During my time training to be an equity options trader, the shop I worked for required that I log 100 hours of poker training. Under the belief that there are great similarities between the decision-making required for poker, and that required for successfully trading the financial markets.
Along those lines, there was a particular lesson that always stood out to me. That while the numbers and percentages are important in both sciences, understanding the people you are playing against is equally, if not a more important element of the game.
Because you might think you’re right, and the person you’re trading against might think they’re right. But if you can identify why they’re wrong and spot the flaw in their thinking, that can really arm you with some confidence in your bet.
If you’ve seen the movie The Big Short, you may remember the scene where right before one of the funds was getting ready to increase the size of their bet against the mortgage industry, they were a little bit concerned.
But to ease those fears, the Deutsche Bank character played by Ryan Gosling took the fund managers to meet the people they were actually trading against. Because once they heard how the people they were trading against were completely caught up in the mania and missing the bigger picture, it gave them the confidence to pile on their trade in even bigger size.
Along those lines, for those investing in gold and silver, there were some interesting recent comments from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. That are somewhat reflective of the mainstream view of gold, and similar to the rhetoric you hear out of the central banks.
Which in my own personal opinion comes as extremely fantastic news for those who own precious metals and wonder whether there is still upside to the pricing.
Cuban was interviewed by Daniela Cambone of kitco.com. And with all due respect to Mr. Cuban, some of his answers were so far detached from the reality I’m living in that the more I heard him talk, the more I was tempted to dial Andy Schectman and buy more gold.
Consider the following:
Cambone: Where do you think are some of the safest bets for your money right now?
Cuban: If you need safe, just put the money in the bank.
(Editor side note – seems safe to say at this point that Cuban likely hasn’t been reading Von Mises during halftime at the Mavs games).
Cambone: Gold, up 2.5% for the first quarter. I know in the past you’ve seen it as a speculative bet. How do you see it today?
Cuban: I hate gold. Gold is a religion. There’s some fundamental value to gold, but everything else…it’s a collectable.
Cambone: Well hate is a strong word. The miners too?
Cuban: Individually as people, I heard they’re great people (he says giggling). But as an investment, hate is not strong enough. Hate with an extreme prejudice.
Cambone: So you don’t see gold as money.
Cuban: I do not see it as an alternative to currency. No not at all.
Cambone: Do you feel the same about silver, palladium, or platinum?
Cuban: I don’t know those others as well. But those are pretty much based off their intrinsic value as much as I can tell.
Cambone: So you’re in the camp of gold is just a pet rock.
Cuban: Pretty much. But I’d buy a pet rock first.
Ironically in 2016 in response to market turmoil, Cuban bought call options on gold. At the time he explained how “when traders don’t know what to do, they go where everybody is, and I thought there was a good chance that would be gold.”
Which makes his current comments all the more baffling. Although perhaps Cuban doesn’t see any cause for concern with rising interest rates and foreign creditors walking away from the dollar system.
Ultimately what Cuban thinks about gold may be irrelevant. Yet to the degree that there are many in the markets who share a similar line of thinking, it’s worth registering that if you own gold, this profile and argument is essentially what you’re betting against.
Personally I receive it as great news. Because in my career, the best trades are not when a person thinks they’re right and puts the trade on. But when a person thinks they’re right, knows why the other person is betting against them, and can spot the flaw in that person’s logic.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether Cuban’s argument makes much sense. But his views are generally reflective of what the anti-gold crowd is thinking, and it makes me feel better than ever about owning physical gold and silver.