FDIC! That's betting

Jun 3, 2008 7:01 PM

Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale | Carol, this is my follow-up to life being a gamble.

I love gambling. It is the zest and the Zen of life! With a gamble we can change the world, at least the world as it relates to us.

Everybody everywhere gambles. There is nothing that we do that is not a gamble.

Yes, even businesses gamble, but they change the name. It is called risk taking.

For over 15 years, I was the senior director of my bank in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I evaluated gambles that the bank should take, but in the board room we never gambled!

It was risk evaluation.

In 1980, I received the first gold bracelet ever awarded by the Binion’s World Series of Poker for being named Best All-Around Poker Player.

This award caused a meeting with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at my Tulsa bank.

The Oklahoma newspapers reported the award and the paper ran some rather nice stories about me as a gambler, about winning the gold bracelet along with my other life as senior director of the bank and CEO of my construction company plus 12 other firms that I had created.

In the wisdom of the FDIC, it was not good public relations to continue certifying that the bank was a member in good standing of the FDIC while I continued to serve as the bank’s senior director.

This meeting at the bank with the FDIC came 28 years before the Oklahoma state legislature recognized me as one of the state’s Favorite Son’s.

Now in Oklahoma, there is legalized horse race betting, bingo, poker, craps and the casino games.

I remember my last speech to the board of directors and my advice to the board about gambling versus risk taking.

Yes, even on the buckle of the Bible Belt, there were members of the board that I played a little poker with and liked to gamble. In the 1980’s, some members of the board of directors of the bank wanted to make high interest returns on oil rigs and leases of oil fields loans. These loans back then were in the 22 percent range.

They wanted to gamble on the oil promoters, rigs and wildcatters in order to get the high return of gambling interest rates. We would be gambling on the ph of the soil from 3,000 to 10,000 feet under ground, the oil run tickets and the expertise of the oil business.

I spoke against taking this gamble! The oil was not there.

The FDIC was wrong. I sold my stock at the very top dollar. The conservative gambler would have won!

Poker tip of the week

I have been re-reading my friend Wayne Allyn Root’s book, "The Zen of Gambling." Especially Chapter 7: "Value Investing, How Not To Follow The Crowd."

"Value investing is simply always investing contrary to the popular opinion of the day, doing the opposite of what seems obvious, being illogical instead of logical, running away from the crowds."

"Crowds are losers. Masses are always cattle going to slaughter!"