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Betting on the stock market

LETTERS

December 24, 2008

Re "3 lessons, $50 billion," editorial, Dec. 18

So anyone who claims to make a profit in the stock market every year "should be viewed with the same suspicion as poker players who never lose."

As a poker player and teacher, I can vouch: No one can win 100% of the time. (I teach my students to win more than 60% of their sessions.)

There is one big difference between poker and investing. In poker you must make many important decisions -- skill involves making the best decisions in your own interest.

On the other hand, when investing in stocks, the only decisions you make are whether to buy or sell. All the important choices that affect the company and the value of its stock are made by a group of strangers sitting in an office -- perhaps in Houston, with an "Enron" sign on the building.

George Epstein

Los Angeles

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Re "Their safe bet had bet it all on Madoff," Dec. 21

The hypocrisy of Stanley Chais' or Bernard Madoff's investors wanting more government regulation of advisors is laughable.

It's likely Chais was required to register as an investment advisor under current law, and many investors without a clue gave him money anyway. A fool and his money will always part company.

Others were simply too greedy and desirous of being on the inside. That won't change with greater transparency. The secrecy was part of the deal with these folks, who now want a nanny to protect their ilk from themselves. How utterly ridiculous.

Kip Dellinger

West Los Angeles

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