MONEY: Polish Ponzi hurts; a lesson for the USA and the Federal Reserve System “dollar”

Aaaand It’s Gone: This Is Why You Always Demand Physical
Tyler Durden’s picture
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/14/2012 21:09 -0400

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We have said it over and over, we’ll say it again. For all those who for one reason or another would like to boycott the broken markets, yet trade gold in paper form, please understand that all the invested capital is at risk of total loss and can and will be lost, commingled and rehypothecated, not necessarily in that order, with little to zero recourse and the residual claim on liquidating assets pushed to the very end of the queue. Because if Lehman, MF Global, Peregrine, and countless other examples were not enough, here comes Amber Gold: a gold-based investment ponzi scheme out of Poland, in which it is likely needless to say that the gullible investors never had actual possession of the gold. And when they tried, it was gone. All gone.

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Why do you trust that someone else is watching your assets?


Ponzi is the meme.

Social Security Insurance, fiat paper money that channels John Law, and any promise made by politicians and bureaucrats!


Nah, realist.

Save your nickels!

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GAMBLING: Learning from an IPAD slot machine game

In gambling, there are some essential decisions — the game, the strategy, and how much you can afford to lose.

The games are pretty straight forward. Even the stuff that’s hidden, like the pay tables, are eventually “sense-able”. (You develop a feel for what they are. Even, in some case, when they change. See my post on the “battleship” game; now gone.)

In killing time with this IPAD slot machine game, i “learned” that you have to have a money management strategy.

Using the standard initial stake, it is possible to go broke in few spins. It’s also possible to score big.

BUTT (there’s always a big but) if you have no “stop point”, you’ll always “give it all back”.

Then, in real life, you have “buyer’s remorse”. In the IPAD game, you just have a data point.

I think the operative tactic is to have a “stop point”.

Like the Sultan’s Dowery, how do you know when to take the offer?

I think my new strategy will mimic a strategy I’ve seen the old lady’s use. After a big win, they will take the ticket and start with a fresh stake.

It’s the equivalent of moving your stop point up to the high water mark minus your original stake. That way, you never “give back” more than your original stake.


p.s., I know understand WHY the old ladies take the ticket and put in a new stake. It’s a form of discipline!

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GAMBLING: Borgata changes its comp formula

After a recent trip to Borgata in AC, my wife earned no comp dollars. That was strange. She played her “mystery slot dollars”, “bonus slot dollars”, and “slot dollars”. Actually turned out she actually made some money. She originally thought there was something wrong with her card.

By an experiment, we demonstrated that there was nothing wrong with her card.

Just that you NOW only get comps on what you play through their machines. And, it appears to be on a greatly reduced basis.

I’m going to try and quantify just how far they have “dialed” it back.


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FUN: Playing video poker in SSH for fun and “points”

OK, it’s dumb. Spending real money to “win” points redeemable for over-priced prizes. That being said, Frau and I compete. Loser buys lunch. And when the “kids”, some of whom are actually children, everyone can get a “prize”. Which makes Frau happier than the “kid”. And, since I want Frau happy, I burn a few brain cells to win points. Free lunch ain’t bad either as a motivator.

SO it’s five card draw poker with five wild cards.

Here’s the Paytable in “points”

Natural Royal 800
Five of Kind 500
Wild Royal 300
St Flush 150
Four of Kind 75
Full House 40
Flush 20
Straight 8
Trips spin a dumb wheel
Two pair 5
9’s or better 4

Spinner has values: 3 – 500 – 5 – 50 – 250 – 4 – 25 – 100 – 1000 – 10 – 5000 – 15

Today’s sample spinner results:

3 1
4 6
5 1
10 2
15 2
25 1
50 1
100 0
250 0
500 0
1000 0
5000 0

Hard to calculate the EV of the wheel but here’s a guess 157/14 = 11 points per spin

Need a poker probability table for 14 card suits a-2-…t-j-q-k-w

Need a strategy for the discard.

Have to beat Frau for the free lunch.



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Note: One has to consider the first ten cards of a random deck of 56 cards.


Anyone have fifty six fingers?

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13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1 13c1

13c1 ** 10

1 out of 56 = 0.0178571…

(56)**10 possible combinations to consider


Thinking about it. Five card poker with 4 wild cards and a draw. It’s only about the ten cards. There’s a decision. By enumeration.

56*55*54*53*52 == 51*50*49*48*47

56*55= 3 080
*54= 166 320
*53= 8 814 960
*52= 458 377 920

Clearly beyond enumeration. Outsource to India.

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GAMBLING: Becoming the Zen Master of Panny Slots, Schadenfreude, or just dumb luck

Yesterday, I played better on a Penny. Following some of my new Zen of Penny Slots, I had an interesting experience.

A lady sat down to play next to me. She was very concerned with how I was doing. I was playing max bet max lines on a low progressive slot. Buck and a half a spin. And, was doing pretty good.

I was trying to be the Penny Zen Master and not get caught up in the “feeding frenzy” of push push push the button as fast as you can. After all I had two hours to kill and the Mac Book Air only runs for an hour on the battery. (That’s why I don’t recommend it and if I had known that I would not have bought it.) So so I was following my “timing the machine” strategy. (Three deep breaths between pushes. Being mindful of “speed kills your wallet”. Letting it count out all pay offs. “Respect the machine”. Calculate the eventually total of what ever I’d win with what I had. Setting stop limits. Being calm. Being in the moment. Being mindful)

So this lady goes to sit next to me. She bumps me hard. Puts her hand on my back to steady herself. (A real no no. Don’t touch me!) Mumbles something. Starts playing with a voucher from another machine. I could not help but notice she started with 80$. But, I was in the moment with “my own” machine. I was hitting a lot of small stuff.

And I noticed she was very interested in how I was doing. That usually is a giant turn off for me. I am, correct that — was, superstitious and had believed it brings you bad luck. Like an evil eye. Completely irrational I know. But that’s, — correct that — was, my feeling. Conflicts with my new belief — Zen of Penny Slots – Point #10 – It’s a random number generator — and I’m trying to master my emotions at the slots.

Any way, I’m not doing badly. I played off my “free” money and put in my planned C-note stake. Two spins later, I hit the free spins.

Usually I would avoid this kind of game since you have to pick in a “concentration” style bonus game. I am usually a terrible picker. So I used my “randomizing technique” of taking the top bill in my wad and using the digits on it to pick. (Hey, the casino has a random number generator; why can’t I? I probably should print a card of random digits from 0 to 9 at home. I’m not sure those bill digits are that random.) In this case it was my innermost twenty. Good old Andy Jackson. So I plunk out the numbers and sure enough I get top number of spins and top multiplier with a wild card for five additional spins. Now this machine is imho notoriously stingy in the bonus round. But I am the aspiring Zen Master of Penny Slots. And it’s just a random number generator. Any way, bout half way through my free spins, it hits big. 70$ or so.

And, the lady next to me is going nuts. She stops playing and starts watching me.

When I notice this, my machine stops hitting and the bonus round ends. Up about 90$. Normally I’d be pissed and move on. But not the new ZMoPS. I just calmly sit there as it pays off. She says to me: “How did you get so much?” DUH. Now usually I’d be all in a snit. Say something real nasty, but I’m now the new ZMoPS. So I reply: “Just dumb luck. Besides you shouldn’t be too concerned with what I win. You need to win.”

She obviously didn’t like that answer.

So she resumed playing and watching. Her husband sits down and she laments on her fate of a “bad machine”. And, tells him I keep winning and winning. With a thick Russian accent. She starts playing again. Stupidly imho. She’s tells hubby: that she’s varying her stake to bring out the luck. In a loud voice for everyone and presumably the machine or “god of the machines to hear”. I feel like yelling at her: “No, Grasshopper, that leads to the dark side.” I really do wish her the best. Don’t you know she hits the bonus, picks max spins, with max multiplier, with 5 extra, … … with a minimum 30¢ bet.


She goes nuts. Meantime, she focuses back on me. I’m still waiting for it to count out my win. But she doesn’t know that so she thinks I’ve hit again. Starts muttering under her breath and yelling at the husband. To which he says: “Lets go eat.” She says something. He walks away. She’s going nuts.

Any way I continue to play with a new stop point set of 150$. I hit some more. Get the bonus a few times. Use different bills. Nothing big. My stop keeps edging up to to two hundred. She goes nuts, eventually puts more money in, and finally busts out down about 300$ by my eye.

So naturally, without her to distract the “god of the machines” giving her bad luck, that fellow turns his attention on me. I start bouncing in and around the 210 to 225 range. At 230, my stop would move to 210. Without her to draw away the bad luck, I’m fated. Can’t seem to get up to 230. Eventually the machine “turns cold” and I hit just under 200$. 199.12.

And like the ZMoPS I am, I cash out.

Thanking the Universe for a nice hour and ten minutes of fun. It was “fun”. Go to the cage and throw in 88 cents and get two nice c-notes for my trouble.

Split with the old lady. Played a long time on her card for comps. And I can come another day.

I didn’t ever indulge in schadenfreude at my “companion’s” loss. But it did teach me that I’m on the right path to control my losses at the casino. Now if I can just find another loser to distract the “god of the machines” and draw away the bad luck.

Just kidding.

It really is just a random number generator. You can’t anthropomorphize it.

Or can you?


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GAMBLING: “Wheels” are not equally probably


Wheels are an inherently an “unfair gambling practice”.

You see the Big Wheel and you know that all the values are equally probable. The promise meets reality.

However on the Wheel of Fortune, and all the other slots where that’s a bonus, it’s not true.

The implication is that the results are all equally possible outcomes and they are not.

That’s deceptive.

And, should not be allowed or patronized.


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GAMBLING: The Zen of Penny Slots

The Zen of Penny Slots

① You can lose lots of “real money” at Penny Slots; the casinos have them for a reason. (Don’t fail to underestimate just how much you can lose “chasing rainbows”!)

② “Money management” is essential to winning. (Machine limits, session limits, day limits, trip limits) It’s not “winning” unless you take “their” money; that’s management!

③ Any currency that you put in a machine is at risk; includes green backs or the paper take out amounts. (If it’s in YOUR wallet, then it is NOT in the casino’s till!)

④ For your bankroll, think about how many plays you want; then decide how much to play. Decide what you will risk and lose it. When in a hole, STOP DIGGING!

⑤ Play the first half of your machine stake with as big a bet as you can stand. (That comes from the “jump in your grave” strategy.)

⑥ Play the second half of your machine stake with an eye to staying around for the big hit. (That comes from “you have to be in it to win it.”)

⑦ When you hit the “big jackpot” or have seen all the bonus games, leave with what you got. That machine session is over. (That comes from how rare the big payoffs are.)

⑧ Never, ever, put more currency into a machine. The big payoff is NOT just round the corner. “Just another twenty and it will hit” is a logical fallacy and a wallet buster!

⑨ Never, ever, drink when gambling. (There’s a reason that casinos give out free booze to players.) Don’t gamble when you are tired or upset either. It’s supposed to be fun; not therapy.

⑩ Remember your vocabulary. It’s gambling; not investing. It’s a random number generator. There are NO patterns. Despite what you brain, heart, or other body parts tell you. Don’t be stubborn. (A big win is great; a big loss ain’t! Better a small gain taken quickly, smartly, and spritely. Even a small loss can be the best you can accomplish.)

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INTERESTING: “Deal or No Deal” strategy

Did you ever see “Deal or No Deal”?

As an IT Architecture / BPR kinda guy, I think you have to have a strategy to get through the game. (Hey, I play penny slots too. No genius here.)

The only way to get a MILLION is to have two MILLION cases at the end.

Strategy is critical to escape with a prize.

I think that can apply some elementary statistics or probability theory.

You can predict the “banker’s offer” approximately and that leads you to a process to play.

It seems to me that you can compare the offer based on picking a low or high case. Then you make the decision from that.

Suppose, for example, at any point in the game, the distribution of cases can tell you what to do relative to the offer.

The offer is “fair” if EV = ∑ (p sub i * V sub i) is equal to the Banker’s Offer.

When receiving the Banker’s Offer, one can calculate the EV (ALL) of the current set of cases, the EV (HIGH) dropping the highest case, and the EV (LOW) dropping the lowest case. In a truly random game, you can calculate the potential loss EV (LOW) – EV (ALL) . And the potential gain EV (HIGH) – EV (ALL).

The offer can then be subject to the same test.

IF there is only ONE high value, the OFFER is usually cut in half.

By comparing the potential gain versus the potential loss, that determines if the contestant should take the offer or not.

You can’t pick cases, (although 26 seems to have a MILLION more than probability would dictate), but you can have a money management strategy.

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GAMBLING: An interesting problem

Penney’s Game
6 March 2010
By Donald Catlin

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Every now and then in this column I like to look at so-called proposition bets (for example see my archived article An Earful of Cider that appeared in December of 1999). These are wagers that sound like either a sure thing, or at worst a fair bet, and are anything but. A dandy example of this is Penney’s Game named after its inventor Walter Penney (Journal of Recreational Mathematics, October 1969, p. 241). I wish to thank my friend The Midnight Skulker for bringing this game to my attention.

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I don’t know how this applies to gambling in that I don’t know where you can get such a bet in a casino.

That being said, the article’s findings (i.e., Player B has an advantage) were surprising.

Given that playing slots is like being Player B (I.e., the Casino is Player A and sets the terms of the wager), I’d like an advantage.

Last time I heard of a player getting an advantage was when the Canadian casino kept turning off the Keno machine allowing the same results to come day after day. Wonder if that smart fellow, who won a lot of money, was allowed to keep his “winnings”. (Hope so!)

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GAMBLING: Hot and cold slots?

> Hot and cold slots?

No, it’s that human perception thing getting in the way of reality. imho! Like the folks who say the face of the devil in the WTC 9/11 smoke. Humans are wired to perceive that saber tooth in the saw grass. So we see them everywhere. BUT, there’s always a big BUTT, in a random string, there are “sequences: heads, tails, heads, heads, tails. SO you can get a sequence of “winners” of unknown length. Like the gal who held the dice for four and half hours at the Borgata. I think the trick is to have a strategy that allows you to “ride the wave” and not lose your shirt when it collapses.

Most profitable string I ever had was in Vegas when they introduced the “loyalty coupons” on the dollar machines. the predecessor of the Players Club cards. When you played the dollar machines, it would count down to zero from 20 and spit out a coupon. Coupon could be redeemed for junk. My theory was that a player would not leave a machine with a low count on the coupon device unless they went broke. Thus the machine was more likely to hit than not. Remember my theory of sequences. So it had been “lose, lose, lose, lose, … lose, lose”. Time for a “win”? At each conference session at the Riveara, I run out get two rolls of dollars and play. Several times I’d have to call the old lady down to wait for a hand pay. We hit so many; she was coming down on the conferences scheduled breaks. Sigh! Made a few thousand and got all sorts of junk for kids. Scheduled another trip back about a month later, but they had changed the system. Argh!

Remember the guy who figured out that the new Niagara Falls casino was unplugging the keno machine at night and it was calling the same numbers every day.

You have to READ the tea leaves and find the blunders. Like the poker strategy, black jack strategy.


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GAMBLING: AC doomed?

>AC doomed?

No doubt they will be hurt on the margin. (Lose some traffic and some dollars to all this competition.) I wouldn’t say doomed unless the NJ politicians renege and allow gambling in the Meadowlands. AC’s advantage is in the pack of casinos they have. That forces competition which is good for the players. Delaware Racinos, Indian casinos, and single stand alone ones suck on their pay tables. Players instinctively learn it. And, migrate to where they get the best deal. couldn’t be surprised if a few weaker AC casinos go bust. Would expect any new ones. But, “doomed”? Nah, imho.

Of course, I wouldn’t want to bet my future on the trustworthiness of any politician!

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GAMBLING: Expanding casinos will lead to Chapter 11 all around

— On Tue, 2/2/10, Casino City Times News Desk <> wrote:

From: Casino City Times News Desk <>
Subject: Casino City Times: Delaware approves table games for racetrack casinos

On Feb 2, 2010, at 8:42 AM, Luddite wrote:

Nice slot strategy, and table games at Delaware Park and Dover? Cool. LV continues to suffer over years from not being the only place to gamble…still has the magic though.

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I think imho that they (the politicians) are going to kill their own “golden goose”. “Gambling” doesn’t help build the mindset of a vigorous energetic people building “wealth”. I have read some stuff that it impoverishes the bottom strata and extracts net 15% from the local economy. In addition, all the venues makes it less “special” and divides the pie in to infinitesimally small slices that can’t support economic activity. Thus, their “slice” wanes over time. imho!

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MONEY: Might be a good answer to the wrong problem!

Nothing against discount brokerages, but may I suggest that it might be the “right answer to the wrong problem”. I was always enamored of the metaphor of “leaning your ladder against the wrong wall”. Recently, after many years of meandering and sometimes successful trading (i.e., went all in on a stock that tripled), I’ve decided that, like medicine, sometimes one can be too smart for one’s own good. I hired what I’ll describe as “an institutional portfolio manager”. (Yeah, have to a 500k$ portfolio to get into that game!) But, I’ve concluded that the “casino” (aka Wall Street) is no place for the DIY crowd like I once was. The electronic trading, the specialists, the “financial consultants”, mutual fund’s crass graft, and all the other machinations have taken the “game” to a new level. The globalization of finance has convinced me that the dollar is on a fast road to perdition. Even gold coins now carry a hefty 12% markup over spot. SO there is no “good” investment for the little guys. Even at cheap transaction fee!

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GAMBLING: Roulette is fixed

A Primer on Roulette: Why Are You Playing This Game?
by Brett & Kate McKay on July 17, 2009

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I am going to explain to you how the game is played, and explain why you can’t win. And if you have any sense, you will never play.

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Wife does pretty good being a lucky guesser; I, on the other hand, never play.
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GAMBLING: State of NJ takes your old uncashed tickets?

There as been a silent money grab in AC by Corzine. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but there was a sign at the Borgata about a new law on casino tickets. I didn’t really read it or really understand it, but they now have new tickets from the slot machines with a blue edge. As I understand it, uncashed tickets that are year old are no longer cashable. I can guess who gets the money. Heard about it. Those tickets are usually for pennies I’d guess. Take a ticket with pennies on it to say a quarter machine and it spits out a ticket for the pennies. People usually leave them in the tray when they go bust. It’s not even profitable for the homeless to collect them. But nothing’s beneath the politicians.

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GAMBLING: One way to cheat at roulette

Feds Bust Ring of Alleged Casino Cheaters By Kevin Poulsen February 11, 2009 | 6:36:30 PM

Federal prosecutors in Tacoma, Washington are charging four alleged members of a cheating ring that hit roulette tables at three Indian casinos before being arrested last November.

The men are accused of pulling a simple scam that takes advantage of the variably-colored “non-value chips” issued at roulette tables to identify different gamers’ bets. Every player at the table is assigned one of eight colors. The chips have a default value of $1 each, but a high roller who wants to bet more on each spin can ask the croupier to count his chips at a higher value, such as $25.

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Here’s one way to win at roulette. One wonders at what level of theft it could be detected? Could it be done on a “retail” level?

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POLITICAL: Unwinding the Social Security Ponzi scheme

Friday, January 9, 2009

Entitlements Part 1.5- Social Security

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This brought up enough discussion that some things deserve to be addressed in a venue more public then the comments section. I will address as much as I can in no particular order. Here it goes.

First of all I did not mean anything seriously bad to the older folks who read the blog or your peer group. I poked some fun but it is just that, fun. I take a few friendly shots at just about everyone given the right setting. I am enough of am asshole that if I wanted to say something really mean I would.

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The most interesting idea that came out of the comments was what happened in Chile with their SS plan in the 1970’s. If you are as familiar with that as I was three hours ago then read this. I think that is sort of idea is probably the best chance of making our system viable but I still have the same big question/ concern I had about going to a privatized system before reading that article.

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Guess who made that comment? It is a good discussion about the Social Security Ponzi scheme and how to plan around it. No need to rehash it here or repeat my comments. You can read them over there.

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GAMBLING: Playing in a ‘tight’ Indian casino

During our recent traipse around the countryside (NJ – Hickory – Jax – Cherokee – NJ), we happend to linger at an Indian Casino. I can attest that the ‘house’ was the only one that one in this visit. White men got scalped! Hence, I am revising my thinking about how to play in these.

We did well when we played big in the extremes of denomination (i.e., penny and dollar); in the middle (i.e., nickels and quarters) we had very little winnings.

On Poker, (my initial foray with my hand-written cheat sheet form the inet) I KNOW that you are supposed to hold “a low pair” as the about the sixth place on the list. In my play, I NEVER improved on a low pair. I played a lot of hands. I should have kept a stroke count, but I KNOW I never drew out to trips, two pair, or four. NEVER! I don’t know what the stats are, but NEVER! ZERO, nada, zilch. Either I was the unluckiest bettor known to man. Or those machines were rigged.

I did note that the pay tables on some of the slots were biased against the player (Three red sevens play the same as three any sevens.) And why can’t one take pictures in a casino?

Afraid some one might gather evidence?

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