than willing to buy all your junk. The economy just breaks when vendors are willing to buy all the crap you pick up at such high prices as NV has. I think you can get them to buy for 90% of their value, that's fucking insane. I try to not level up barter too quickly as it just makes the game too easy but I also hate crippling myself like this. The game's vendors need to be selective about what they buy and how much they pay for it. You need 2000 caps to inter the strip, that's pretty much nothing. The game even gives you tons of ways around the credit check so clearly they meant for it to be a hurdle.
The map. I'm not saying its bad, but going from Fallout 3 to NV makes you miss the feeling of being able to go in any direction and always find something. New Vegas is very railroaded. It has a ton of mountains and invisible walls to make the player go specific places (Edit: a lot of people are citing this one setence and using it to rebut me, guys read the whole damn thing). I can still let myself get lost in Fallout 3, in NV I always know exactly which way I'm supposed to go. The game has no counterpart to F3's Andale or Oasis. There are no small outskirts places for you to discover in some random spot. All the towns are along the main roads, with a handful of cool places that are off the beaten path. I love following the road through Primm->Nipton->Novac->Boulder City->Vegas, its an excellent experience for following the main story and finding a ton of side content, and I love they gave returning players the option to head straight north and try their luck. But when I just want to do some side content I always feel like I have to follow a track. I AM NOT SAYING THE MAP IS BAD. Just that it follows a certain design that some don't like. I like it when I just want to do the main story, its a really nice experience that way. But if you want to just go in any direction like in a Bethesda RPG you will get disappointed. There are tons of invisible walls and mountains in the way. Imagine if you started in Freeside instead and just had to get the cash to get into the strip (more than 2k). Then you can choose to follow the I-88, go towards Jacobstown, Bitter Springs, do stuff in Freeside or the other communities around Vegas. Would be a great alternative start for returning players.
Edit: some extra
Combat is ass to say it bluntly. For some reason people always excuse the poor combat in RPG's because its not the games' focus or because its almost tradition at this point. I don't see why I as a player and paying customer should make excuses for a product I paid for. Its embarrasing how poor the AI is in the game, how poorly combat works and how unbalanced the game is. I can go through a ton of the game with my Couriers Stash 10mm and Vault armor and just blast entire legion or NCR camps, and then suddenly difficulty can turn on a dime and an enemy can kill me in 3-4 hits. Difficulty in RPGs is such an important thing as it directly influences your decisions. In Fallout 1 and 2 I did my best to not bite off more than I could chew. In NV can do pretty much anything other than go to Sloan at the start, which is a part that most have noticed too.
The selection of guns is fine, but not armors. Without ultimate edition you don't get any good early game armor in the game. The only option is leather armor. Mid game you fight to get either power armor or combat armor mk2, and late game is all about Riot Gear from Lonesome Road. They could have made armor interesting by giving it stronger buffs and debuffs. PA and metal armor has a -1 to agility but often +1 to strength. Why not give such traits to all armors and maybe even make it stronger? Too much of the armor is also faction armor which you don't want to be wearing unless you are infiltrating somewhere.
Speech is too much like Fallout 3 and not enough like 1 and 2. In 3 and NV dialogue either ends in a skill check (too often speech) or you having to do a task if you can't pass the check. What's being said is largely unimportant unless it leads to a different outcome. In Fallout 1 and 2 dialogue was much more about reading each option and thinking about how the character you were talking too would react. You often couldn't just [speech] 50 do what I want. NV has a few moments where you actually does have to argue and its some of its strongest parts.
Crafting could have been more. This is more of a "what could have been" argument, but personally I don't see why you shouldn't be able to craft a lot more guns or armors. I don't want Fallout 4's style of somehow being able to craft tons of pre war objects you clearly don't have the tools to make, but just having a good selection of makeshift guns and armors would have made crafting and also survival much better.
These are my thoughts. Please feel free to share yours!
How to avoid getting limited (hopefully insightful & worth the read)
You're new to sports betting. You see a 2% arb on an NBA game. You hit it for $500. You made $10 risk-free 5 hours later. You buy an extra six pack of beers with that $10. That's great but....here's the issues with it. Limits will come. I've been limited on various sportsbooks. I've been betting for many years, and when online sports gambling was legalized, it was like a field day. Arbs galore. Errors galore. Here's what I've learned. Because, trust me, there is not a casino or online sportsbook that is above giving you a max bet of $2. 1) Betting "massive errors" is the #1 way to get limited. A sportsbook accidentally posts Ravens +175 instead of Titans +175 and you max it out. That's actually very similar to how I got limited on Fanduel. I hit an error for thousands, and was immediately limited after the wager settled. Casinos aren't like other businesses - they can decide to just NOT take your money for a bet. I used to get thousands on Fanduel, now I can barely get $50. Consequently, when there is an error, you need to think about how valuable that error actually is. If they post Bucs vs. Washington as Bucs +400, then, sure, maybe it's worth blowing up an account over? Maybe? But think about all the great, +EV, profitable bets you could be making over the next few years. Is it worth risking that? Maybe it is, I don't know - obviously depends on the profit margin of the error and how much you care about your account. Is it worth not being able to bet Bills +76 points (or whatever that Fanduel promo was) and all those other absurd promos? 2) Arbing is often identical to betting errors. That's because, when you're arbing books, there is usually one "smart" book and one "dumb" book. Let's say Harden gets injured, every site updates the game, one site doesn't. You arb it. For the most part, all you are doing is taking a plus EV bet (a profitable bet) and a negative EV bet (an unprofitable bet). There are obviously books who have consistently "dumber" lines and more errors (Fanduel is of course one). That mean's you'll be winning more on the dumber books, and you'll get limited quicker on the dumber books, because usually when there's arbitrage, one book hasn't updated its lines yet to news (e.g. a player injury). But that's not what you want! As a sports bettor, you are hoping to create a little "hedge fund" for yourself - making a ton of profitable odds boost bets, taking advantage of promotions, betting on line moves, etc. to make tens of thousands per year. Getting limited by a dumb book will set you back massively - they are the ones you want to be able to bet on. Think about the future of your account before arbing a game for 2% or betting $200 on an error. 3) Am I saying you shouldn't bet on incorrect lines? No. Just the bigger the error, the higher the risk of getting limited, especially if you bet it really big. So also watch your sizing. It's tempting, I know, to max bet a major arb or massive error. But betting 5k on an error is, for obvious reasons, a lot more worrying for your account than betting $50. Also, if it's a "clear and obvious error," the sportsbook has the right to void the bet (happens very frequently in fact). So, ideally, keep your bet sizing in the triple digits, and avoid betting clear mistakes unless they're offering Chiefs +2000 to win the Superbowl or something that makes it worth it. You want to avoid bets that scream pick off. If the Chiefs line moves from -3 to -6, and you can still bet -3 on one sportsbook, then bet $950 on it. That's not a massive error, and you made a profitable bet. Will you eventually get limited for making money off the sportsbook? Probably, but it may take a few years. A lot of recreational bettors are betting -3 at the same time, so it's hard to determine who "thought" about the bet and who just bet it, because obviously the sportsbook wants bettors who just bet things without really considering the price they're getting. 4) Odds boosts/promotions have no effect on getting limited. You want to act like a normal, recreational bettor who, in the sportsbook's eyes, is just a little smart and running hot. From what I've heard talking to reps at major sportsbooks, they don't analyze user profit & loss statements when deciding who to limit. That makes sense. The guy who has a 1000% ROI because he just bet Chiefs Superbowl last year just ran hot - they still want his business. They look for people "picking them off" and have systems to determine who is. Betting all the promos / boosts that are good is perfectly fine. Reach out with any questions. I've been around the block in sports betting, have been limited, have been banned.
Before you spend money on this game, consider this.
I've been seeing a lot of posts where people are upset or complaining that they didn't get anything after spending "x" amount of money. I just want to put my two cents in there since this is how I look at the game. Before spending any money on primogems, consider these things:
"If I get this character with $x, is it even worth $x?"
You're essentially paying to play with a character. Except in this case, paying for a chance to play with that character. What about the people who have spent thousands on this game? After getting Diluc or Mona for $3,000, was it worth it? Think of all the things you could buy with that money. A Nintendo Switch costs $300. A game costs up to $60, and you know what you're getting. Rent money is $1,000-$3,000. The list goes on.
You're never guaranteed anything.
The ONLY exception to this is pity rolls. The maximum you'd need to spend is 28,800 primogems (around $400+) to guarantee getting the featured character on the banner. This is assuming that you didn't get any 5-stars before hitting the pity the first time, your first pity wasn't the featured character, and you hit the pity a second time to guarantee them. Is any single character worth $400? Other than the featured character, it can be REALLY difficult to pull any other character. You want Diluc? If you roll on the featured banner, its 50% chance you'll get the featured character. That means 50% chance you'll get a different 5-star. Since there are five 5-stars at this moment (not counting the featured), you have a 1/10 chance of pulling Diluc when you get a 5-star from this banner. On top of that, it's a 0.6% chance that you'll even pull a 5-star to begin with. As for the standard banner? The chance is even smaller with all the weapons thrown in. To those complaining that they spent $100, $500, $1000 and didn't get what they wanted, you were never guaranteed it to begin with. It's all RNG, you aren't owed anything because you spent money on the game.
There will always be a new character that you'll want.
So you spent $400 on getting Venti. You needed him, he's your favorite character right? Of course you had to spend for him, he's the best character you've ever seen and you couldn't enjoy this game without him. A few months later, a new character is released and you're in awe. Their skills...their looks....their element...you NEED them. Well, that's another $400 you'd have to shill out to guarantee them. What's that? You only want to use them if you have their first constellation? Well better get that credit card out again, looks like you'll need to pull some dupes. This is a never-ending cycle. I've run into this feeling countless times in video games. The new shiny thing will always be tempting you. Not to mention power creep. New characters are often made to be better than older ones. As the game progresses, people who don't have newer characters are often at a disadvantage (mainly with DPS). In a gacha game like Genshin, it would be very expensive to keep up with this if power creep occurs within this game in the future. It's best to make the most of what you have.
Gacha = Gambling
When you go to a casino, do you walk in expecting to win millions? The odds are never in your favor when gambling. Rates are low for a reason. If everyone could spend $50 and get the exact characters they wanted every time, Miyoho wouldn't be making as much money as they are. Gacha games have always been about gambling for characters. As stated previously, you're neverarely guaranteed anything, and by the time you've gotten what you wanted (unless extremely lucky), the company has already gotten what they wanted.
Don't be blinded by sunk-cost.
Sunk-cost is the idea that you've already put so much into something, and it'll go to waste unless you continue putting resources into it to get it. Do not be blinded by this when doing gachas. Say you spent $100 and didn't get Qiqi. You've already put so much into the game, and not getting her would mean your money went to waste right? What if it would take another $1,000 to get her. Would that be worth it? It's best to cut your losses and walk away. Thinking about the sunk cost of something is what gives many people difficulty walking away, and causes them to over-spend.
Your party has limited space.
Yes, I know abyss is the exception. But overall the majority of the game only allows 4 characters at a time. You can't play with them all. It feels real bad to put a character you spent a lot of money on aside because they don't fit your current comp anymore. ------- This comes from someone who is largely free-to-play in games like this. The only gacha game I've ever spent money on was Love Live a few years ago. I spent $125 and never got a single ultra-rare with my pulls. From that I realized what I was doing. Even if I could afford putting $30 per 10-pull, was the card I was going to get really worth that? No. I learned from that experience and see gacha games for what they are.
PS: If you are aware of all this and still want to spend $$/disposable income on primogems, by all means go ahead. But for many people it's easy to lose sight of what they're really paying for. I hope this is helpful in some way. Feel free to disagree with any of this, but this is my perspective on the game and I get really sad seeing so many posts on the subreddit about how depressed people are after spending and not getting anything, and feeling entitled to it. TL;DR: It's easy to sink lots of money into this game if you don't recognize you're gambling and never guaranteed anything. This is a warning post, not a criticism of anyone. EDIT: As reddit user u/zapzya summarized: "...not everyone actually has the financial stability to invest in such a product, yet will do so anyway because they are not particularly knowledgeable in gambling mechanics or because shady tactics like the currency change ($$ genesis crystals primogems fates) actually work."
The Hound of Hounslow (How an Autist Broke the Market)
On May 6, 2010, Jim Cramer’s brain broke. “That is not a real price,” he yelled to his monitor. “OK? That is not a real price.” Proctor & Gamble had just fallen 25% in a manner of minutes, then 29%, then 31%. Cramer had never seen such a shiny knife, such a beautiful buy, and he searched frantically for the right camera to beg his followers to add PG to their portfolio. There weren’t enough buttons on Cramer’s soundboard to fully capture how he felt about the quickest drop in Dow Jones history. In what would later be dubbed “The Crash of 2:45” or simply “The Flash Crash,” over a trillion dollars was wiped from the stock market in a manner of 15 minutes. The odd thing was, despite dropping more than 9% at one point, the market would rapidly recover a bit after 3 PM and would close only 3% lower for the day. In the ensuing days and weeks, journalists and financial commentators and United States Congressmen would try and determine where this volatility had come from. Something weird had just happened. # In the investigations that followed, regulators would consider a couple of theories. Was this a “fat-finger trade” where a trader inadvertently placed a large sell order, triggering a domino effect of sorts where algos would in turn sell? Was this a well-coordinated cyberattack, aimed to cripple American institutions? Was it simply a dip exacerbated by high-frequency traders? Had Janet Yellen forgotten to change the printer toner? Nobody knew. But five months after the flash crash, the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) released a joint report that on May 6, 2010 the market was “so fragmented and fragile that a single large trade could send stocks into a sudden spiral.” They stated that a group called Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. had inadvertently played a role in the crash by initiating a sale of 75,000 E-Mini S&P contracts ($4.1 billion total) as a hedge to an existing position. This, the report said, coupled with the high-frequency traders trying to sell the long futures contracts they had just picked up from Waddell & Reed, led to a game of “hot potato” where the contracts were resold to other HFTs. The report though was leaving out a crucial player. # In 2005, Navinder Sarao was living the dream. At 27 years old, he still lived with his parents in Hounslow, a working-class suburb outside of London, demanding tendies to be delivered to his bedroom by his sweet emigrant mother. To the people who knew him, Navinder, or Nav, was known to be quick-witted and quick to anger. He was dominant at Halo and FIFA, and he had a proclivity to focus on one task for hours and hours on end until he mastered it. He was almost obsessive in his interests. Despite still living with his parents, young Nav had aspirations. In 2006, he responded to an ad in the Evening Standard that read, “Wanted: futures traders. Must work well under pressure.” That’s it. That was the ad. And Nav, with no experience and a honey mustard-stained tie, went to the FutexLive headquarters—a drab office situated above a supermarket 45 minutes outside London—and successfully hid his Asperger’s and got the job. He was now a professional trader. Nav picked things up quickly. Realizing that he was surrounded by day-trading retards, he moved his desk to the corner of the shabby trading floor and bought a pair of noise-canceling headphones. He’d found success trading E-mini S&P Futures, which is the primary futures trading vehicle for the S&P 500. And with his noise-canceling headphones, Nav would follow the orders that would enter and leave the markets. His coworkers would marvel at the autist in the corner and the returns he was regularly pulling in. Then 2008 happened. By the time the financial crisis was in full swing, Nav was almost thirty and had decided to leave Futex. He had accumulated $2 million from his trades the last couple of years, and he figured the most prudent move as a budding millionaire was to set up his command center in his bedroom. He still lived with his parents. # Nav realized something early on in the mortgage crisis that not everyone else did. He realized that governments would be forced to step in and save these retarded institutions, and he knew the banks wouldn’t be allowed to fall. And he bet $2 million—his whole net worth at the time—that he would be right. He made this bet on a Friday, and the following Monday, George Bush announced the TARP plan. Prices proceeded to recover 19% over the next couple of weeks, and Nav rode the wave and turned his $2 million into $15 million. Did he rest on his laurels? Fuck no, this kid’s retarded! Nav didn’t want a wife and a home with a couple of kids running around. He wanted GLORY. # Around 2010, the markets were seeing an influx in high-frequency trading, and Nav took personal insult to these robots. People were getting scalped by these algos, and those scalps belonged to Nav. Those profits were rightfully his. In order to beat the robots, Nav decided to build his own robot. And unsurprisingly, fueled by Code Red and autism, Nav’s algo worked magnificently. Pretty soon, he was regularly pulling in half a million a day. All the while living in a cramped bedroom of his parents’ home that cost $300,000. # May 6, 2010, started out as a regular day for Nav. The markets were sliding a bit, and Jim Cramer was flailing about his studio as though he were fighting a cloud of bats, but this was roughly on par for the time. Nav’s algo was pumping E-mini sell orders into the market—$200 million worth of orders to be exact—which ultimately resulted in a loss of liquidity (don’t ask me how this worked, I’m still confused why my PLTR 12/11 40C aren’t printing). At around 1:40 EST, or 6:40 in Hounslow, his mother called from the bottom of the steps to inform Nav that din-din was ready and would he please come down. So Nav logged off. And exactly one minute after that, the market began to fall at a rate that had never seen before. Nav had no idea though; he was in an argument with his father about why he needed to chew with his mouth open in order to let the scalding tendy fumes out. A trillion dollars had been wiped from American markets, and the instigator of it all was too retarded to know what he’d done. The tendies were good though. # The trillion-dollar loss turned out to be not that big of a deal. The DOW snapped back from the 9% freefall like a rubber band, like any stock that Andrew Left has deemed to be a casino. But the NYSE and NASDAQ officials proceeded to meet over the next couple of months to try and determine what caused the nosedive and rapid recovery. In the reports that they would write, regulators made no reference to manipulation and no reference to Nav. In fact, he wasn’t even aware there was an investigation going on. He wasn’t aware he did anything wrong. But regulators eventually began to notice that Nav was canceling a lot of orders. The CFTC sent him an email and asked if he could explain what he’d been up to. What was the reason for his canceling an obscene number of orders? That’s what big banks did. And that’d usually be fine and all, but Nav was a singular trader and that made it suspicious. Nav wrote back to the CFTC explaining in careful terms that he had nothing to apologize for and that the CFTC could kiss his ass. He actually sent that. He told the CFTC to kiss his ass. Which, in hindsight, might’ve been a bad idea but the regulators were still too stupid and boomery to charge him with anything at the time. Nav would’ve gotten away with it too if it weren’t for a blabbermouth desk trader in Chicago who months later reported a different block of Nav’s trades to the CFTC, rekindling the case against Nav. The investigation and case were dragged out over months and years, and I know 99% of you were too impatient to get this far, so I’ll give the cliff notes for the rest. Basically, Nav would eventually be charged with “spoofing,” which is the purchase of a large block of orders with the intent to cancel them. Spoofing artificially drives prices higher or lower. So the FBI and other concerned parties showed up on the doorstep of Nav’s Hounslow townhome in 2015, and he was extradited to the U.S. The judge learned he was worth $50 million, so he set bail to $7.5 million. Curiously enough though, Nav couldn’t access the $50 million or pay bail, and it was later determined that he’d somehow lost the fortune, seemingly to various shady investment advisors who promised to keep his money safe. (I personally like to think he’s stashed his earnings into a Caribbean account and that he’ll return to his private island once things blow over) Over the next couple of months, Nav worked with investigators and taught them how market abuse happens. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s by a prison doctor, and the judge, sensing the moral dilemma of incarcerating an autist, and sensing Nav had received punishment enough from being scammed out of his $50 million, recommended a year of house arrest. So Nav is currently serving his year of house arrest in the same bedroom where he amassed $50 million. But now he’s penniless at 41. TLDR: Some autist beats the system, but the casino is angry and creates new rules to retroactively punish him for his winnings.
I was asked to make a post about some stories within the Casino grounds so I thought I'd share. I have many so I'll do my best to pick the better ones. Some back information: I've been a Casino Dealer for 11 years, I've been a supervisor for five years, and I've been a Surveillance Operator for one year. I've worked at three properties, none of which are connected or owned by the same company. I've worked on : Government/Private/Native American owned casinos.
From Hero to Zero.
At my first Casino, I was one of the first group of people who were trained to deal Roulette . After 4 weeks of working 6PM-3AM then doing roulette training from 3AM-8AM (Not paid) , I actually really enjoyed the game and after about six months I became extremely quick at the number game and the pace of the action was steady with very low margin of errors. Young man walks in, cashes in for $500. He buys in for $2 chips and just loads the board. After a few spins and pretty decent hits, he then changes his chips from $2 to 5$ then to $10 and racks his winnings up to $10,000. It was then, five spins in a row, he loaded the board with some pretty gross bets, and every spin I would hit the ONE number with either NO CHIPS on it, or maybe 1 chip , He lost all $10,000 in a matter of minutes. He leaves , and I go on break. After my break I was going back to the same table and wouldn't you know it, the same young man walks in and cashes in another $500. He tells me he just sold his car outside and this is all that he had left. So we do the same deal, buys in for $2 chips, then slowly starts betting $5 chips, $10, $25...and he makes $10,000 AGAIN. Within the next 25 minutes it was straight agony. Every spin, same thing, he would bet $2500 in chips, and win only $250, $400, and after about a half hour he lost it all . Never saw the guy again. 2) Man down At this property, we are 24 hours for table games. It's currently 5AM , and I'm dealing some $25 Blackjack to this guy. He's probably early thirties , heavy guy. He's sober as can be, but right away I can tell he's been losing. We know how much you've bought in for, how much your down, or up, and I could see he was down $2000+. After about twenty minutes of pure losing, his temper starts to flare.At this point I now have two other guests at my table. Drinking coffee, not saying a word, just losing their money. After losing hand, after hand, this guy looks me straight in the eye, seized up, starts shaking, he can't move. He tries to punch towards me and smashes his stack of chips all over the place and falls backwards to the floor. I call for security, we cannot touch him due to liability . I can't move from my table because, well, liability / casino cash property, all I can do is try to talk to him. As I'm doing so, these other two woman who are sitting at my table just look at me and one says "OK, dealer, cmon lets go " as she taps the table telling me to start dealing and forget about the guy having a stroke on the floor. As security takes him to the ambulance out front, I had to stay behind for a couple minutes and give a statement. I go on break. I come back, and 45 minutes later, he comes right back in with a oxygen tank and keeps gambling for the remainder of the morning. 3) You get a dildo, and YOU get a dildo! On a late summer Saturday night, we had a large event for these massive muscle guys/strongman competition type thing. After their show, I'm at the roulette table , and five of these boys come over to play. They were absolutely hilarious. They were feeling pretty good, cashed in somewhat large amounts and I could tell this was going to be a fun time. After about a hour of dealing to these guys, it's almost midnight, everybody is pretty hammered , I spin the ball, and all five of these guys take out these god damn (what I can only tell was) two feet purple dildos from inside their pants, and wiping them around in the air. The ladies were just loving it, one of the dildos landed in the roulette wheel and we had to shut the table down to re-calibrate the wheel to make sure nothing had been changed. I just remember that night was so much damn fun, I couldn't believe what I was seeing and I would never forget it. 4) Full Moon On this day, I was actually training dealers / supervising them on small games like Three Card poker. We opened the table at 10AM, and this older man came and sat down . He played all day. The jackpot was $21,000 and that was pretty high for this table. He played, and played and played. He's one of the players where you know he's wearing a diaper because he's been drinking coffee/pop all day and hasn't moved in eight hours. As the day went on, this man never moved from his chair. Getting closer to midnight, he was aggravated and said "I need to go have a smoke, I'm getting killed in here". He left, and the very next hand, the lady beside him was dealt the jackpot . He didn't say much, but you could just tell he just hated life at that very moment because had he not gotten up, it would of been his hand. The man calmly took his cane , his hat, jacket, coffee, and left. The next morning I found out when he did leave he drove his car straight through his bank and was arrested. 5) Slick Robber I actually give props to people who can actually pull this off. This story may confuse you so I'll try and explain things as best as possible. A lot of casinos have machines as soon as you walk through the front doors. A man walks up to one of these machines and sticks in HIS $100 bill. He doesn't gamble it, instead he hits the cash out button and gets a $100 TITO ticket where he then takes the ticket to the ATM machine to get his $100. Now remember, his Original $100 is in the slot machine. He then takes the $100 from the ATM and goes back to the same machine, and repeats this process over a hundred times. Essentially he's taking money from the ATM, and loading up the Slot Machine . Now he knows he can't do it too much because if the slot machine gets full of money, the machine will shut down and the slow attendant will have to take all the cash out. So he deposits over $10,000 , then has a small crowbar, he cracks the machine open and makes a run out the front door. To my knowledge he was never caught . But damn, that was pretty smart . EDIT: 6) Mental Health is a thing. 10PM man walks in to play some high limit BlackJack. This guy knows the game and played well. Dressed nice, drank juice/tea , a little bit of a attitude, cashed in over $10,000. When this man was half way down his buy in, he said something a long the lines of "If I don't win here tonight, I'm going to go set myself on fire." I wasn't sure if he was serious because when people are down, they tend to say a lot of nonsense. I actually left early that night, and from a third party was told he did exactly that in the parking lot. The next day it was clear something terrible had gone wrong in the parking lot . EDIT: 7) Nothing good happens after midnight After a busy Saturday night, I was dealing a mix of games, and during this story I was in the middle of Blackjack. I had one young kid (probably 19) sitting in the middle, one older male probably in his later 40's sitting beside him on his right, and I had a really nice couple in their 20's sitting together at the other side. This young kid wasn't playing just sort of watching, and ever time the old man won he would give this young guy some of his winnings. The older man, was a wine drinker, and he had black between all of his teeth, I'll never forget. He's a little drunk but nothing terrible. As the night goes on, the older man goes and uses the washroom, at which point the couple asked the young guy "Oh was that your dad?" and the young guy says "Hah, no I wish!". The couple and I just looked at each other. This old guy, was in complete control over this kid. Absolutely disgusting. The night ends, and I find out the couple called a few of their friends, and they all waited outside by this old mans truck and beat the living hell out of him. 40 years old, sleeping with a 19 year old, completely brain washed . Very weird. 8) That one co-worker where you just wish they would quit. One of our co-workers, nice guy but had a very big ego and we as employees just sorta left him alone. One day he had enough of the atmosphere and quit. Now usually when you quit, you cannot come back until you paperwork is finalized. How ever, HR was in that day, and he was given the paperwork the very next day. He came in, cashed in $1000, and made $50,000 in about a hour at the Baccarat table. My manager, was extremely annoyed, because now this guy is just mocking the casino and having the time of his life (Thanks for the big tip by the way :) ) and so he decides to call it quits. He wants to ban himself and he wants $50,000 in cash. The casino says Nope, we are going to give you a cheque. Now here's the thing, most business people will take the cheque, how ever you CANT CASH the cheque until the following monday because it's on that day where the funds are available. The casino on the other hand will cash their own check in anytime , because they want you to play. So this guy pretty much said go to hell I want my cash, and he called the police. Police show up, and management promptly gave him the cash.I though it was absolutely hilarious . 9) No good deed goes un punished I was dealing Three Card Poker, and the jackpot was around $17,000. This old man (a regular) was sitting there all day grinding it out. Super nice guy, always a pleasure to deal to. Well, after hours of playing, he stands up and says "Hey john!, can you come here for a minute?" so his buddy John comes over. He says to John "I need to go take a piss real quick, can you play my card until I get back?" John agrees . John takes the chips and I stop him and explain he can't play his friends chips, he needs to cash in and play his own. And he does. Welp, second hand out and bam, doesn't he win it. The old man comes back and is so happy, he can't believe it. John, took his $17,000, didn't say a word to his "buddy" and walked away. I never felt so much hatred in all my life. Didn't give him a dollar, not a thank you, nothing. The old man sits back down again, the progressive resets to $2500, and he sat there grinding away again. 10) The Top Knot I had this player , young guy, who was born into a fortune. One of his relatives passed away and left him a pretty big sizable amount of money, so he played poker every single day for the rest of his days. I will add, he IS a good player. I did not enjoy his company just because of the "Know-it-All" attitude, but he was good. We'll call him John. John is 5'10, and well build, with muscle. John also decided today was the day to show off his Top Knot. (google top knot if you're not sure what I mean) So he sits down, and he's absolutely KILLING the table. Every hand, after hand, after hand. And because he's in such a good mood, he's playing any two cards, calling any $500 bet, and he's just dominating. This one guy at the table decided he had enough. He got up, without saying a word and left. A moment later, he comes back in, walks behind John, and takes a pair of scissors , and cuts off his Top Knot. I for one couldn't believe it, dying laughing inside, and it just turned into one big brawl. That was a good day. 11) That one bad seed One of my best friends who I haven't seen in YEARS ended up being part of the crew. Was kind of nice to catch up. We never really got along as we grew up because he has a very high picture of himself . He wanted that 10/10 woman. A mansion, and a new Corvette. So every month or so we would all go up to the other casino to play. I myself would bring no more than $500, but I couldn't understand how this guy (we'll call him Kyle) was spending THOUSANDS of dollars at the tables. So this wen on for a few months. Well, one day, as we're closing the casino, he and I are in the High Limit room and we're getting ready to close the tables. We are told to take the chips out, count them, put them back, sign this piece of paper and that's it. Well as the supervisor was locking the tray, the piece of paper fell to the floor, so she asked Kyle to grab the piece of paper. As he bends over, a great big $500 chip falls right out of his sock. Kyle was fired immediately , but it all made sense. They offered Kyle a deal where if he replaced all the stolen chips they would not make it public. Not sure how that turned out. 12) If I ever decide to write a book, this will be the last chapter: <3 After working at my first Casino for five years, I met a Indian woman who was visiting from another part of the country. During this time I was explaining a game to her, which honestly I don't think she even cared. She explained she was visiting and sight seeing , and that was that.Well, two years later I ended up moving to the other side of the country and transferred casinos, and low and behold she worked there as a Dealer. We got married , and it's been 5 years. 13) The Tip One of our tables that we've had for a couple years had a progressive jackpot that had reached $100,000. The dealer at the table was sitting pretty lonely. Nobody really played the game because people knew it was extremely difficult to win the jackpot. My memory is a tad foggy, but you somehow needed to flop the royal flush. This young guy sits down and says to the dealer, we'll call him John. "John, if you pay me that jackpot, I will tip you $10,000" Well John started dealing, and about a half hour into his shift, he F*cking did it. He dealt him the royal. And you know something?This young lad, kept his word, and he made sure there was a audience, and he tipped exactly $10,000. That was a moment right there. That pay cheque was real nice. I think we all got about $500 more than usual. The moment that jackpot was awarded they got rid of the table because the money it was making was not near what the casino wanted. I'm sure there have been bigger tips at other casinos, but that was something special . 14) The Lawsuit Now this story I'm going to have to beat around the bush a bit due to the nature of what happened. I can't won't answer any questions that you may have on this topic other than what I have to say because it had a lot of publicity . The waitresses at this casino had to wear very thin sexy clothes. Not borderline legal, but it was noticed. One day they called all the waitresses to come in and explained they were changing their outfit to something even more sexier. Now these new dresses were very very borderline legal . The staff said No way. We're not wearing that.So , friday night comes, and the staff work their whole shift, then at the end of their shift were called into a meeting and were all fired. Welp, one of those ladies father was a pretty big time lawyer. Brough the casino to court and won. They won big. Good for them. We had no waitresses for a couple days haha. Thanks for reading along, I have many more I can add as the day goes on, those were just some off the top of my head. Feel free to ask any questions of the Casino industry. I don't really have many stories about the surveillance department because that's the one area where I can't really say a whole lot due to its privacy and contracts I was and still am under.
Lost in the Sauce: Barr's DOJ shut down investigations of Trump and admin officials
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. Housekeeping:
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On Saturday, Trump announced on Twitter that he has put his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in charge of his campaign's long-shot post-election legal challenges. Other people on the team include Joseph diGenova, Victoria Toensing, Sidney Powell, and Jenna Ellis.
Giuliani worked with a Russian agent to smear Biden. diGenova and Toensing tried to get the Justice Department to drop charges against corrupt Ukraine oligarch Dmytro Firtash. Powell represents Michael Flynn and champions "deep state" conspiracies. Ellis said gay marriage leads to pedophilia.
NYT: Mr. Trump turned to Mr. Giuliani earlier on Friday in reaction to the latest setback he faced in court, this one relating to votes in Maricopa County, Arizona… A half-dozen other Trump advisers have described Mr. Giuliani’s efforts as counterproductive and said that he was giving the president unwarranted optimism about what could happen… In an Oval Office meeting with aides on Thursday, Mr. Trump put Mr. Giuliani on speakerphone so the others could hear him. He angrily accused the aides of not telling the president the truth
Giuliani’s conspiracy-riddled rant at Four Seasons Total Landscaping was so disastrous that it “scared off many of the lawyers” recruited to argue election-related lawsuits.Politico: “Campaign officials described the episode as disastrous...there are widespread concerns within Trumpworld and GOP circles that Giuliani’s antics are thwarting the president’s legal machinery from within.” Two major law firms have withdrawn from Trump campaign cases as his legal challenges crumble. Arizona’s largest law firm Snell & Wilmer dumped the RNC and Trump campaign effort to challenge votes in Maricopa County. Porter Wright Morris & Arthur is abandoning Trump’s attempt to block Pennsylvania's popular vote for Joe Biden.
In one day (Friday), nine cases meant to attack President-elect Joe Biden's win in key states were denied or dropped - seven in Pennsylvania, one in Arizona, and one in Michigan.
The new federal chief information security officer, Camilo Sandoval, has already taken leave from his day job to participate in a pro-Trump effort to hunt for evidence of voter fraud in the battleground states. The group, Voter Integrity Fund, is a newly formed Virginia-based group that is analyzing ballot data and cold-calling voters. Sandoval was officially appointed on Nov. 4, 2020, but lists his starting date at October on his personal LinkedIn page.
WaPo: Sandoval is part of a hastily convened team led by Matthew Braynard, a data specialist who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign. Another participant is Thomas Baptiste, an adviser to the deputy secretary of the Interior Department who also took a leave to work on the project. Braynard said in an interview that several other government officials on leave are also assisting the effort, but he declined to identify them.
Facebook Cut Traffic To Leading Liberal Pages Just Before The Election: Liberal page administrators who spoke with BuzzFeed News said that their reach declined by as much as 70%, and still hasn’t recovered.
Facebook Live Spread Election Conspiracies And Russian State-Controlled Content Despite Employee Fears: The social network’s live video tool has recommended videos featuring misinformation and the hyperpartisan views of Trump allies leading up to and following election day in the US.
In the week after the election, Trump’s postings dominated Facebook, accounting for the 10 most engaged status updates in the United States, and 22 of the top 25. “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” was his top post.
YouTube Is Doing Very Little to Stop Election Misinformation From Spreading
Social media app Parler receives financial backing from conservative hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah, The Wall Street Journal reported. Parler turned into a kind of de facto home for conservatives’ protests against the election— including the persistent “Stop the Steal” campaign— after the race was called for former Vice President Joe Biden. Several high-profile conservative social media personalities encouraged people to abandon Twitter and Facebook because of their moderation policies, and instead follow them on Parler.
Emily Murphy, the head of the General Services Administration, still hasn’t signed the official letter that would allow the incoming Biden team to formally begin the transition. House Democrats are assessing options to force the GSA’s hand, which could include summoning Murphy to the Hill to testify or suing her. “Obviously, Congress could file suit against the GSA administrator for failing to do her duty. We could seek to get a court to, in fact, issue an order
Her ascertainment is the legally necessary precursor to the government’s assistance to the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. It releases $6.3 million dollars to the team, which is funded by public and private money; a loan of expanded federal office space and equipment; access to government agencies that will begin sharing information and records about ongoing activities, plans and vulnerabilities; national security briefings for the president; and other support.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently confirmed that it is not providing national security briefings to the president-elect. The Defense Department has also reportedly indicated that it will not meet with the Biden-Harris transition team until Murphy formally affirms the apparent winner.
One of the officials fired in Trump’s latest purge was helping prepare for the transition to the new administration. USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick was removed abruptly to make way for a Trump loyalist after she had been supportive of transition planning, including the preparation of a 440-page manual for the next administration. The GSA’s refusal to enact the transition has locked Biden’s team out of crucial Covid-19 pandemic data and government agency contacts. The president-elect’s Covid-19 task force has been trying to work around the federal government by connecting with governors and the health community.
The head of Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui, called on the White House to allow contact with the Biden team, saying “It is a matter of life and death for thousands of people.”
White House’s Office of Management and Budget is considering 145 new regulations and other policy changes they could enact before Biden’s inauguration - rules that will be challenging to undo once they are finalized. Critics and supporters of the administration say they expect a final burst of regulations to be finalized in the weeks before Jan. 20.
The rules under development include policies that the incoming Biden administration would probably oppose, such as new caps on the length of foreign student visas; restrictions on the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific research; limits on the EPA’s consideration of the benefits of regulating air pollutants; and a change that would make it easier for companies to treat workers as independent contractors, rather than employees with more robust wage protections.
Last week, both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said they’re preparing for a second Trump term. “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” Pompeo said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon (clip). Pompeo then doubled down on Fox News (clip). “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption there will be a second Trump term,” Navarro said on Fox Business Friday (clip).
Attorney General William Barr stopped career prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section from investigating whether President Trump broke any laws related to his conduct with Ukraine last year. The section was initially given the green light to pursue “a potentially explosive inquiry” into Trump, but after the Senate acquitted the president during impeachment proceedings, Barr sent the case to the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn. Prosecutors in DOJ’s Public Integrity Section were also prevented from bringing charges against former interior secretary Ryan Zinke by political appointees atop the Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told prosecutors that they needed to gather more evidence and refine the case against Zinke for lying to Interior investigators.
The investigation into Zinke stemmed from his decision to block two Native American tribes—the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan—from opening a casino in Connecticut. Zinke’s office had been lobbied heavily by MGM Resorts International, which had been planning to open its own casino very close to where the tribes intended to break ground.
Sixteen assistant U.S. attorneys specially assigned to monitor malfeasance in the 2020 election urged Barr on Friday to rescind his memo allowing election-fraud investigations before results are certified. "It was developed and announced without consulting non-partisan career professionals in the field and at the Department. Finally, the timing of the Memorandum's release thrusts career prosecutors into partisan politics," the prosecutors wrote. An internal Justice Department investigation found that federal prosecutors who oversaw a controversial non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 exercised “poor judgment” but did not break the law. “They just say he used poor judgment, and that's their way of basically letting everyone off the hook while offering some sort of an olive branch to the victims that we acknowledge weren't treated perfectly,” said Brad Edwards, who sued the DOJ in 2008 on behalf of Epstein accusers.
Eastern District of New York Judge Nicholas Garaufis (Clinton-appointee) ruled that Chad Wolf was not legally serving as acting Homeland Security secretary when he signed rules limiting DACA program applications and renewals. Therefore, in a win for Dreamers and immigration activists, Garaufis said the changes were invalid.
The judge described an illegitimate shuffling of leadership chairs at the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for immigration enforcement, for the predicament of Wolf's leadership and that of his predecessor, Kevin McAleenan. "Based on the plain text of the operative order of succession," Garaufis wrote in the Saturday ruling, "neither Mr. McAleenan nor, in turn, Mr. Wolf, possessed statutory authority to serve as Acting Secretary. Therefore the Wolf Memorandum was not an exercise of legal authority."
There's a renewed push to get Chad Wolf confirmed as Homeland Security secretary -- a position in which he's been serving in an acting capacity for a yearr -- before Inauguration Day. In the past week, Homeland Security officials spoke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office about bringing the nomination to a floor vote in the coming weeks.
Within the last six months, as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the US, the Trump administration filed 75 lawsuits to seize private land along the US-Mexico border for the border wall." People right now are having to choose between their health and their homes," said Ricky Garza, a staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project, a legal advocacy group. After a series of price increases, Trump’s border project will cost taxpayers $20 million per mile of border fence. A review of federal spending data shows more than 200 contract modifications, at times awarded within just weeks or months after the original contracts, have increased the cost of the border wall project by billions of dollars since late 2017. DHS has expelled unaccompanied immigrant children from the US border more than 13,000 times since March,using the coronavirus as an excuse to deny children their right to asylum. Previously, unaccompanied children were sent to government-run shelters as they attempted to pursue their asylum cases. Migrant children from Central America are being expelled to Mexico, where they have no family connections. The expulsions not only put children in danger - the policy violates a diplomatic agreement with Mexico that only Mexican children and others who had adult supervision could be pushed back into Mexico after attempting to cross the border. The House Judiciary Committee released a report on the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the border, revealing that the federal agency that cares for migrant children was not told about the policy. The chaos contributed to the inability to later reunite parents and children. The Trump administration is trying to deport several women who allege they were mistreated by a Georgia gynecologist at an immigration detention center. Hours after one detained woman spoke to federal investigators about forced hysterectomies at a Georgia detention center, she said ICE told her that it had lifted a hold on her deportation and she faced “imminent” removal. Six former patients who complained about Dr. Mahendra Amin had already been deported. Northern District of Illinois Judge Gary Feinerman (Obama-appointee) blocked a key Trump administration policy that allowed officials to deny green cards to immigrants who might need public assistance Advocates who had feared that the policy would harm tens of thousands of poor people, particularly those affected by widespread job loss because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft said it has detected attempts by state-backed Russian and North Korean hackers to steal valuable data from leading pharmaceutical companies and vaccine researchers. “Among the targets, the majority are vaccine makers that have COVID-19 vaccines in various stages of clinical trials.” Two census takers told The AP that their supervisors pressured them to enter false information into a computer system about homes they had not visited so they could close cases during the waning days of the once-a-decade national headcount. The Supreme Court on Tuesday signaled it’s unlikely to tear down Obamacare over a Republican-backed lawsuit challenging the landmark health care law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Trump appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh strongly questioned whether the elimination of the mandate penalty made the rest of the law invalid. Kavanaugh appeared to signal on several occasions that he favored leaving the rest of the law intact if the mandate is struck. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) was sued last week by four whistleblowers claiming that he abused his office to benefit himself, a woman with whom he was said to have had an affair, and the wealthy donor who employs her before retaliating against the members of his staff who reported him to the FBI. The Trump administration is rushing plans to auction drilling rights in the U.S. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the inauguration of Biden, who has vowed to block oil exploration in the rugged Alaska wilderness. Biden’s efforts could be complicated if the Trump administration sells drilling rights first. Formally issued oil and gas leases on federal land are government contracts that can’t be easily yanked.
[TRADING PSYCHOLOGY] Nobody ever takes a trade thinking it's going to be a loser
I spent several hours this past week coaching traders at my prop firm. And something caught my attention… Every single one of these traders needed help with the same thing. It has to do with what I call the “reverse” gambler’s fallacy. And it’s something many traders struggle with. Today, I’ll show you how to get this common obstacle under control… and start earning more consistent returns year after year… What Most New Traders Get Wrong The obstacle I’m talking about is trading psychology. It’s a very broad term used to describe the emotional side of trading. Almost all new traders believe the most important part of trading is being able to analyze markets like a pro. On the surface, this logic makes sense. After all, if you can reliably forecast which direction to take on a trade, the money should take care of itself… right? What these novices don’t yet understand is that something special happens the moment you commit your money to a trade… You start feeling things. Whether it’s fear, excitement, anxiety, or a mix of all three, no one is immune to these emotions. And they can wreak havoc on even the best planned trades. You may be able to call the direction, the timing, and the target price to perfection… But it can all be for nothing if you are unable to stick to your trade plan. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen traders plan out a great trade… But then ended up somehow losing money, or not being in the market when the move they’d forecast played out. So how do you beat your emotions to become a better, more consistent trader? It comes down to the three key parts of trading. Let me explain… The Three-Legged Stool of Trading I think of trading as a three-legged stool. Your methodology/strategy for picking trades is the first leg. Your risk- and trade-management strategy is the second leg. And the third leg is your trading psychology. In my experience, most traders focus on the first leg (strategy and methodology), and they neglect the other two legs. But the stool needs all three legs to stand on its own. Over the years, I’ve honed my own proprietary method to develop well-rounded traders. Here’s what I’ve learned… The first fundamental building block of a profitable trader is to establish a proven strategy/methodology you can use to identify good trades. In my experience, everything follows from this foundation. How you manage your risk and your trades should be determined by the strategies you employ. Your trading psychology likewise will be influenced by your approach to risk and trade management. I’ve seen other trading instructors assign arbitrary percentage values to the three legs of the trading stool. Usually these values are divided up like this: 30% to the level of importance on the analytical strategy, 30% to risk and trade management, and 40% to trading psychology. But I don’t believe that any one leg is more important than the other. And yet I’ve found that, more often than not, traders neglect risk/trade management and psychology. So how do you stop neglecting these two important areas to become a more well-rounded trader? That’s where our reverse gambler’s fallacy comes in… Time to Ditch the Casino Mentality There is one block that seems to stop traders from progressing to working on the other two legs. That is, they don’t know how to flip the switch from thinking about their trades as individual trades in a vacuum… to thinking about them as a collection that relies on a statistical edge to net a profit. Most traders run into this problem at some point in their careers. And if you’re frustrated with your trading right now, chances are you may be struggling with this, too. It’s known as the casino mentality. And it’s the same mindset that amateur gamblers will take with them into Caesars Palace or the Bellagio. It doesn’t matter if they’re seated at the blackjack table or standing over the roulette wheel. Most gamblers believe that the hand or spin they are about to play is the opportunity to hit a winner. After all, if the roulette wheel has landed four black spins in a row, the next one surely must be red, right? In reality, the chances of the roulette ball landing on black or red is even, at about 47.4% each. This means each spin is independent of the last. This is also known as the gambler’s fallacy. What’s interesting is that I’ve observed a kind of reverse gambler’s fallacy from many traders… This occurs when a trader, who does in fact have a statistically proven strategy, goes on a losing streak… And then instead of continuing to trust their strategy, they abandon it altogether. How to Avoid the “Reverse” Gambler’s Fallacy I saw this logical fallacy in effect this past week during one of my coaching calls. The trader I was coaching had recently taken a technical setup that simply did not work. He was convinced he had done something wrong and wanted my help in improving his analysis. But his analysis was great. He didn’t do anything wrong in identifying the setup, which was textbook in nature. But the setup looked so good that, when it resulted in a loss, the trader was convinced that he was the problem… That he did something wrong. The lesson I imparted to him, which I now want to pass on to you, is this very simple truth… Nobody, and I mean nobody, ever takes a trade thinking it is going to be a loser. Every single trade you take will be because you thought it would make you money. Despite this feeling of confidence, out of 100 trades, you’d be lucky to win 50% of them. That’s why a great trader is not defined by what percentage of their trades end up as winners or losers. A great trader is defined by whether or not they are net profitable after taking 100 trades. If you win roughly as many trades as you lose, but your winners make you 2x or 3x the amount of money you give back on your losers, you will end up with a nice profit at the end of the year. Remember, nobody ever takes a trade thinking it is not going to work out. This is why it is absolutely crucial to abandon the idea of thinking about your trades as individual trades. Instead, start taking a more data-driven, statistical approach to your trading. What do I mean by that? Keeping a longer-term perspective on your trading is the key to longevity in this business. What your numbers look like over the next 100, 200, or 300 trades is far more relevant and important than losing your cool because you lost a handful of trades in a row. Of course, to be able to make it to 300 trades, you must have a rock-solid risk management plan in place. I don’t see gamblers at the casino take a professional approach very often. It’s rare to see someone bet small and stick to the odds on every play. It’s far more common for gamblers to be all over the place with the size of their bets. They may start off betting small, but after winning a couple of hands of blackjack, they get overconfident and take an outsized bet. Sure enough, on that next hand they go bust while the house just happens to hit blackjack. This is how casinos make money from gamblers. And it’s how the market parts amateur traders from their capital. No doubt, it takes a lot of hard work and discipline to make the transition from amateur to professional. But, I promise you, the rewards make it all worthwhile. Until next time. Regards,
Yesterday, I got the question about whether the "50 WP lucky chest is worth it or not." I was talking to a few people about the game and how I generally advocate going for long term steady gains through preparation and farming instead of spending on small bits of RNG here and there. For example, these enhanced crit stones for a dollar each or so in the anniversary packages. We were going through the check CP page and I stumbled on a realization that I think everyone knows but doesn't see big picture enough. This is most of the things in the game CPwise that you can obtain. Anything with a red rectangle has RNG involved which means you need more resources than you expect in most cases: https://preview.redd.it/d6lwy7t4xs561.png?width=1604&format=png&auto=webp&s=26b1471c92577d3d5612427c1c2f488e7d03e4f6 I wanted to call attention to the main offenders: pets and the majority of the right side of this list. The right side is everything that PA wants to sell you. As soon as you open your character page, it's all the shiny stuff that you see. Additionally, it is everything that people pull their hair out over, make "i did it!" posts on reddit over, etc. You can tell this is true because if you ask to see someone's CP, they immediately assume you're talking about their gear page instead of the Check CP list. The right side is everything that PA wants you to pay attention to and the left side is everything that is hidden and keeps you growing steadily enough to keep playing the game successfully. In an attempt to mathematically evaluate the 50 WP lucky shop, I wanted to find a base value in dollars of what each possible drop was and multiply it by the rate (which is posted) and then compare it to 50 WPs dollar value (40 cents). So I started the math to determine a base of value of each individual product (1 red acc = $20, 1 sushi = $1, etc) but it became so convoluted that the math stopped making sense whenever you change currency values so much. Because of this, it became really hard to mathematically justify when ANY package was worth getting in order to knock RNG stuff out of the way (totem +6 for example). What it boils down to is this: I couldn't do the math, you might not be able to do the math either, but I guarantee you PA can and has. They wouldn't sell something that they haven't calculated would make them money. This is the casino aspect of it. You should realize that anytime you buy RNG, PA has calculated that RNG to take your money favorably to them. The exception to this is when they want to release something and they need people to catch up so they might do crazy sales, but it's more likely that we get our free stuff from events to help normalize the server's CP. Additionally, it's no surprise that some items that are heavy in RNG (pets, totems, glyphs, valks 50, sushi, resto, red lightstones, red relics, magic essence) are much much harder to obtain in game than the guaranteed items like stamps, vials, and POG tickets. Those 3 things are easier to obtain, but since they're guaranteed, we want a massive amount of all 3 of those; basically to a point where we would need to whale hard to cap. So what's the takeaway? This game sucks and PA is full of demons? No. Not at all. This game is by far the highest quality mobile game out there. It's honestly better than most PC MMORPGs right now. But it does mean that if you want to enjoy it, you need to know how to play it. Kind of like drinking responsibly I guess. Here are a few points that help make the game more enjoyable, prevent burnout, and prevent that horrible sinking feeling of buying something and then having it piss away and wishing you could turn back time 15 minutes: - Do not spend on RNG unless the deal is borderline a guarantee and you never need to really deal with it for a very long time. For example, when totems released, there was a hot deal for 50 totems for 30 dollars which I think most people knew was a horrible deal. That's enough for a +4 I would say. You need about 800-1000 for a +6. This was 20 dollars on black friday to get 1500, getting as close to a sure thing as you can get for that. That was the time to knock totems out. We are currently seeing this now with glyphs. You can do well enough now by getting totem +6, full pen, red relic +0, and full red accessories. That's really all someone needs RNGwise to do okay. - If you want to spend on something for yourself this Christmas, make sure it is a non-RNG purchase. This translates to 3 things and that's really it: vials (no great vial deals right now btw. black friday was the time for those), POG (500 wp for 10 or 1500 BP for 10), or boss stamps (via hot deal only usually). Don't enhance under 100%. If someone came up to you and said "there's a 98% chance I won't kick you in the balls right now; wanna roll the dice?", you likely would not play that game. Just go to 100%. - Do all the events, do all the dailies, and do merchantry daily. You can make silver from the resources gain, you make some stamps from merchantry, you can stay on top of your camp, you make stamps from node manager, etc. As long as you play the game, you can get items which will improve your left side. Cart 4 merchantry takes 30 minutes to go through 100k food. Cart 5 takes 15. - Don't fall into this silly trap of thinking PA or whales are the devil just because they are offering something that you don't think is worth the price. That'd be like walking into a grocery store and being pissed off at the store that they offer chocolate milk for $4 and it should be $2. Just don't buy the fucking milk; that offer isn't for you. Only pay attention to the things that fit your personal budget, even if that's $0. Just because an item is offered for a high price doesn't mean that you have to get it to play. Just skip it. Honestly, I don't feel bad at all knowing that my competition will spend hundreds of dollars per week/month because I know that they'll eventually just burn out and I'll win that way. - Don't treat this game like a casino. You've played RPGs before when you were a kid. They are a long drawn out marathon over time that make you stronger and stronger the more you play them. Play this game like an RPG; not a casino. Don't spend on RNG. EDIT: Related to this, for anyone who cares, I want to tell you another story. Before this discussion last night, a guild member of mine asked me to look at their stuff and tell them how best to grow 114 CP in 30 minutes. I saw his black spirit level was 187 and emblem was 21. I did some math since I knew the amount to get to 24 and determined he needed 86 path of glory to get there, pushing him 3 black spirit levels, 3 emblem levels, and getting him enough silver to buy a red off the market and create a pink crystal. Looking at the packages available, he found the Pearls + POG package for 50 dollars, and 3x of the 10 dollar package, and then used the WP on the 50 passes for 2500 WP. This was an 80 dollar solution to his problem to get it immediately. It was guaranteed, but in my opinion expensive to have 90 runs with only 700 WP left over. I pointed out to him that I recommended a different solution that for 60 dollars, he could have bought 2x Double Daily Pearl II, got half his CP immediately, and then waited 10 days for the other half. This would have saved him 20 dollars and gotten him a whopping 3100 WP left over in value, both of which could have been spent on even more CP if he chose (like the 3k WP event pass and the $20 anniversary chest). I also told him that lacking in 60 CP wasn't going to make him go from 6 hits to kill someone down to 5 hits in Black Sun so effectively the 10 day wait would be identical to having it now. The moral of the story is a lot of the packages out there are garbage and there might be much more effective means of spending if you even choose to spend. Find them or wait for them to present themselves.
+3000% in 2020... My Journey to the Golden 7 Figure Mark
Hey Folks, My first ever Reddit post and I guess I chose to make an essay of it. This post is about how 2020 has been a stellar year for me in the stock market. For context, I'm 32 and have a been trading for about 7 years. I started in 2013 with stocks and then in 2016, I switched to options trading which had disastrous consequences at first, but is also the reason I eventually managed to hit the million dollar mark. Disclosure: I have a pretty stable career completely unrelated to the finance world so a lot of this is mostly self taught, which I am sure is also the case with most readers :) I will preface this post by saying that I am aware that there have been a bunch of success stories in the market in 2020 and by no means do I intend for my excitement and elation in sharing my story to come of as chutzpah. 2020 has been a crazy year considering the adjustments we have had to make to our lives because of Covid. The "benefit" of this has been the ability to wfh and this lifestyle change has spawned a whole new population of day traders. As an inhabitant of an area that follows Pacific Time, the 2.5 or so hours before work officially begins has been an absolute blessing for me. This additional time coupled with super favorable market conditions, gumption/balls of steel and a good technical understanding or experience of the stock market are the factors that probably led to my success. I will also say you need A LOT OF LUCK in this process. Sometimes things just work out for you in life and you ABSOLUTELY need that to even come close to achieving something like this. Point to note: This post is going to ignore the injection and removal of some of my own funds along the way. You can assume the highest "baseline" amount I ever had in the account was around 140k. I mention starting at 11k but please note in no way is this post saying I went from 11k to >1 million. Here's this year's action and the next few images summarize/document my crazy journey to get to this point. BOOM portfolio as of 10/1/2020. 3000%. You can do it too! I started trading 7 years ago. Mostly stocks. It was all good but humans have a propensity for risky behavior and I am human after all. This tendency meant that I couldn't just let my money sit in an account and grow gradually. I will admit I have a gamblerisk taker mentality and you must realize how critical this characteristic is to achieving success like this. Anyway, started dabbling in options in 2016 and I probably went about it the wrong way. My first foray into the options space was via long calls (which I realized later is actually only recommended for Options "Veterans" and not for those starting out as novice traders). Got burned A LOT along the way . I start with 11k in 2015ish and built that to about 39k by May 2017 and then literally lost more than 50% by 2019. Yuck! I know. Trust me there were days I would hate myself for being so incompetent or just displaying terrible money management. For this post, let's assume you only start seeing the action from Jan 8 2016 (image below) The starting value here is reflected as ~100k It's not so obvious anymore because the scale has been affected massively by the spike this year. But for clarity, my lowest point was Sep 2019 (See image below). I was heavily leveraged and this was where I was basically ready to give up. Thank god I didn't. So what changed? Read on! https://preview.redd.it/l5ugxjuhuiq51.png?width=566&format=png&auto=webp&s=032d472e0e912f43b35547214eacdae371870311 So in retrospect, I think we were in a very bearish environment between 2018 and 2019. People don't reference it as a bear market because lots of stocks did climb in that period (and it technically wasn't a bear market) but the tariffs on the Far East really messed with a lot of trading strategies and just market movement in general. My favorite stock in the early part of wealth building was AMD! I used that to build my portfolio and get out of the rut, post 2019. I basically took all my 80-90k (46k + 100% margin) and bought long AMD calls with strikes very close to the market price it was trading at in June-Sep 2018 and expirations 4-6 months out and just waited. POTUS did us all a great favor by ending the damn tariffs and that's when this party started. By March 2020, right before Covid, I hit 292k or so and was loving life and every minute of what I had pulled off. I will admit somewhere along the way between Oct 2019 and March 2020, I had traded NVDA and a few other large cap growth stocks given I now had all this additional purchasing power. BUT Guess what? My dumbass didn't take any profit! Or if I did, I reinvested it into the market. Remember what Mathew Mcconaughey's character says in WoWS? " They're all f**ing addicted. As brokers, we take their money out from 1 stock and dump it in another and just keep making money. Who cares about the investor!" .... So anyway, Covid strikes and BAM! my portfolio fell back to around 105k. I was pissed (I am sure many of you suffered the same fate). Thankfully, we have had a V shaped recovery (or K depending on what your political affiliation is) and I basically used the next 6 months from March till today to supercharge my portfolio to what you saw in the first image. So here's what I learned along the way: Disclaimer: None of what I mention in this post should be taken as financial advice. I accept no responsibility for how you do/do not use this information in your own trading strategies
The power of compounding is a beautiful thing. People understand this but don't full appreciate what this can do for you. If you start at 10k, you should aim to get to 20k first before trying to fly to 100k. When you get to a 100k, make sure you don't lose a single cent and have to start again from scratch. 100k with 100k margin = 200k. That can get you an ROI a helluva lot larger than if you were to start with 10k again. Grow your money in steps but know that in the casino, to win more, you have to bet more, which in this case would be your new principal amount after you have made profit.
Don't waste time trading rubbish. I see lots of new investors chasing the dollar stocks hoping they reach $10. Yes I did it with AMD but when I started trading AMD it had already gone from $3 to $16 in a year so the story was starting to build up! Penny stocks/pink sheet stocks are trash. Please don't waste your time on that. Large cap growth is the best way to make money. It's all about %. One option of TSLA or NFLX or AMZN purchased at the right time will make you a lot more than 1000 shares of a trash penny stock.
Technical Indicators are your friends. Learn how to use them, particularly in a bull market. I personally love Bollinger bands and RSI. These coupled with understanding the trend in a market will give you a significantly higher chance at making money than just speculating. Also, use these to either take profits off the table or to let your winners ride. 95% of all price action takes place within the +/-2 sigma bollinger bands(hence the definition). Don't believe me? Plot the chart yourself. Use the daily indicator for short term trading. Use the 3min or 5min chart for intra day trading.
If you are interesting in options trading, please go read or watch YouTube videos to understand how to get started. There is SO MUCH LITERATURE available for free. DONT PAY ANYONE to learn how to trade unless you want to contribute to the downpayment for their next Aston Martin :). Also, the Greeks didn't just give us great Mediterranean food, they are also the most important parameters in options trading. Delta and Theta should be with you at all times but dont' ignore gamma and vega. Alos understand how IV impacts your trading. The most successful/profitable strategy for me was (once I learned to do it correctly of course), buy call/put options with expiration>=2 months from the day you purchase them at a strike very close to the money. Don't worry about straddles and iron condors till you have mastered what the basics mean. Also, once you understand options and start buying them, know that writing Calls and Puts is a great way to collect premium as you grow your account. If you own shares, there's no reason you shouldn't be collecting extra income from writing calls against them. If a stock flies up too high, sell puts at 10% below the current price. In a bull market, you'll be hard pressed to find a growth stock that doesn't recover after tanking 10% in a 2 month time period.
Margin is your friend. Think of margin as the mistress/boy toy. He/She can give you unreal levels of pleasure but if he/she rats you out/bails on you, RIP. Use it wisely. Finally, trust nothing but your own instinct - No one but you is responsible for how you grow your account. Don't blindly follow people unless you understand what they are proposing. Most of us learn this the hard way (including me).
Take profit off the table but also let your winners run! Set yourself targets when you are in the very early stages of building your wealth. Remember the point I made about compounding? If you start at x, and make 20% on that, you are now at 1.2x. If you make 20% on that, you are now at 1.44x. I know you want to make 8x eventually but is it better to be realistic and try and grow 1.44x to 8x or go back down to 0.5x and then have to make your initial capital back and more? If your winners are up 20%, TAKE YOUR PROFIT. If you want to let it run, fine go ahead. But if you are now suddenly 50%, wtf are you waiting for? Are you going to stare at the screen hoping you suddenly see $1,000,000? That's not going to happen. Now, that said - in the current market climate which is a SEARINGLY HOT bull market, it is not unreasonable to see stocks climb 5-10% in a day. So? Take advantage of that of course but never ever let FOMO be the reason you lose out on profit.
Much like point 6, realize that you need to cut your losses when things don't work out. Go check out the CANSLIM method for some guidance on what targets to set yourself. E.g. in your early stages set tell yourself that no matter what, you will take profit at 20% upside and cut losses at -10% downside. On paper, with this math you can never lose. Of course, executing this requires curbing 10 different stages of human emotion which is why most never make consistent profit in the stock market.
Be greedy when others are fearful. I am at a stage now where I LOVE RED DAYS. Why? Because I know that in 24-48 hours the large cap growth stocks are going to recover and I will basically make close to 100% gains on my initial investment. Don't chase when others are chasing. Most of retail doesn't know wtf they are doing. Keep cash handy for days like this. Never be 100% invested with your entire portfolio and never be invested in a single stock unless you are very very sure based on technicals that you will see a rebound. And don't be scared to hit the buy button on a red day. Trust me, once you see it work you will instantly feel vindicated.
Finally, and most IMPORTANTLY. The risk taking mentality/gambler mentality is CRITICAL to making money. You won't hear this much and it might even be a controversial statement to make but your end goal should be to place a bet on a trade which you know, based on experience, will have a favorable/profitable outcome in the near future. To execute this you need to have the guts and the belief in what you are doing but also very low aversion to risk. I will add again that YOU NEED A LOT OF LUCK and a brazen assurance in your own abilities. These will come with time and you will likely make lots of mistakes along the way. But, if you are patient enough, you will reach that level where you stop second guessing your decisions and that's the day you are on your way to your dream portfolio.
Okay, I could probably write much more and I might edit this again in future but I will stop here for now. I hope you were able to take something from this. I respect your opinions so feel free to disagree with anything, everything I have said. I am just sharing my story and always happy to hear yours too! Good luck folks. I hope you all make boatloads of money and have very happy, enjoyable lives regardless of whether you are motivated by money or not! -Phantas EDIT: Thanks for the comments everyone. I appreciate both the love and the hate. Many of you make excellent points and valid arguments both for and against what I have done. I saw a few posts about how this might be fake. I understand that this is my first post and so it does create some doubt. Video proof below for those who had concerns on the legitimacy of the screenshots. I apologize in advance for the disparity in the numbers. Due to this morning's gains, the portfolio value in the video is significantly higher than when I made this post. https://reddit.com/link/j3fx2video/dteq0s1njpq51/player
Perpetual Debt, Gambling Addict, Big Win, Unbanked.
Hi PersonalFinanceUK, I hope I can get some advice here, long time lurker and using a throwaway to protect my identity for obvious reasons. I'm a gambling addict, I've been gambling for as long as I can remember, it started small but for the last 15 years it's consumed all of my money, from the day I get paid, I pay my bills and i buy myself gift cards for the supermarket so I can survive a month then that same day I either win up to around £15,000 or loose the lot, but by the second week in the month I can promise you all my money will be gone until my next pay day. I earn 60k p/a out of London, I had nothing to my name and I know gambling is bad for me and has destroyed my life until now. Over the year's i've ran up debts, I don't really have a clue how much I owe, looking at my credit files I think around £30,000 many times I've managed to get a basic bank account and get it overdrawn some how to the point that It's useless to me and eventually gets sent to collections then closed. I've been in a position where I can't open up a bank account for the last two years. Up until about 4 months ago I was using Transferwise as my main account but they closed it on me as using an account for solely gambling transactions is against their ToS. Since then I am using a pre-paid card to receive my salary and spending. I've tried approaching banks about getting an account with them and i essentially get a "Computer says No". I have checked I do not have any fraud markers against my name with CiFaS of the other agency which name currently escapes me. I've never been ready to change until the thing happened to me that I always wanted but never expected to happen. I have a cheque from a well known land based casino for more than I could expect to earn for the rest of my life, or even more money that I would have expected to earn in my career. But I'm unbankable. Literally no bank will touch me and I guess I deserve this but I don't know where to go from here. I'm at the point now that I want to turn my life around, I have spoken to my account managers at all the casino's I play at and explained my situation and joined SENSE and GAMSTOP. From this point on I can't gamble anymore, and I'm seeking help for the mental health side of things. I want to pay off my debts and start again property, It's like I have every penny back I ever paid into casino's and then some but I'm unable to touch it. Can anyone point me in the direction on where I can go from here on how I can gain banking facilities again? I assume that there must be a bank that will take the circumstances into account rather than just running the numbers on a screen.
They really should remake The Running Man, and the time is now.
A new Running Man movie that takes its beats from the book will make a great new take on an old fav. I've been meaning to tell a large group of people this since I first read the book The Running Man by Stephen King. Thanks for being a part of that group. The book's story takes place in the dystopian not-too-distant future just like the movie does. The premise is basically the same; man 'runs for his life', or evades being actively hunted, in defiance of overwhelming odds in a game show designed to literally kill him. The odds are stacked against him. Not only does he plan on winning, but he plans on exposing the show itself to the world as the calloused machine it is, feeding off of a coctail of celebrity worship run amok and a gladiatorial thirst for carnage. This is about all the book and the movie have in common. The movie is not a very accurate adaptation. The movie's protagonist Ben Richards (aka Arnold) was 'running' for his freedom from a war crime he did not commit. In the book, Richards was running for money for medicine for his dying daughter. The Running Man game show came to Arnold because he was a military bad ass who they could bribe with his freedom in exchange for ratings. The 'running men' so far weren't cutting it as it turns out, and viewers mean money. So they came to Arnold in an attempt at a 'Look, you scratch our backs, we scratch yours' type deal. In the book though, Richards was an out of work laborer with a child dying from pneumonia. Every raspy breath filled Richards with hate toward the establishment, the system rigged from the start that kept his family in poverty and pollution and his daughter from the medicine she sorely needed just to die comfortably. In the book Ben Richards approached the show; he was a very desperate and shaken man at his wit's end, with no where left to go and nothing to lose. But here's the big, big difference between the book and the movie that would be the angle for an amazing new movie or mini-series: Instead of The Running Man game show taking place in a huge death studio à la American Gladiators, like it did in the movie, The Running Man game show should take place across the entire continental US, just like it does in the book. The book idea was simply this: It's 2025. In a twisted game show called "The Running Man", each contestant or Running Man had 30 days to evade both the "Hunters", a studio paid group of villianous clandestine operatives who's only job is to bracket and kill this week's Running Man, and to also evade literally everyone else watching the show. The Running Man game show paid viewers for verified sightings of an active Running Man. Every day that a Running Man could evade detection meant more money for him, and the final prize was one billion dollars. The real-life sighting of a Running Man when submitted to the studio would get you a cash prize! A sighting that led to the kill of a Running Man meant you got a much, much larger cash prize. Naturally everyone was looking for the contestant, and it was the highest rated television show ever. The standing record for a Running Man in the show's history was eight days. Make a new Running Man but make it beat for beat to the tone of the book (novella? It felt way too short). The 80s movie worked well for the 80s maybe, but after reading the book years ago I was like, what a missed opportunity. The book had action, explosions, heart-wrenching family drama, class warfare, education surpression, more explosions, and lots of revenge. I'm underselling it really; after writing this little rant I've had a moment to reflect on how sickly real and current this science-fiction book feels. I can't imagine with as many eggs as studios have laid over the years that a proper book adaptation of The Running Man wouldn't do well. The 'viewer sightings' angle in the book was included before cell phones were even a thing; how amazing a detail would that be to include, it's so dystopian I can already see it...this week's episode of The Running Man opens with a 'faithful home viewer' livestreaming witnessing a Running Man after several days of running...The cheers and awards going out instantly to the viewer over their cell phone and simultaneously broadcast worldwide live, directly over video proof of the latest Running Man cornered in an alley, the last vestiges of a confident contestant who thought they'd be the one to beat the system only to be this week's gif, crawling away from a barage of bullets from the Hunters, his left arm and the side of his face blown clean off, but he's still firing a gun with his right. One of the Hunters collapses. The alleyway fills with people phones first, hoping to get a verified sighting so they can claim their cash prize. One of the bystanders catches a stray bullet clean through what he's recording on his phone and into his brain pitching him backward into the crowd, the other cell phones keep recording, the crowd closing in... the casino-style sound effects rise with the thumping of gunfire. The Running Man falls, a typically violent end which can be calculated to the second in prize money and TV ratings, and which will all be old news in a few days. We'llberightbackafterthis. Ben Richards turns the TV off, his daughter coughing her lungs out in the next room. He knows he has to do something, now. Richards is running out of time, running out of money, running out of patience. Ben Richards is running...
TLDR; Coca Cola is still 10% below its pre-covid high. It should go even higher. For the 8 of you still reading, I present to you a somewhat neglected stock hurt by Covid that hasn't fully recovered, but also one whose February high of $60 is not a ceiling. Yes, Coca Cola has had a decent run from it's $36 March lows and is even up 12% since October, trading about $54/share as of Friday before pulling back a bit this morning. It's not done yet. Let me provide a few reasons why. To understand where we're going, let's look at where we've been. Here's a 5 year chart. 5 year performance of KO: courtesy of CNBC The stock has been of a bit of a snoozer until it began to awake from its slumber about 2018, which accelerated through 2019 and then Wall Street really started to like it in 2020. It had upward momentum, upset by Covid. This momentum will return, very soon. Catalyst: In Person Dining Why will momentum return? Most importantly, vaccines will return restaurants back to normal operations by summer 2021. The restaurant industry has been in total carnage. Independent restaurants are closing permanently every day, with large chains taking market share. BUT - those that are still operating are living off of Off-Premise consumption. IF people get drinks to go, they get one. No refills. This has depressed an entire major sector of Coke's sales. As restaurants return to normal, they'll have more customers, and existing customers will be consuming more cokes per sale than they are now. That's a double re-open win. Catalyst: Cutting overhead like a mo-fo There's more to this story. Coke has used Covid as an opportunity to cut costs and streamline operations. They've cut employees and overhead expense - more than 1/3 of their North American employees. They've cut a lot of niche product that had overhead burden and marketing/distribution expense but had little revenue, much less profit, like Tab. They're going to come out of this a leaner, more focused company. They may still have an old and sleepy brand image, but they're also a cash printing machine, and they're going to be printing even more tendies to share with us. Catalyst: Falling Dollar But wait! There's more! Coca Cola generates roughly one third of its revenue from North America. That leaves the balance subject to currency fluctuations. With the dollar tanking, those foreign profits are going to be worth even more. Not Priced In Looking at the CNBC.com earnings helps demonstrate that the street has not priced in the recovery, much less the benefits from restructuring and currency. The company itself has not been providing guidance as they have no more visibility than we do how the almost random shutdown/reopen orders will happen. They did, however, warn that Q3 would be hampered by currency exchange rates when the dollar was strengthening, the opposite of what is happening now and projected to continue for a bit. How did Q3 end up when the currency was facing headwinds? They beat the street consensus by 18.8%, and were just one cent per share less than a year ago - when unemployment was at a record low and everything was "normal". Coke's Earnings Trend - CNBC Based on the same CNBC data, the street is projecting that one year from now, after restaurants are fully operational, after the company has completed a worldwide restructuring that will eliminate 1/3 of its North American employees, and after the benefit of a presumed lower dollar, the company will just be earning 3 cents more in Q3 and Q4 2021 than it did in 2019, pre-covid. Again, this would say that reopening their fountain sales division to normal levels is only worth 4 cents per share from this past quarter when much of the country remains shut down. That seems low. Too low. Benchmark: Starbucks What's the upside here? I'm using Starbucks as the benchmark. They're both beverage companies, though Starbucks is clearly more of a direct restaurant play, and more of a pure play on China's reopening - which is far ahead of the US's and the rest of the world's economy. Starbucks One Year Performance - CNBC Starbucks hit a high of about 93 in January, as Covid was already gripping China. It then fell and rebounded to about $90 in February before beginning the March market swoon. On the way back up it kept bouncing into that $90 level (frustrating the hell out of me holding $90 calls) before finally breaking through on the way to all time highs, now at $102, almost 10% above the January highs. Looking at a similar pattern (though KO held on longer before a much quicker descent) I would expect KO to test $60 soon, and probably bounce off a time or two before breaking through. Again, based on prior momentum I would expect once it clears $60 it should easily run up another 10%. The market will quickly recognize when they reopen they're going to have more operating leverage than when the shutdown began, and they're going to start seeing currency gains as soon as this quarter. Benchmark: Pepsi Pepsi is probably viewed as Coke's more direct competitor. Coke had been outperforming them over the last 3 years until the Covid dip. Pepsi, more diversified because of its snack businesses, was the better stay at home play. Coke has a decent catch up trade remaining. 3 year performance Coke vs Pepsi: Barchart.com Strategy: Sugar water doesn't get stock analysts excited any more than WSB casino patrons. For that reason, I would not be looking at any FD's. This one needs some longer dated options. I want to get past the next earnings on 1/28 for evidence of the currency lift to begin to show, but the country will likely still be in winter Covid shutdown mode so I'm not sure we'll get guidance then based on restaurant openings. I'm also feeling like mid-January/February could be a bit rough after a lights-out November and a presumed Santa Claus rally at month's end. Keep some powder dry to buy this on dips. I am. I'm thinking there's a three-prong approach here. For the first taste, February 55 calls. Relatively low risk (only slightly OTM), gets us a few weeks past the next earnings date when we should at least see a currency boost, but also captures any run up as the market starts to figure out there's still reopening meat left here to take off the bone. I'm going to put the heart of the play into June 60 calls. The country should be mostly vaccinated, restaurants should be back to near normal. Hopefully this will be telegraphed by the April earnings call. If this gets priced in sooner...Vega is your friend. For a stretch, going to throw the balance of the play into leaps for Jan 2022 65's. I'm starting this position with $5K. Because I expect a decent dip sometime Jan/Feb, will hopefully have some dry powder on the sideline to increase these positions if I've been too early on this move. But as we've seen with many of the reopening plays, when the market decides it's time, I don't want to be late....or any later than I already am. Positions: Purchased this morning at open: Act fast and you can get in cheaper than me!
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