Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Stud viewing

I was quite pleased to see ESPN would be showing a Stud event on TV last night. I rather watch Omaha, Razz, or Stud just about any day over Hold Em. It is a different level of viewing, one that forces you to think more of how they are playing and not how they are acting.

I think the main reason might be the people who play these games. They rarely jump around like asshats after winning a big pot, or they don't trash talk people, call them donkeys if they lose. They stay quiet, observe, and process all the information they receiving.

I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that was boring. For me, it was good TV. Watching some top players in action is a good learning experience. I kept looking at the cards and thinking about how I would play them out. What hands I would start with, when I would stop betting, etc. There were two good laydowns- how can you fold aces up? Amazing laydown. It was also nice to see some of these guys make the same kind of mistakes that I have made.

For me, it was a great hour of poker television.

Yesterday I popped over to a post on Amy Calistreri's site, mainly because she was comparing the UIGEA to activities of hedge funds. WHAT??? I had to read it a couple times to try and see the parallel. Apparently hedge are in the "family harm" department. Somehow, they destroy families left and right. Not sure how because Amy doesn't say so.

Let's look further. Amy would like you to think that hedge funds blow up on a monthly basis. Not true. Sure Bear Stearns had one making the news lately but name another one before that. Last year. What effect did it have on the markets? Little.

Who bailed them out? Not the Fed but other investment advisers which is why I wonder why she was making the comparison to something that happened just about 10 years ago. Most people learn their lessons and know who to react.

Another thing that caught my eye was the comment
"In fact the Federal Reserve, while acknowledging that people were maxing
out on credit card debt, encouraged consumers to consider riskier non-fixed rate mortgages. "
I went through the link and couldn't find anything that "encouraged" non-fixed rate mortgages. I found this:
Indeed, recent research within the Federal Reserve suggests that many homeowners might have saved tens of thousands of dollars had they held adjustable-rate mortgages rather than fixed-rate mortgages during the past decade, though this would not have been the case, of course, had interest rates trended sharply


American consumers might benefit if lenders provided greater mortgage product
alternatives to the traditional fixed-rate mortgage. To the degree that
households are driven by fears of payment shocks but are willing to manage their
own interest rate risks, the traditional fixed-rate mortgage may be an expensive
method of financing a home.

I wouldn't call that "encouraging" people to try other types of mortgages. Just some explanation of how people may be better off looking at non-fixed mortgages and how they would have benefited in the early 00's if they had.

The comparison of these hedge fund managers to poker bots was interesting. However, hedge fund managers are not the best. I am sure there are many mutual fund managers who would argue with that comment.

They do not beat market indices on a regular basis as some may think. They were introduced to be part of a portfolio to protect against downward movements in the market. Hence the name. Sure they can be leveraged to the gills and they make some big bets but not all hedge funds are the same. Not all have rogue traders taking huge positions. Some actually manage the money responsibly.

Unfortunately, when a hedge fund runs into trouble, it will need to liquidate part of its portfolio which can cause rumbling in the stock market. To blame the recent market turmoil on hedge fund activities is not accurate. They may add volatility but when everyone begins the panic selling, the market is going to go down. Indices were at record highs. With all this action, the market is down about 7%. That is barely a correction. Barley an impact on families in the long run. Over the past year, most people are still head even after that correction.

I guess the bottom line for Amy is that hedge funds need to be regulated and until they are, they will be killing the little guy. Well, yes and no. They do need some regulation but they are not killing the little guy. Only people with money can invest in hedge funds. You need to have minimum net worth requirements to participate. Those who have the money invested lose the most. The little guy may- MAY- feel the aftershocks in the market place when they lose money. But the little guy can also take advantage of the situation and buy their favorite stocks at sale prices.

Years from now, this blip in the market will be history.

For the record, I am not here to defend hedge funds nor the Federal Reserve. I just thought that post was off center and not totally accurate. One cannot understand what a hedge fund does but reading wikipedia or any article that wants to blame rich people for making the little guy poor.


lj said...

interesting post. to me hedge funds as so out of the realm of the little guy that i never thought about the "aftershock" aspect. i think (based on not very much actual knowledge) that i agree with you that they are not "killing" the little guy. besides, who needs hedge funds to kill the middle class when we have the bush administration and the amt? :)

Chilly said...

"They rarely jump around like asshats after winning a big pot, or they don't trash talk people, call them donkeys if they lose."

Watch Poker by the Book II. It was on last night. Esfandiari does just as you describe you can see the seething behind Barry's eyes.

Then justice is served.