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A Small Reminder of Some of the Risks Involved


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Junior Supervisor

Junior Supervisor

  • [7] FLAG OFFICER

There is a prevailing mis-understanding among people fresh to the market that you can buy and sell as much as you want at the "market price." This is false. You are buying and selling from real people or algorithms that believe they can scalp your order. The idealized scenario is that GME rallies, Melvin covers, and everyone at reddit gets out at the top. This represents a misunderstanding of market mechanics. Melvin will cover before we truly know it, and the crash will happen as quick as the rally.

So with recent events, you must ask yourself:

Who is Your Counterparty?

Nothing is a sure bet. How confident are you that your counterparty is who you think it is? Thousands of redditors & new traders beyond have been buying stocks fully confident that Melvin Capital hasn't exited their trade. This is also supported by some analysis provided by two different firms, although their estimates differ some amount. Confounded in this is the interpretation of the data: Does this include market makers and dealers that are short stock but covered with calls or options deltas? Is their information fully accurate in an event the likes of which has never happened? It's tough to know for sure.

 

Know Everyone's Hand

Your guess on how much they've covered and when they covered has a massive effect on how you perceive the value of this trade. Buying if you think Melvin has $10b notional to cover is a much better bet than if they only have $2b to cover. You also have to consider how much notional the rest of the market has bought in anticipation of a squeeze. The difference between the two represents your effective edge.

Remember, we don't actually know Melvin's current position. We don't know what's going on behind closed doors. We only know the hand they're showing us via media. Has their clearing firm taken over? Has a much bigger collection of firms absorbed the position? Have they been buying since Monday? Have they covered and have new funds entered the space at a much better level?

You are fighting Goliath at a poker table in the city of Gath. The pot is worth $25 billion dollars. Ken Griffin has never lost. Melvin's prime brokers Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche are not used to losing (well, Deutsche is). They will do whatever it takes to take the pot from you and leave you holding the bag. They will not blink twice because there is a lot of fucking money on the line.

 

Know What Can Go Wrong

Nobody could have guessed everything that happened this week. Prepare yourself for the unexpected. Your brokerage will undoubtedly close out your position at the worst possible time. The stock could be halted for days. You could be assigned on ITM options. Your stock could get delisted. Your stock may get diluted.

 

Only Spend What You're Willing to Lose

This one is self explanatory. Your investment could go to zero. Even if you think you make money on every trade, if your bet size is 100%, the long term value of your portfolio is zero***.***

 

Don't Take Out Loans on Emotional Capital

If you are new, you really don't know the gut-wrenching, stomach-turning feeling of seeing the possibility of your net liquidity hitting zero or negative. It fucking sucks. You just know the highs. You're buying along the speculative frenzy and frantic rallies, wrapped in anti-billionaire & pro-underdog themes. It may even feel good to think that a guy who cut his teeth at a firm notorious for an insider trading scandal is getting his comeuppance. We love the feeling. If you are fully invested financially & emotionally, you are completely overleveraged and will pay the price. Make feeling good your goal, and set limits that you can stomach.

There are several feel-good stories of people making life-changing money to pay off their student loans or their family members' surgeries. Please think twice about this, and only spend what you can afford to lose. If placing a bet makes the difference between your pet living or dying, you may have a gambling problem. These were success stories because they got in at a much better level and could have had a much sadder ending.

Secondly, don't take it personal. There are people on the other side of your trades, your brokerage support line, the subreddit, the media. They are all playing their own hand to the best of their knowledge. It's easy to blame a broker, yell at their support desk, hate-tweet at a company, or even rage-text that guy you know who develops APIs at ETrade. A lot of people across the industry are rooting for you. Fuck, even Ted Cruz and AOC are rooting for you, because this transcends politics. If you're mad at Melvin Capital or Ken Griffin or the guys who crashed the economy in 2008, keep it that way. They will try and misdirect your anger in every single direction: brokerages, the media, and reddit. If your enemies are a few guys at the top holding a $25b short position and moving levers, keep it that way.

Thirdly, if you don't want to be a human being for the sake of the person on the other side, be a human being for your wallet's sake. You make better financial decisions in the absence of emotions.

 

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Junior Supervisor

Junior Supervisor

  • [7] FLAG OFFICER

Like I might have said in some of the other posts, just throwing up here what I find interesting on the subreddit that kind of fades away into the memes when not flaired right and even if it is flaired correctly. The subreddit also has a bot that's been deleting posts. 

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