Personal Finance 
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Playing Credit Card Roulette

Credit Card RouletteLove to gamble but don’t live close to a casino? Why not give credit card roulette a shot? Here’s a game that you can play anytime you go out, as long as you have a few other gamblers with you, and it’s probably high stakes enough for you to satisfy that craving without costing you too much money.

The last time I played this game was at Ra Sushi in Las Vegas (great happy hour prices by the way, $1 saki is unbeatable). We had a party of at least fifteen people (we’re talking a bill that was easily north of $600, that’s with happy hour prices!) with almost everyone buying out, leaving only four of us left. One participant decided to buy in two spots (take the money and put in more cards) and give himself a 50% chance of paying the entire bill. I was sweating bullets as the waitress removed the cards, fortunately mine was the second one removed. Not all the gambling happens at the casino. :)

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 Credit 
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5% Cashback on Gambling Winnings Credit Card

I used to play a lot of blackjack and poker online back in college, before the Port Security Bill in 2006 made it illegal for banks to conduct business with known casino sites, and made some decent cash too. Back then, and even today, casinos would give you 100% matching bonuses on your deposit as long as you put into play six times the bonus amount (nowadays it’s like 20 times). I would put in a hundred bucks, get a hundred bucks, put into play six hundred bucks and walk away with, on average, two or three hundred dollars of profit. I had a spreadsheet and everything, if I only I also had the First Ausus Chance Card from First Ausus Bank, a bank headquartered in Bermuda.

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 Investing 
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Gambling Is Entertainment, Stock Market Investing Is Not!

Paris: Las VegasI’m a fan of the casinos. I don’t know whether its the pumped in oxygen, the bright lights, the sounds of excitement and joy, or the free drinks flowing throughout… but I love going to casinos. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but I almost always have a good time putting my hard earned money on a felt table and seeing if it’ll grow and multiply. When I go to casinos, I usually bring a set amount I’m willing to lose, say a few hundred bucks, and then I enjoy myself. I understand that when I go to a casino, I’m there to have a good time; I’m not there to make money.

Sadly, the stock market is nothing like that. It’s pressing a few keys on your keyboard or clicking a few buttons with your mouse. The transactions happen with no fanfare, there is often little anticipation, yet if you try to time the market or day-trade… you’re essentially gambling. Why would anyone gamble if you can’t at least get some free drinks out of it?

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 Personal Finance 
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7 Personal Finance Lessons from the Poker Table

I’ve been watching ESPN’s broadcast of this year’s World Series of Poker and I see a lot of parallels between the world of personal finance and the world of Poker. I started playing Texas Hold ‘Em back in college as a way to kill time, earn some spending money, and blow off some steam after hard nights studying (not so much the last one). I would never consider myself really good at the game but I played a style that was probably more conservative than most (tight aggressive is what they’d call it), which probably mirrors my personal finance life strategy. From the poker table I drew a lot of analogies that I think translate quite well to real life and so I’ll give a cut at trying to make the analogy stick.

Lesson 1: Have Patience

In poker, hand selection is paramount. While any two cards can win, some cards give you a better chance at winning than others. What this means at the poker table is that you’ll have to fold a vast majority of your hands and wait for the right spots for you to put your money in the pot. What does this mean in life? It means that patience is a virtue and one must have an abundance of it in order to succeed. Whether it’s investing, employment, or some other facet of life, be sure that when you make your move you have the best of it. If the stock market is sizzling hot, like it has been the last few weeks because of the last Fed meeting and the upcoming Fed meeting, fully analyze the situation before jumping in. A 2-7 might win the post but it’s better to wait for a better hand.

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 Personal Finance 
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Participating In Office Gambling Pools

With the first week of pre-season games this weekend, folks are already preparing for their drafts for many fantasy football leagues. I never became an avid follower of any sport other than professional basketball when I was a kid but after going to school in Pittsburgh, I couldn’t help but become a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and a football fan after five years there. Every year, a bunch of friends and I have had a 100% for fun, fantasy football league (well, absolute loser bought absolute winner a case of decent beer, but everyone else did it for kicks) and this year we’re graduating to straight up $20 buy-in, first place takes 80%, second takes 20%. What we found was that after week 2, the only person who cared about the league was that jerk in first who had Peyton Manning and he couldn’t stop talking about it despite no one else really caring. When you don’t have a horse in the race, you don’t really care about the race. You really don’t care if you don’t even have money on your horse.

Despite what some of my friends might say, I’m not that big on gambling. I like putting small wagers, like $20 for a fantasy football league, playing some poker for $20 buy-in, or throwing $20 into a slot machine; but I honestly don’t really like gambling all that much. I wouldn’t ever do something like put a thousand (or even a hundred) dollars on red because the thought of losing a grand sucks so much more compared to the thought of winning a thousand dollars, to be perfectly honest with you. And it’s not that $20 isn’t that much money, it certainly is, but I’d like to get a little bit more than a spin of the roulette wheel… $20 gets me, hopefully, 17+ weeks of entertainment.

Oh, by the way, for those folks out there who are loathe to put money in a fantasy football or other sports league because you don’t “understand” it, I think you’re more of a degenerate gambler when you put money on when a baby is born. You can’t tell me you “understand” that better. :)

How about you? Do you participate in office gambling pools? What kinds and for how much? I’m really curious what other types of pools are out there and what people’s thoughts are about them and micro-stakes grassroots gambling in general.


 Credit 
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Money Abstraction Techniques: Credit Cards & Casino Chips

The easiest way to get someone to spend money is to trick them into thinking they’re not spending money. Ask anyone who has a huge credit card balance (and has since reformed his or her way) and nine times out of ten you’ll hear about how when they spent it on their plastic and how it didn’t even feel like they were spending money in the first place. Ask anyone who has gambled away a few bucks without even realizing it and you’ll see that it’s simply more money abstraction techniques at work. Casino chips don’t feel like money, they don’t smell like money, they don’t look like money and when you “spend” them – it doesn’t feel like you’re even spending money. That’s the trick and here’s how to combat this.

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 General 
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Nev’s Scratch Off Lotto Exploits

Neville’s a fellow personal finance blog writer who’s accumulated a little bit of scratch and decided to “invest” it in a hundred $1 scratch off lotto tickets. He fully realizes that he’s gambling and it sounds like he’s willing to share the fun of his “investment” with his readers. Watch the progression of his thoughts from first considering alternative investing to considering the odds of the endeavor to full blown acceptance of his place.

I suggested he do it “live” (in the comments) and it sounds like he’ll do it. It should be fun for all of us living vicariously. Maybe I’ll do it too… the idea is viral!


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