Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vegas Return

I am back from Vegas. To avoid a mountain of emails I will give a quick recap. There were 8 guys who went. No occasion, just to go. We stayed in the Venetian but mostly gambled in the Mirage and the Bellagio. I am not much of a gambler but 5 of the 8 on the trip were hard core. I ended up winning 325 in hold em and losing 250 in black jack for a net win of 75. I was the only person on the trip to come home positive. One friend lost 1600 and another lost 2500. I would have rather gone out to shows or dancing but as mentioned the group was made up of gamblers.

My first trip to Vegas I did not like at all but have come to enjoy it from almost a case study perspective. The psychological forces of how people deal with money and react to winning and losing is displayed for all to see. Both times I have been amazed at my own internal emotional battle on being able to stop, psychology thoughts of winning back money, the rush of winning more etc etc. Being able to step back and truthfully do an introspective examination of your psychological and physiological reactions to gain and loss, greed and fear, has to be a large benefit to visiting Vegas. Of course the percentage of visitors who are willing to do this is probably low. Next time your in Vegas try it. After you lose 50% of your initial buy in at a black jack table what are you thinking? How are you feeling? What do your goals become? Does it change from being fun to just trying to get your money back? Do you react differently by putting 100 down but putting only 10 at risk and winning 10 versus putting 10 down and 10 at risk? How do you emotionally respond and how does the emotion represent itself to physiological reactions?

All these questions are key to investing. Not that investing is gambling. If done correctly investing is investing but if your emotions get in the way of logical diagnosis of the situation and doubling down when you shouldn't then your own body circumvents the investing framework by which you should be basing your various investment decisions on. I could talk alot more about this topic. It is a topic that fasinates me at a micro level (at the indivdual level) and at the macro level (investors as a whole). Great trip and I am glad I didn't lose my shirt.

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