I have returned!
I can tell you that I certainly had a few panic moments thinking that the wife and I would not be able to get back into the US if a full blown swine flu scare occurred. Luckily things seem to have calmed down and we had no issues.
This trip was my first flight with Jet Blue Airlines and I have to say that outfit has it all put together. Great ticket service, no issues with baggage transfers, and a bunch of cable TV channels to watch to boot! I will try and fly that airline from now on. I have no position in the stock, but I highly recommend the airline.
I am a bit scatter brained tonight trying to get adjusted back to reality. I will have story about vacation tonight and some commentary, but it may take a few days to get back into full analysis mode.
World Recession Hitting Casino's Hard?
My vacation went very well. Great weather and plenty of down time. The only activity we had scheduled was a night at the casino, the Crystal Palace in Nassau. That went very strange indeed.
First off, there used to be a free shuttle to the casino from the resort. That service was cancelled. When we arrived at the casino, I could not find the poker tables, so I asked the floor manager about it. He said they got rid of the tables because they were not getting enough players to make money. Tough environment.
They did offer a "Texas Hold EM" table game where you play your cards only against the dealer heads up, though up to five players can sit. I played this game two years ago at the same casino and doubled my money in an hour. Heads up poker is pretty simple and in the game as structured it is easy to manage you bets to gain an advantage.
I sat down at around 9pm and bought $150 worth of chips. By 10pm I was up to $300 and my my stopped by to see how things were going. At about 11pm I was looking at around $450 in chips and this is where things get a bit weird.
The dealer started to look at whatever two hole cards I had after every hand. She then called over the floor manager and had her look at about 10 sets of my cards after the hands were over. At this point I was over $500 in chips. I was then informed that I would have to wipe my hands with provided tissues before touching my cards. I am serious, they brought out a box of tissues and I had to wipe my hands!
At around $600 the simple wiping of my hands was not enough, so I was asked to not pick up my beverage and still wipe my hands! I asked why the other players at the table did not have to do such a thing and was informed it was "casino policy" or something. Not content with that step, I noticed 3 big security looking type guards stand behind the playing table and on both sides of the play area. At this point I was pretty aggravated.
To be a pain I kept my hands up in the air above the table, and proceeded to fold back about $100 in chips to the casino. I then took the remaining chips and cashed out.
Folks, we are talking about $400 here, not thousands of dollars. If this casino is so bad off that they have to strong arm a $400 winner, times must be tough indeed. Never mind that even if I could mark the cards, marked cards would have ZERO advantage due to the way poker is played anyway.
I was extremely angry about the treatment I received and will never go to that casino again. What a joke.
Fixed Casino that is the Stock Market
I am still trying to get a feel for things and thus I would only offer my observations on the current market from a rested viewpoint.
It seems that stocks are broadly rallying with any and all names going up regardless of news. Take a look at just about any stock and the 6 week charts are almost identical. There is no rhyme or reason for any of the action.
It seems to me, after some away time to think about things, that there is now a new found confidence. This confidence is based on two assumptions:
- The US government will put the taxpayers at any risk at any amount it has to to ensure a market recovery
- By inference, no major market losses will have to be assumed by investors, especially banks
We could argue whether this is sustainable or whether it is even a good thing, but the argument does not matter right now. Players think they cannot lose at the market casino because the FED/Treasury will cover their losses anyway.
This has reignited a speculative nature to the markets, and this was the goal of every policy in use by the government.
I will try to expand this line of thought another time. The take away point is that market players are doing their part to present a picture of recovery. The government will now be in an impossible position where the backstops and guarantees have to keep coming or else the "free roll" will stop on a dime.
Nobody will play right now unless they feel they cannot lose. Sadly the current economic policy is to make sure nobody thinks they can lose. As we all know, somebody HAS to lose.
Have a good night.