We have $5k - $6k to blow in Vegas for our honeymoon - what's our best bet? (yep, crap pun intended)
That's the budget. It's our honeymoon so we're splurging. We are flying in from ATL so that burns off about $1k right there. We aren't big gamblers so call that $200/day. Other than that we enjoy luxurious accommodations, good food and are in our mid 40's. (Speak up we can't hear you...pull up your pants and take your hat off inside...mutter) We stayed at the Cosmo a while back and loved it but want to try something else. Currently eyeing an Aria skysuite but I thought maybe you folks would have some alternate ideas. Everyone here does an amazing job with Vegas on the cheap (seriously...you make me want to come back for just a few days). Can you do the same with a couple bucks weighing down your bindle? Thanks in advance. EDIT: All: Thank you for all the excellent help! Never doubt the Reddit hive mind. We've looked over all the hotels and have decided to go with an Aria Skysuite. That said we looked strongly at the other options and really had to have some deep discussions. Variety of reasons tipped the scale but the big one was to sit in the chandelier bar at the Cosmo as husband and wife. It just seems perfect for us. A signature moment as it were. That one place you can return to and know...just know...that life is perfect for the moment. There are so many great restaurant tips here but Joel Robuchon's is the one that's really tugging. Wife to be gave me the thumbs up so it's all on me. Dammit. Can't...decide...so...much...money.... Fffffffuuuuuu...... Anyway, thank you for your help. I am looking forward to staying around and hopefully helping others! Who knows...maybe we'll get an opportunity to meet one or more of you when we're there! (What did you do on your honeymoon? Meet up. Duh.)
[OC] We intend no harm - Chapter 21 (Bets and Wagers)
Hello again. This is a bit of a short chapter. I hope you have fun reading. First | Wiki | Previous | Next The Cheshnak Ra was flying through the hyperspace towards the system where two other ships went missing. Because the Admiral was on board, the captain had vacated his quarters to make room for Zokosh. A scout ship had no need for guest quarters and he was sure that she would not want to sleep on a foldable bunk with the rest of the crew. Zokosh thought she would be fine with tight rooms, but the captain’s quarters felt even smaller than they looked on the blueprint. She sat on the tiny desk that was crammed in below some hanging wall cupboards. If she were to fall from her chair, she would land on the narrow bed. ‘At least the sheets look like they have been changed.’ She thought and then looked at the toilet stuffed into a niche in the wall to her left. She had expected this half a square meter sized niche to be a showetoilet-combination. But the shower part was definitely missing. When she asked the Captain about the shower, he had the audacity to laugh and offer her a bucket and a washcloth. A lady took a shower in the morning and a relaxation and beauty bath before going to bed. Of course she knew that a soldier would survive with wiping herself down before passing out on her cot since the boot camp. But after she became an officer, she made due with a fast shower in the morning. While she was pondering for how long she could avoid using the communal showers, someone knocked at her door. “Come in.” The non-automatic door was opened and Sogogh entered Zokosh’s 'office'. “Admiral Xem? I’m here to bring you half the pot.” He said meekly, while carrying a bag. Zokosh’s vertically slit pupils narrowed wondering what the officer was bringing her. Before she could have asked what it was. He started to stack canned rations (the relatively good kind) on the edge of her desk. “I was assuming you were betting with imperial credits.” Stated the Admiral, for a moment she was unable to hide her surprise. “Credits are pretty much useless on board. So we bet with useful stuff.” The helmsman explained, while placing some entertainment data sticks next to the canned rations. “Ah, I understand … Well, I don’t need all of the stuff in that bag. If that’s half, a lot of crewmen seem to have participated. I allow you to distribute the rest to the winners, send them my best regards.” Her right ear flicked signaling him to leave, which he did after saluting. There were three tiers of rations in the imperial navy: indistinguishable scrabs in a bag (add boiling water), dried imitation-meat (lab-grown meat, add boiling water) and real meat with sauce in a can (heat up or eat cold). On normal ships were two mess halls one for the crewmen and one for the officers. But that was a luxury scout ships did not get. Zokosh examined the rations. She knew most of the flavors from officer camp. Not the boot camp, you only get to eat the scraps in a bag (add clean water if your lucky or eat dry) there. Some of her winnings were actually pretty good, at least as far as canned rations go. After she had stored the cans, she put one of the sticks into her holoprojector. It carried a handful of holomovies, something you get easily from the broadcasting network, if you were on a proper ship or a station. After that she tried one stick after the other. Some had simple but relaxing games and some had music. When she picked up the second to last stick she noticed that it was marked with a dot of red paint. She looked at it for a moment tilting her head sideways. There could have been only a few reasons to mark a stick. Most of them were not really appealing, but it could also be a recording of the first steps of someone’s welp. She decided to put it to the side and take look at the last sticks contents. Some movies and a few games, nothing out of the ordinary. She wanted to forget about the marked stick. But thinking someone might be missing something important made her plug it in, disregarding her intuition. After she had read the first few lines of its table of contents, she hissed at herself. ‘What were you thinking? Placing family recordings as a wager would be worth nothing! And this is a long term scout ship full of men, of course they would put this in as a wager.’ ++++++ Sogogh was distributing the remaining contents among the winners. Suddenly his pupils widened. “Oh crap!” “Hm? What’s the matter, something wrong with the stick?” Asked Ugzar, the sensor officer and Sogogh’s friend. “I hope not.” The Helmsman said, while giving his friend a stick with a red dot on it. After seeing the dot Ugzar laughed. “Dude, you were supposed to put only “safe” material into the bag for the Admiral!” Sogogh rummaged through the remaining contents of the bag. “I guess that was the only one.” “Knowing you, you could have easily fucked up twice!” The sensor officer was still laughing. “Imagine you gave her one of the sticks from the guy who loves videos with girls in uniforms stepping on someone.” “Duuuuude, that’s not funny. If I did fuck up and she sees that shit, she’ll throw me out of the fucking airlock.” “Or, … she steps on you and calls you a degenerate.” He smirked at his poor friend. “Well the stepping-guy would get super envy. Would be hilarious for everyone else.” “FUCK! What should I do? Should I go back and try to see if I gave her one?” Asked Sogogh in a slight panic. “Chill. You can’t get it back if you gave it to her. Just relax. Remember how she threw Tok the brawler on his back? If she can fight like that, she has seen worse than that stick.” Ugzar had enough fun with his friend’s mishap, now was the time to calm him down. ++++++ The first few nights in that tiny room had not been comfortable. Normally Zokosh would curl up under her blanket, but this bed was so narrow, she had to sleep stretched out. She slowly got used to it because she had to. Each morning and evening she wiped herself down with a washcloth, some soap and cold water from the sink. But she could bare with that only for so long, especially since there was a functioning shower just a few ladders and hallways away. She informed the captain that from now on she would reserve the shower every day between nine and ten in the evening. After that she went back to her quarters to study any information they had about their destination system and the Galactic Council’s movements in this area. It was a quarter to nine when she took a datapad an wrote: ‘Admiral Xem is showering. A painful death awaits anyone entering.’. That was the second best plan. Her first plan, locking the door, failed because of the missing lock on the communal showers. She put all of her showering necessities into her seabag: shampoo, shower gel, a towel, a brush, fresh underwear, a clean jumpsuit, the datapad, tape for the pad and her combat knife. With everything packed, she walked to one of the ladders, climbed down and continued towards the shower. Before she entered she opened the door. “Anyone still in there?” Nobody responded and she could hear no water running. Now she taped the datapad with her warning onto the door. Then she placed her combat knife between her teeth and taped the empty sheath next to the datapad. After she was sure, the warning was clear, she entered the shower. ++++++ All of the crewmembers had heard about the shower reservations. Because it meant that the rest of the crew had less time to shower, most of them did not like it. Some were of the opinion that the admiral should just shower with the rest of the crew, like the captain does. Others knew that there would be casualties, if she showered with the rest of them. Of course those casualties would be caused by fighting over who gets to use the shower during that time. What all agreed on was that there was a need for new bets. First: How long would it take until someone were to accidently stumble into the shower? Second: Who would be the brave soul to do it? And finally third: Would she actually kill him? Almost the entire crew put their wagers in the three pots. Some of them were trying to boast by placing their own name on the board for the second bet. Most of the people named Tokol, because he was a daredevil, good looking and known as a womanizer. About half the crewmembers who placed their bet on him, also betted that he would live to tell the tale. First | Wiki | Previous | Next Thanks for reading. That was only four pages, but it felt like a good point to end the chapter :)
https://imgur.com/a/lq6ujAW Okay so maybe it isn't the MOST hated but I feel like this car gets a lot of flack from members of this community. All you hear about is how it is under powered and sounds like crap compared to the 918. My C8 order is likely a year out due to Covid and the strike so I wanted to get another car to throw on my Turo account. Now I've driven a base 981 and a 981 GT4 and they are amazing cars no doubt but I can happily say that I enjoy driving this one ALMOST as much as my buddy's GT4. Would I rather have the GT4? Of course! But I picked up this thing CPO for 44k and he bought his for 105k. I'd much rather put that extra money in my pocket. Yes the exhaust does not sound as great as the flat 6 but I honestly really enjoy the sound. It sounds harsh and raspy but it still definitely sounds like it means the business. The handling is sublime and on the street I don't notice a huge difference between it and the GT4 (besides the ride comfort). I drove this thing back 9 hours from Miami and my back didn't hurt at all, in my e90 M3 I couldn't go more than 2 hours without stopping. The PDK transmission is fantastic and while I do miss rowing my own gears like in my S2000 it does so much better in Atlanta traffic. I would probably have gotten a manual but considering I want to attract as many renters as possible I figured PDK was the best bet. Manual mode shifts are instantaneous and it makes just enough cracks and pops to not be obnoxious. With a tune (50 hp, 50tq increase) and exhaust this thing will be just about perfect. The power is there and it pulls almost as hard as my M3 but of course you can never have too much power. The brakes are adequate but when they need replaced I will get something a little beefier. The only negative I have is that there is a delay in first gear when you first get going. It takes about a second for the car to register the pedal is to the floor and the turbo spins up. Really sucks when you are trying to pull out into traffic. I'm hoping the tune will fix it. Hope you guys enjoy the pictures and if you're near Atlanta hit me up for a discount! *edit* mixed up some numbers!
This weekend in Las Vegas I was playing craps and was working on a 10. I got sick of waiting and threw down $25 on a hopping hard 10 (This is a very stupid bet, and I have never placed it before). It hit: Pandemonium ensued. What's your best gambling story?
With the other money on the table, I collected $1500 on that role alone. The entire turn took 45 minutes, I hit at least 12 points and probably more come-out bets. A crowd was watching me and the people at the table wanted to buy me drinks. Good times.
Day Two Here Day Three Here Gettysburg is by far my favorite battle of all time. First, it is an all-American battle in an all-American war, and myself being an old school nationalist it carries significance that other battles simply don’t; I may find Austerlitz or Stalingrad nifty, but nobody there was my people. More, it was an extraordinarily clean fight. At any point, a soldier on either side could hurl down their rifle and grab some sky and be reasonably assured of having their surrender accepted without reservation, and for that matter their captor could rely on their new POWs to trudge back to the rear under light guard in good faith. Even though much of the fighting took place in an urban environment with embedded civilians, only one civilian died in the fighting. Let me tell you, the more military history you read up on, the clearer it is that massacring civilians before, during, and after a rough fight is par for the course. One might even say that butchering unarmed men, women and children of the enemy tribe is the de facto military objective more than half the time; it might be some weird, half instinctual, proto-game theory going on: “We told them to surrender or else. They didn’t surrender, we won anyway, and now there’s gotta be an ‘or else’ to persuade the next batch of holdouts that we mean business.” In the long run, butchering the first village usually made it morelikely the next three villages would get the message and surrender without a fight, saving the invaders men, materiel, and time. Or perhaps it’s that killing civilians has always been pure bloody-mindedness. But not at Gettysburg. Gettysburg is where the American platonic ideal of soldiers fighting soldiers and leaving the civilians be actually happened. Another aspect to the battle that fascinates me is how utterly unplanned it was. Neither army had intended to fight there, and between the scale of the brawl, the rapidity of developments, the intransigence of their subordinates, and the communications lag, neither the Confederate general Lee nor the Union general Meade had a grip on the situation at all until the second day of the battle, and neither could enact their ideal plans until the third day. It was something of a clusterfuck for both sides, and the course of the battle depended on the initiative and guts of small unit commanders with little idea of what the big picture was. Gettysburg tends to be remembered as the turning point in the war, when it stopped being a gallant passage at arms between roughly equal powers and started being a slow, painful inevitable grind towards Union victory. This is not exactly accurate; only with years of hindsight could anybody construct a narrative that framed this fight as the turning point, for at the time Gettysburg was seen as just another grisly slaughter yard in a long series of them. Still, between this fight and the conquest of Vicksburg out west, this does appear in hindsight to be the high watermark in terms of Confederate progress towards successful seccession. Certainly it was the last time any Confederate army went on the strategic offensive. For diehard secessionists (both during the war and in the years after), this was the last hurrah before the war started being truly hopeless. It is also, I should mention, a place of spiritual significance for me. Myself being secular humanist with a vaccination against Protestantism from my younger days, I don’t have much in the way of codified religion. But when I was a youngin’ visiting relatives out east, I got to visit the battlefield. I found myself standing in front of a monument on the field on the north end of Herbst Wood (where the right flank of Iron Brigade stood and charged on the first day of the battle). It described how a Michigan regiment of about a thousand men stood on that spot and suffered two thirds casualties over the course of the day. I read the details on the monument, and stared up at the mustachioed rifleman staring defiantly to the west. Looking left and right, I saw more monuments every fifty yards or so in a straightish line, spreading out to mark where a human line had once stood and bled. And I turned my back on the monuments to face away, and behold, I saw an opposing line of Confederate monuments stretched out horizon to horizon about a hundred yards away. Two lines, violently opposed but unmoving; courage and horror frozen into place forever. And the world there seemed very big, and very grand, and I felt very small and unworthy. The air was at once colder and hotter than any air I’d ever felt. The wind cut through my clothing and reminded me that flesh was mortal but spirit was eternal. This was holy ground, soil consecrated by blood. Shi’ite Muslims have Karbala. Catholics have the Road to Calvary. Australian aboriginals have Uluru. I have Gettysburg. ———————————————————————— BACKGROUND A brief note- I will be including maps periodically to show the progression of the fighting. These maps must be taken with a grain or three of salt. They are intended to show relations between the armies and the terrain, not to mark the exact positions or dispositions of the units, nor to show an exact proportion of numbers involved. This is because I am not an expert mapmaker, and I thank you in advance for your understanding. First, a map of the northern part of the battlefield. Note how many roads lead there, and note the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill to the south of the town. The Battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee needed to go on the offensive, and Lee needed to go on the offensive because of the big picture. I shall cover the broad outline just so the significance doesn’t pass anybody by. The Confederacy in the Spring of 1863 was in a terrible dilemma. The leadership had two urgent problems, either one of which could (if unaddressed) destroy their enterprise, and to make things worse they didn’t have the resources to solve either of them alone without a miracle. One, the Union was fixing to shove yet another army down Richmond’s throat. Two years of failed invasions into Virginia had been brutal to both sides, but the North had immense reserves of cash, food, industrial output, and manpower with which to replenish themselves, and the South simply didn’t. The Army of Northern Virginia on which every invasion thus far had broken was underarmed, underfed, and undermanned, and if these issues were not fixed then they’d be seeing Union soldiers in the Confederate capitol before Autumn. There had already been a push that year, which Lee had staved off at Chancellorsville. There was plenty of time left before winter for a second attack. And two, Vicksburg, the railway hub that sat on the Mississippi River, was under dire threat. The Union had already grabbed New Orleans at the south end and pushed north up the river, and had been pushing south down the river since day one of the war, but Vicksburg prevented the whole river from falling in to Union hands. Vicksburg alone let the South shift resources and information from its Western half to its Eastern half. Losing it could be a death blow. The garrison of Vicksburg was also underarmed, underfed, and undermanned. The fresh crops taken off the farm and the fresh host of new recruits also taken off the farm were middling at best. Even throwing all the resources they had at either problem and letting the other develop as it would might mean losing on both fronts. Splitting the resources in half to prop up both didn’t seem promising either. Lee, being something of a strategist, developed a third option. There was no point (he reasoned) in trying to prop up Vicksburg at this point- it would take weeks to shift reinforcements that far west, and by then it would be midsummer. If the siege lasted that long, either the garrison would fold or disease would rip through the Yankee army and drive it back home, as it had the last two years running. In either scenario, further support would affect nothing. Therefore, he proposed a bold plan- don’t sit around waiting to get hit in the face. Invade north. Take the fight onto their turf. The more the Confederate leadership considered it, the better it sounded. Northern land hadn’t been ravaged like Virginia had- it would be easy to live off of the enemy’s food for once, thus lessening the headache of their constant supply problems. It was also an election year, and the anti-war Democrats were raging at the ocean of blood and gold being wasted on bringing States back into the fold who very clearly wanted to go their own way. One good, solid victory on Northern soil could tip the balance, drive home the point that that war was unwinnable. Get the Black Republican warmonger Lincoln kicked out of the White House, get a reasonable Democrat in, and next year they just might get a negotiated peace that would lead in time to true and recognized independence. To which end- Lee snaked his newly reinforced army of about 75,000 men up through the Shenandoah Valley, using the mountain range to mask his movements instead of using to well-worn direct route that the Union was camped on. He would end up north of the bulk of the Army of the Potomac, simultaneously threatening Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which for a guy trying to score a symbolic victory to discourage the enemy voters put him in a pretty nice spot. Lincoln freaked out, told Hooker and his Army of the Potomac to go out and beat Lee, to utterly destroy his army, and also not leave any weak point undefended, which are just the kind of orders one enjoys receiving. Hooker, having a bit of an ego and a poor history of getting his ass kicked by Lee, got into a feud with Lincoln’s advisors and impulsively offered his resignation as Commander of the Army of the Potomac following some stupid spat with the bean counters back in Washington. Lincoln called his bluff and fired him three days before the battle, putting General Meade in charge of the whole damn army with almost no prep time. I should cut the narrative here to cast moral aspersions right quick. The Union were the good guys, and the Confederates were the villains. That said, the North made for really terrible heroes, and the South had more than its fair share of virtues. This was not a grand crusade of freedom-loving Yankees tearing down the moral abomination of human bondage. This was a brutal, no holds barred death struggle between the efficient new urban Industrial Revolution and the rural Cavalierlatifundias. Only a smallish segment of New England Puritans and bleeding heart Quakers hated slavery on moral grounds- the rest of the North either hated it on financial grounds, didn’t give a fuck one way or another, or were actively supporting racial slavery. And on the flip side, most Southerners who fought in the war perceived quite accurately that outsiders were coming into their world to demand submission, and had decided to give these invaders the William Wallace treatment. This is a normal and admirable response that every healthy society should have in its toolbox, and in my not-even-slightly humble opinion it is a damn shame that so many people endured so much agony in support of so un-American a cause. For you see, when Lee’s army reached Pennsylvania, they kidnapped every black person they could find, free or not, and sent them all south in chains. There was no attempt to ascertain their status by some legal due process, no splitting of hairs. The bare skeleton of Confederate ideology, the great Truth that would have snuffed out by continued political loyalty to the Union, had been that all men were not created equal. To be more precise, men had white skin, and anyone with black skin was not a man and did not have the rights of man. As such, anyone with black skin was to be sold into slavery and threatened with torture and death if they refused to labor in the cotton fields. The army that invaded the North was, in practice, the biggest slave-hunting gang that had ever set foot on American soil. The side wearing grey were staunch defenders of a country based on the Ideal of Ethnic Supremacy, and the side wearing blue were fighting for a country based on the Ideal of Equality. There were a million nagging features of material reality in the South and the North that challenged both of these Ideals, but there were no Ideals to challenge these Ideals, save only for each other. We know that this is true, because as the war shifted away from a Federal attempt to rein in wayward states to an all out assault on the institution of slavery, more and more Northerners balked at the idea of dying to set niggers free; men who had fought for years to bring the rebels into the fold again threw down their rifles and went home in disgust after they heard of the Emancipation Proclamation. And as it became clearer that poor whites who never owned slaves were expected to die for plantation owners’ right to stay rich, fewer and fewer Southerners were willing to jump into the meat grinder feet first; many of them deserted to go home and form Unionist bushwhacker gangs instead. Speaking of the draft, a higher percentage of southerners dodged the Confederate draft than in Vietnam, yet Vietnam is remembered as a deeply unpopular war while the Lost Cause has painted the South as a unified bloc striving as one against the Yankee oppressor. Also, the Confederacy had a draft imposed upon the states by its federal government. So, yeah, State's Rights. Tell me how that worked out. To reiterate. Both sides are not the same. We are rooting for the Union. Slavery. Etc. Pushing on- The two armies surged northward, on parallel tracks with Lee on the west side of the Appalachians and Meade on the east side. Being critically low on recon drones and spy satellites, the only ways to find the enemy army was to send guys out on horseback to physically look at them before riding back, and to talk to locals whether they’d seen anyone wearing the other team’s uniform recently. Clouds of skirmishers, cavalrymen, and small detachments of infantrymen from either side scattered themselves in all directions, straining to catch a glimpse of the other army. The first side to locate the enemy, amass sufficient force, and maneuver against them would probably win, without regard for right or wrong. ———————————————————————— JULY 1st, 1863 Early Morning General John Buford had a 2,500 strong brigade of cavalrymen patrolling southern Pennsylvania, being one of dozens of detachments sent out to find the enemy army. Using human intelligence from locals in Gettysburg, he learned that there was a column of rebel infantry marching down the Chambersburg Pike. And indeed there was. Advance scouts from Buford’s brigade made visual contact with a column marching south towards Gettysburg. The ball was now rolling. The story goes that the Confederates were looking for new shoes and heard that there was a stockpile in Gettysburg. As far as I can tell, this is a baseless legend- inspired by the true fact that the rebel army didn’t have enough shoes, but baseless nonetheless. The three Confederate commanders marching towards Gettysburg (Archer and Davis with a brigade apiece and Heth as division commander coordinating them), were simply doing what their counterpart was doing- reconnaissance in force, hoping to develop a lead for the rest of the army to follow. 7,000 infantry under Archer and Davis were about to pick a fight with 2,500 cavalrymen under Buford. The currents of this morning fight would provide the grooves for the next three days to follow. Buford’s men fought as dragoons; the horse let you scoot around to where you need to go, but you got off it and fought on foot. They Union cavalry broke into tiny little four man teams to bloody the approaching Confederates’ noses. The terrain was a bushwhacker’s paradise- plenty of rocks and trees to hide behind, and plenty of low, rolling hills to speed off behind to break line of sight. One man would hold the horses while the other three crouch-ran forward under cover to pop off rounds into the enemy column from the sides of the road. When the enemy infantry redeployed from a fast moving but harmless column formation into a slow moving but dangerous line, the three shooters would run back to their buddy to mount up and retreat to a new position. The cavalrymen were outnumbered nearly three to one, and their carbines had less range and power than the rebel rifles; then again, the terrain was working for them and their breechloading carbines could shoot much faster than the enemy’s muzzleloading long rifles. It was very close to being an fair fight, as long as the cavalry could stay mobile and keep their distance. Buford and Heth both had unclear, contradictory orders- “Push forward aggressively to locate the enemy, but do not enter into a general engagement until we know what we’re up against.” It was an order that must have made sense in the tent when Lee and Meade sent their own versions off. You wouldn’t want to force a battle until you knew the enemy’s location and disposition and the terrain you were going to be standing on, any more than you’d want bet it all on a poker hand before looking at your cards. But to the guys on the front line, it meant “charge forward, but do not charge forward. Attack, but do not engage. Show some initiative, but don’t pick a real fight.” Heth decided they were up against a skeleton crew of skirmishers, and he had orders to check out Gettysburg. He send riders back with a quick report and a request for reinforcements. Buford decided that if the whole damn rebel army was heading his way, he needed to delay their advance for as many hours as he could to give the rest of the Union army time to get to Gettysburg- the high ground south of the town looked like ideal terrain to fight from and he wanted his buddies to get there before the rebels. He too sent riders back with calls for help. And meanwhile, the murderous, hazardous stalking of the rebel column continued as it trudged towards Gettysburg. Meanwhile, in the Rear with the Gear Imagine running a marathon- 26 miles and a bit from start to finish. That’s how spread out a Civil War army is, from vanguard to rear guard. You can’t really concentrate 75,000-100,000 people together that closely. Disease starts killing people off really fast, feeding everyone is a headache, and if you have to march out, the lead element will march all day before stopping for the night, while the rear element hasn’t even left camp yet. It’s unwieldy. So they all spread out to grab some real estate and forage easier and not choke on each others’ dust and crap. The riders from the Chambersburg Pike were spreading the word through the marathon length of the armies. Units were halting, turning around. Captains and colonels and generals were consulting maps to figure out what roads to take to get south or north to Gettysburg from where they were now. Regiments were putting their heads to together to figure out whose company oughtta go in what order. The movements were slow and and ungainly and awkward, but they were starting up. Mid Morning to Noon The rolling hills on either side of the Chambersburg Pike stopped at McPherson’s Ridge, a grand place to make a stand- plenty of cover, steep incline. In any case, there wasn’t much further to retreat to. Archer and David pushed the cavalrymen, Archer on the south side of the road and Davis on the north. Thoroughly annoyed infantrymen backed up on the Pike behind them, eager to get at the enemy but without frontage to occupy. Buford dug in on McPherson’s Ridge, and the full force of Heth’s division slammed into him. Denied their mobility by the necessity of holding territory, the fair fight turned into a meat grinder for the dismounted cavalrymen. When Confederate artillery set up on Herr’s Ridge, it turned into a bloodbath. Buford, at last, got in contact with somebody who outranked him. General John Reynolds, second in command of the whole Union army, rode ahead of his division to get eyes on the situation. The two struck a deal in the middle of a firefight. Buford promised to hold to the last man, and Reynolds promised to reinforce him. It was an exercise in trust; if Buford’s men held firm and Reynolds let them down, they’d be swamped and slaughtered to a man, and if Buford’s detachment broke and scattered, Reynolds’ reinforcements would march directly into a line of hills held by an entrenched enemy force of equal size. Failure on either side would be fatal. Reynolds rode south again, leaving Buford and his dwindling cavalrymen to fend off 10% of the Confederate army all alone. Meanwhile, Buford’s thin line was cracking. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to advance or retreat... That which was inevitable to start with was happening now. Davis’ brigade was pressing against Oak Ridge on the Union right, and Archer's was taking Herbst Woods tree by tree. Buford’s men were giving ground they couldn’t afford to lose. Confederate artillery was blasting giant holes in the ranks of the defenders. That’s when the relief came- two fresh brigades of infantry coming up the Emmitsburg road, under generals Cutler and Meredith. Cutler got there first, taking up positions on Oak Ridge and straddling either side of the Pike with cannons. Their massive volleys disrupted Confederate momentum and silenced some of the rebels’ big guns as everyone scrambled for cover. Grateful and exhausted cavalrymen sidled off to the flanks to safety. Meredith’s brigade is still lagging behind- that’s the problem with columns, only the guys in front can do anything. If Buford and Reynolds expected everything to be right in the world once reinforcements arrived, they were very much mistaken. Those men out there attacking up Oak Ridge were some of the finest infantrymen in the world- dedicated, disciplined, contemptuous of death. They did not stop being efficient killers just because they now fought peers instead of the hornet-like cavalry skirmishers. Cutler’s brigade was facing a small tidal wave of battle-maddened Southern veterans, and had no time to dig in and situate themselves before the moment of impact. Davis’ men ripped into them like a pack of starving wolves. Cutler’s men fell back to safety on the top of Oak Ridge. In pieces. Meanwhile, Meredith’s brigade was finally in position to retake Herbst Woods on the south side of the road. Now, Meredith’s brigade were the absolute elite of the Union army. They were the grizzled veterans, the old crew, the best drilled, the most experienced, the hardest of the hard. They were nicknamed the Iron Brigade, and the Black Hat Brigade, because they were authorized to wear dashing black foraging caps to signify their status as the best of the best. With their comrades north of the road falling back, it was imperative that the Black Hat Brigade protect their left flank. To which end, Reynolds frantically snapped orders for them to line up and charge Archer’s men who were occupying Herbst Wood. Their charge was met by a storm of musket fire that churned the Iron ranks into blood and guts. But this was the Black Hat Brigade. For them, taking ten percent casualties in a single minute was just another Tuesday. They got in close to the rebel line to return the volleys with a vengeance, and then charged with the bayonet. Archer’s men saw the distinctive black hats come for them through the musket-smoke. For the first time, they realized that these were no mere cavalry skirmishers, no half-assed militia company facing them. The best of the best of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them at terrifyingly close range. Archer’s men cracked and scattered. The ones who stood firm, died. The ones who threw down their rifles and grabbed sky were allowed to live as prisoners. The ones who ran, lived, but found the Iron Brigade hot on their heels. Meredith’s elites carved through Archer’s brigade like it wasn’t even there. Reynolds was a good leader. A great one, in fact. He was decisive, experienced, competent. Many thought he should have gotten command instead of Meade. As his men retook Herbst Wood, he turned behind him to check on how close reinforcements were, some rebel rifleman did his cause a world of good, and shot Reynolds in the back of the head. Now the situation got pretty weird- Davis’ brigade had kicked the shit out of Cutler’s brigade and was pursuing them on the north side of the road, and the Iron Brigade had kicked the shit out of Archer’s brigade and was pursuing them on the south side of the road. Neither victor was aware of what had happened across from them, and soon enough they would pass each other by almost touching the edges of their lines. The first one to figure out what was happening would get to win. As it so happened, General Doubleday (in command now that Reynolds was dead) saw the danger and the opportunity first. He broke off an Iron regiment from his reserve to swoop in and protect the flank just in time, setting them up in a defensive stance facing the road. That regiment was joined by another broken off from the Iron assault, and yet another from Cutler’s brigade, who had seen the maneuvering and joined in on its own initiative. It was like a ballet, all three regiments coalescing into a single front facing north across the road, as though they’d spent the last week rehearsing. Under their protection, the rest of the Black Hats gave chase to their prey. When Davis finally turned and attacked, they were chopped down by a mass of highly accurate fire from the newly entrenched men. Confederates died by the dozens and were maimed by the score. As they reloaded, the Black Hats were astonished to find that the whole Confederate brigade vanish into thin air, like magic. The firing stopped; no more targets. It was bizarre. The three regiments advanced cautiously. And were gutted by a close range surprise volley by the hidden Confederates as they tried to scale the fences on either side of the Pike. It turns out that there was a cut in the side of road, deep enough for a man to jump down into with only his head able to peek out. Davis’ men had leapt into it as a source cover when the firefight started and found it was a grand place to shoot out of. But it was also a death trap. Once the Union regiments figured it out, they got in close enough to fire blindly down at point blank range into the milling mass of men. Davis’ men surrendered, thousands of them all at once. Unable to move, unable shoot back, it was really the only choice. And with that, the first round of Gettysburg was over. Oak Ridge and Herbst Wood had held, and about 150,000 odd soldiers were converging on Gettysburg to shift the tide of war this way and that. AFTERNOON The rest of the first day was not free of drama, and heroics, and mass suffering. But it was free of surprises. The iron laws of physics had decreed that more Confederate units would be on hand for the fighting in the afternoon, and so it was. Fresh rebel troops swept down from the north and from the west, relieving their exhausted comrades and preparing themselves to assault Oak Ridge and Herbst Woods. Fresh Union troops arrived from the south to reinforce what they had and to extend their line out east, protecting their right flank and screening off the town itself. Hours passed without a shot being fired. Everybody was reorganizing themselves, resupplying, carting the wounded to the rear to let the surgeons saw their shattered limbs off. Two small things happened that delivered a Confederate victory on day one, and a Union victory on day three. Union General Barlow pushed his brigade out to occupy Blocher's hill, and Union General Steinwehr plopped two of his brigades on top of Cemetery Hill. The first created a huge gap in the Union right, and the second secured the invaluable high ground for the rest of the battle. Meanwhile, three Confederate divisions set themselves up for a concerted attack- Heth would press into Herbst Wood on the Union left, Rodes would assault Oak Ridge at the center, and Early would swoop down the Harrisburg road to threaten the Union right. When the big push came at around 2 p.m., it was badly organized and mismanaged. Southern commanders couldn't get it together and attack at the same time. Individual units charged at Oak Ridge alone, like a mob of Hollywood henchmen attacking the hero only to be smacked around one by one. Cutler's men didn't just fight them off; it was closer to mass murder. General O'Neal's brigade swooped down off of Oak Hill only to be cut down by musketry and cannon fire, and they did it without O'Neal, because O'Neal stayed in the rear while his men died. When O'Neal's brigade fell back having suffered heavy losses, Cutler shifted his men to greet the new threat from Iverson's brigade, who also charged without their commander. Iverson's men marched in parade perfect order across open ground, without so much as a molehill for cover. The story goes that during the assault, Iverson looked out from safety and saw half his men lying down on the ground. Iverson was pissed off because he thought his men were surrendering. In fact, he was watching his brigade die in droves. The issue wasn't morale. The Confederate troops were eager to get at the enemy. The problem was purely organizational in nature. The men in charge of telling people what to do were simply too confused and disoriented to work out the solution in real time. While O’Neal and Iverson were getting bloodied, Barlow’s men on Blocher Hill were getting slaughtered. Barlow’s desire to hold the high ground on the defense was understandable- high ground being a grand place to fight from- but he was about one mile ahead of any friendly units. This meant that it was trivially easy to flank and destroy his brigades. Georgia men under generals Early and Rodes linked up to flank and destroy Barlow’s isolated brigades. A thick stream of filthy, bloody, and terrified Union men flowed back to the town of Gettysburg, leaving a gaping hole in the Union line and spreading their panic like the plague. Victorious Confederates whooped and hollered. As the men to the north of town trade massacres- the failed assault on Oak Ridge being roughly balanced by the disastrous dissolution of Barlow’s brigades- Heth finally attacked the Iron Brigade still occupying Herbst Wood in the west. He’d been delaying it all afternoon, stymied by the contradictory orders from Lee. Lee, who was several miles away and not at all in touch with the situation, still wanted to avoid a general engagement. But now, Heth has been let off the chain to avenge Archer’s brigade. Heth’s full division attacked Herbst Wood. It was a slow, hot, gory fight. The attacking rebels are aggressive, but also methodical and well-organized. The Black Hats made them pay for every tree they seized. But there’s only one outcome for a fight like this. The Iron Brigade has the ghastly honor of having the highest casualty ratio of any Civil War brigade, North or South. Out of the 1,885 men in their ranks that morning, 1,153 (61%) were be dead or maimed by nightfall on the first day. The fates of individual units from within the brigade are even more gruesome- in the 2nd Wisconsin regiment, 397 out of 496 (80%) were killed or wounded. But despite the horrific losses, they didn’t break. They gave ground slowly and in good order, but they gave ground nonetheless. Iron does not break, but it does bend. By late afternoon, the dominoes fell as they were always going to. With the debacle at Blocher’s Knoll, any hope the Union had to hold the right was lost. The Black Hats were being ground into sawdust on the left. And Rodes has finally gotten his brigades to charge at the same time, overwhelming Cutler’s defense. Every Union man was running now, some in a blind panic, some withdrawing in good order like professionals. The open field battle turned into urban warfare as the Confederates chased the Union army through the streets of Gettysburg. Companies blocked the streets to hold off the enemy advance long enough for the comrades to scamper. Marksmen played sniper games in the windows, either shooting men in the back as they ran away or ambushing overly aggressive platoons, depending on the color of their uniform. The Union men were desperate to reach Cemetery Hill, south of the town. High ground and the reinforcements already stationed there promised safety. The Confederates were just as desperate to catch them first and seize that invaluable terrain for themselves. Nightfall A great deal of “woulda coulda shoulda” ink has been spilled over the orders that Lee gave to General Ewell, the man in charge of Rodes and Early: “Take Cemetery Hill if practical”. But Ewell saw two brigades with a lot of artillery standing on top of what appeared to be a natural fortress designed by God to repel infantry, and his men were exhausted to boot. Ewell decided it was not practical, and so did not try. Just one of those things, I expect. In any case, the day was a Confederate victory. Every spot on the map the Confederate troops wanted to go, they had went. They had crushed all resistance, had even gone toe to toe with the cream of the Army of the Potomac and won. Their enemies were in flight before them. There was, possibly, a certain amount of disquiet because the enemy had merely been driven from one ridge into another ridge, one even steeper and with more cover than the last. And rumor had it the rest of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them. But that was a problem for the next day.
Previous post on FE7 This was my second run of FE8, and I did Ephraim route, since I did Eirika's the first time and still have some pretty decent memories of her maps. I went ahead and re-read her unique dialogue just to be sure I hadn't forgotten anything in that regard. This was done on hard mode, although FE8 hard isn't particularly hard in the grand scheme of things (perhaps only harder than 3H hard and Path of Radiance difficult.) Story I suppose the first thing to address would be which of the split paths I like more now that I've experienced both, and the answer is an easy 'Eirika'. It's not even close. While I think that Ephraim's maps are (mostly) better, I just don't care for him as a protagonist. He's a fine character when acting as Eirika's foil, or in the support conversations (he has some great ones, actually), but he's just... Kinda boring, when in the lead? It doesn't feel like he struggles. Everything that he tries, he succeeds at. Taking on a fort while severely outnumbered? Success. Escaping Valter, somehow, when he's a wyvern rider? Success. Yeeting into the capital? Success. The one time he fails, it's not really a struggle, it just sort of... Happens. I'm not even trying to call him a weak character on a conceptual level or whatever, I just think that the game treated him in a way that makes him a poor lead. He's much better as a supporting character, or might work better as a lead if the script played other aspects of his character up more often. It really rubs me the wrong way how he even hijacks Eirika's route partially. He took on a fort while severely outnumbered, and succeeded. Oh no, it was a trap! ... That he escapes flawlessly. Eirika was coming to his rescue? Sike, he didn't need rescuing in the first place. And then they repeat this story beat once more when Eirika gets to Jehenna, having finally wrapped up her story split, she can finally return to Ephraim's side to support him in his assault on Gra... What do you mean he already conquered it? And he's actually rescuing Eirika because he's so cool? He's even a better unit. It's like the writers just really wanted you to like Ephraim and made him the most badass guy around, but it feels like he undermines Eirika, which is a shame since I like her a lot better as a lord. You may be noticing that I'm not really addressing the plot, and that's because it's kind of been there done that at this point. It's a MacGuffin hunt. The world-building is near non-existent (unless there's some tucked away in a support conversation that I missed). Each country might as well be interchangeable with the next in terms of culture for all we know, with their geography being the only real difference here. And even then that doesn't come up outside of Jehenna being a desert. There's nothing really interesting to talk about when it comes to the literal plot, although I will say that it does feel well executed as far as MacGuffin hunts are concerned. The stakes are raised appropriately as Sacred Stones are destroyed, and though you might as a player know that the last stone of Rausten is not going to be destroyed, the characters don't, and the drama that comes out of it is satisfying to me. That said, with all that I've said, I still came away from the story feeling super positive, and it's because of one aspect I've touched on briefly, and one that I haven't. The first is Eirika. I absolutely adore her. I love her arc, starting out as a kind-hearted princess that nearly faints from having to cut down brigands in the prologue since it's her first battle and she didn't really realize how it would feel, and getting more accustomed to the fighting despite absolutely loathing the fact that she has to fight. Her kind heart is both her greatest attribute, and her greatest weakness, as displayed when the demon king tricks her into giving away the stone of Renais by pretending there is still a chance for him to be saved. From there, one might assume that the lesson might be to throw away that kindness and become a harsher person, but it isn't. Rather, it simply makes her more determined to see things through to the end. To save Lyon by killing him. Seeing her so determined to end the conflict was such a nice moment when she came from a more naive beginning. Which, speaking of, Lyon is the second point I mentioned above. He's probably the most compelling villain since Arvis, and I would argue even more than him thanks to his greater presence in the story. He's referenced many times by either of the Renais twins, and often reminisced about. Once again, I like the way he's integrated in Eirika's route better than Ephraim's. Perhaps it's because I'm rubbed the wrong way by how the game treats Ephraim in general, and Lyon being yet another person jealous of just how cool and badass™ Ephraim is kinda bothers me, but I really like the romantic elements to his jealousy for Eirika. Not only is he jealous of her kindness and charm, because he's kind of a nerd in comparison, but he really wishes he could be with her and doesn't have the confidence to make advances on his own. It's only through his accomplishments that he'll impress her, he thinks... Wrongly, as they backfire horribly and set the events of the game into motion. It's tragic, and I love him. They work really well as a protagonist/antagonist pair. Gameplay It's... Alright, I suppose. Perhaps this is because I'm coming off of playing the other two GBA games back to back and am feeling a little fatigued of the GBA style of gameplay, but I wasn't particularly into it this time. But when I think as to why, I just can't really pin it down. Is it the maps? No, not really. I really like the gorgon gimmick map, and most maps are decent to good with no particularly bad map outside of the phantom ship. Was it the unit balance? I don't think so, units are fairly distinct from one another and I ended up switching people in and out of my party constantly, which is fair. Was it the difficulty? No, I don't think so either. It was easier than 6, easier than 7, but it wasn't particularly unsatisfying to play (to my skill level anyways), I still had to pay attention and had a couple deaths. If I had to pin a reason, it might be because while none of the maps are particularly bad, I don't think any of them are particularly great either, which is a shame. For all the crap that I give Battle Before Dawn, FE7 still has Dragon's Gate, but the maps here end up with me mostly going through the motions rather than having to come up with interesting approaches. There are rarely side objectives that require significant investment to get to, and while there are some anti-turtling inventives, there aren't really enough in my opinion. Another thing that felt kinda meh is the deployment slots. Most chapters cap you at 10 to 12, which is okay actually, but then 19 and 20 give you 18 slots and you kinda don't have that many good characters in the first place unless you grinded. It would be nice if deployment grew to like 14-15 as it went on, since that's about how many units I had chilling on the bench that I trained. One thing that was missing from FE7 that I missed talking about in the previous post is the strong weapons that are handed throughout the story. In FE6, you got the durandal really early, and if you wanted to use it all up, that was your choice. If you wanted to conserve it, that was your choice. You had the option to break it out in order to use it whenever you thought was necessary. And I'm glad that they sort of came back to this with FE8 handing you legendary weapons around chapter 15, then more as the rest of the end-game comes up. You get a lot more time to flex with them, which is nice since they're fun to use and feel like a good reward for hitting S rank in a weapon rank, alongside the added crit bonus that wasn't in FE7 AFAIK. It always felt weird how you got S ranks but then didn't get to use them until the final map, while here, you do. The obvious major additions to this entry are the open world map, and the branching promotions, and it feels like that's all I have left to talk about since I've already covered two GBA entries and mechanics are mostly more of the same. Starting with branching promotions, I don't really like these. In concept, they're cool. You can choose different classes over different playthroughs to get units who play differently. And yet, in practice, I find myself not really considering what each class offers because it's just not worth thinking about when there's a clear winner. If option A is always better than option B, is it truly an option? Going General Amelia is not you making a strategic choice, because it is always the wrong strategic choice. It is you saying that you like General Amelia. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't hate that this is in. At worst, you always pick the best one and then pick the other option to meme, what I'm saying is that I wish there was more of a reason to pick one over the other. If I had to suggest ways to make this happen, the main thing that comes to mind would be making stronger enemies. Classes like Sage and Sniper are supposed to be stronger than their mounted counterparts, and that is why they are on foot. However, in practice, there is nothing in the entire game that mage knight Lute can't kill that Sage Lute can kill. The difference is either higher than 5 magic would make a difference for, or it isn't there at all because both would kill. And even if that was the case, it would only come into effect in the very late game. By making stronger enemies, there is more of an incentive to go with stronger but less mobile classes. Lastly, the map. I don't particularly like it, but I do like what it brings to the table. Let me explain. In the previous titles, you had to sort of plan out your shopping trips. FE7 in particular has a rather frustratingly long chunk of the map dedicated to you not being able to buy cheap weapons like irons and 1-2 range. You need to buy in a huge bulk, and if you run out, fuck you. In FE8, because you can purchase things from the map, this isn't really an issue. And while I don't mind shopping trips myself, this is a neat little accessibility feature. A first time player won't find himself running out of weapons and suffering pretty hard in chapters where he fucked himself a few chapters earlier by not stocking up enough on the relevant weapons. That said, I feel like the average person's problem with the map isn't buyable weapons, but rather the grinding. I personally don't have a problem with it being present, because the game does not feel like it was balanced around you having the ability to grind skirmishes or grinding in the tower. It is balanced around it if you're doing post-game content, but post-game content is a grind in itself, so that's okay. It adds a nice layer of accessibility for new players where if they're finding it too hard, they can with a certain granularity make the game easier for them. I would never play that way, unless I specifically felt like grinding, but the option being there is more than fine. And heck, you could argue that the option was there in FE1,3, 5, 6, and 7 as well via the arena system. As long as you keep your betting conservative, it is nearly impossible to die in an arena. So is making it easier to grind really a big deal? Personally, I don't think so. Conclusion Sacred Stones is a pretty comfy game. While I didn't vibe with its gameplay as much as 4-5-6 this time around, I wonder if it's because I'm coming off two other GBA games rather than Sacred Stones itself, because looking at it with more detail, I think it's quite good. It also has one of my favorite stories in the series, carried on Lyon and Eirika's massive backs. If I had to recommend an entry point into the series for anyone, it might very well be this one. It has minor flaws, but I'd say it's right behind FE6 in terms of gameplay, while being far above it in story.
Bored and was reading two plus two again and wanted to repost my black jack degen story. I got into poker like we all did, watching that fat clown moneymaker luck his way into $2 million on ESPN. Was never that good, would run up an initial deposit into thousands, move up stakes, move higher, then lose it all. I existed for awhile at 5/10 NL on FTP for a couple of years, but I remember taking a shot at 25/50 and losing to that drunk Layne Flack, or at least someone who was playing under this name. Looking back on it now, how those guys just stole from us, still bothers me to this day. And not one of them ever got arrested. I heard Ferguson even dared to show his face at the WSOP and not one person knocked his ass out. Anyway, I digress. The point is I was a break-even player at best. Understood the stats, could even read people, but had no interest in playing if the stakes didn’t scare me. And we all know what happens when you continuously play over your head or with scared money. Once Black Friday came, I got my occasional poker fix in AC. I started at the Trop, played a bunch at the Taj, but once I discovered Borgata I never went anywhere else. Over the years I had my mini degen moments, sitting at 5/10 NL with my last $800, spinning it up to $5k and then dumping at blackjack, etc. By 2014, I would only go to AC once in awhile and only blow a few thousand I could afford. Until early that summer I got dumped by a girl I assumed I would marry. She was beautiful, came from the same background as me and was wealthy. I just figured this was finally it. As my wife now tells me, I was a clueless dick to her and deserved to get dumped, but at the time I was shattered. If anyone has been in love and has been dumped, you know the empty sorrow, the soul crushing despair, the feeling like what is the freaking point of even living anymore. I took those feelings with me back to the Borgata. I would be itching all week till Friday, try to sneak out of work early, catch the greyhound and ride down to AC. Catch the shuttle or taxi to Borgata and start playing any game I could get into. This went on for some weeks. I was about break even, but break even to a degen is like losing to a normal person. I was getting ancy and poker was too slow a grind. So I remember taking some amount to the blackjack tables and losing it. I then remember thinking its only Friday night and I am not going back to my place and do nothing for the rest of the weekend. I decide to cash advance the max on my card. I think it was around $20k, or perhaps a little less after fees. You feel like such a degen when they fingerprint you on those advances. Anyways, I somehow blow $20k at blackjack in under an hour. I have no idea how someone can do that. I remember being a mixture of angry, sad and disgusted. I do not want to go home and I know have lost the most amount of money at one sitting as I ever had. I think at that point my biggest one night loss was when I had bet a 2 game parlay for $8k. So this was a huge loss figure for me. You know at the Borgata how there are the low limit blackjack tables in one area, and right behind there is this like raised dais of a room where the high limit tables are, and to the right of that is the “credit” office. Well I freaking walked in there and asked for a $20k marker. I was kind of hoping they would laugh at me and tell me to get lost. I have never been in there or knew how any of it worked. Sometimes I dream about that night and wish they had thrown me out or arrested me or just told me to eff off. Instead this manager guy asked me to log into my bank accounts. I showed him my checking account, my investment account and my 401k account. Logged into them with passwords right on this random computer like a total degen. I had around $40k in checking, $150k in investment account and even more in 401k, so this guy couldn’t green light the $20k fast enough. I took the cash and went right to the blackjack table in the high limit room next to the credit place, right in front. I remember changing the cash and getting started. My whole body was shaking, but when you are in degen mode you just don’t give a crap about the consequences. You just want to get even. I wish I could tell you some of the hands I got. I wish I remembered anything specific. What I do remember are snap shots. I remember at one point putting purple chips in three spots. I remember playing every base and splitting ten’s like a total psychopath. I remember going on the biggest heater of my life. I remember getting tapped on the shoulder by the pitboss. At that point I was kind of freaking out. They must assume I am cheating. They must think I am underage. I look to the pitboss and ask him what the problem is. He laughs and goes you know what the problem is sir. I say I have not done anything wrong search me. He looked at me quizzically for a second, I don’t know what he was thinking, but then he gestured to the dealer. He said dude, we are out of chips, we’ve called for a refill. I had literally won the vast majority of the chips from the dealer. I take this as a sign and cash the heck out. I insta pay back my marker, pay my credit card advance right away and go to my room. I had sat down with $20k, gotten to a low of like $10k and run it up to just over a $100k. I remember walking out of the high limit bj room so happy, but thinking very briefly I wonder if this is the worst thing to happen to me. The thing with betting big is that when you try to go back to your normal stakes, it feels like a giant waste of time. Like my old stakes were beneath me. I take my new massive roll and start sitting in games I had no business being in. I would play the large PLO games they had, I would play the highest limit poker game they had. I remember once night around the superbowl, the one where the pats beat the seahawks at the last minute, playing in a room next to the high limit poker room in the back of the Borgata poker room. It was like this room off to the side with a gate. I had never even noticed it before. I was playing in some massive PLO game and had no idea what I was doing. I remember playing with Shaun Deeb, who is really fat irl, and this kid called Paul Volpe. They kicked my ass so hard. I remember playing in 2/4 stud and the game revolved around this old angry guy named Norman. There was also a douchey pro named Mike I think in the game. He would take the most crap I have ever heard. Anyways, after floating around for a few months randomly jumping from plo to stud to high limit and no limit games, I discovered the 2/4 mixed game that ran Friday to Sunday. And I was totally hooked. The games were so crazy compared to the boring hold em I was used to. I learned about triple draw, badugi, badacey, super stud, ace-to-five, and other crazy games I don’t even remember. When I first joined those games, I think people assumed I was good. I was young looking and played such high stakes. But within a month they all realized I was a new fish. The funny thing is at those stakes they tell you right to your face. I was told several times, there is always a seat for me, I was in way over my head, I am bleeding money. Compared to other younger players I was a real pleasure to play with. Respectful, never threw a tantrum, no showboating. I think a couple of the pros even felt like they liked me. I remember one pro, Jordan, tried to teach me the games and how to improve, but I didn’t want to hear it. I just wanted to drink and splash around and be a freaking moron. I slowly blew through the epic black jack winnings and began taking out more $20k markers. I remember I had just gotten off the phone with the Borgata one night and my roommate walked into the living room and was like, dude did you just wire $20k to a casino? Wtf is wrong with you. I eventually started playing in underground games in the city. I blew about $40k in those games and looking back on it, I was clearly getting cheated. But even knowing that I still played lol. I also think I was the only degen mark they ever encountered that paid off his debts on time. They even asked me once to stop writing such large checks, could I please make it out in $5k increments lol. After blowing another $20k one weekend, I went back to my room and looked in the mirror. Disheveled, grumpy but most importantly just unhappy. The thrill of high stakes was gone. It was not a rush anymore. It felt like every week I would work and then go to AC to get kicked in the face. I lost so much cash in the 2/4 and 3/6 mixed games that I cannot blame it on run bad or variance. Someone has to be a real terrible player to lose that much in those games. Look I understand the pros probably cross booked each other, soft played and squeezed me – but I lost something like 25 straight sessions. When I finally walked away from the disaster, I had lost $100k in blackjack profit and another ~$325k of my own money playing the pit, high stakes mixed games and games in the city. The amazing thing is I was able just walk away. I have not been back to AC since the end of 2014 / early 2015. The money I lost was all the money I had saved since 2010, busting my ass as an analyst and associate. I am grateful I finally stopped before liquidating my retirement accounts, which I had been contemplating at one point. I remember wanting to kill myself during the degen run, but never really had the courage to do it. I wonder if the regs at the mixed games think I am dead in a ditch somewhere, blowing all that money so regularly every week and then never showing up ever again.
ANSWERS: Mastering engineer Alain Paul (Tommy Four Seven, Paula Temple) responds to your AMAs
Back in May, I posted the AMA for mastering engineer and producer Alain Paul. Since Alain isn't on social media, we collaborated together offline to compile his responses to all your questions. Here are his answers, and there are some real nuggets of truth hidden here. I highly recommend you read through them all if you are at all interested in techno production or mastering in general. What traits would you consider important for a person, independently of his (production) skills? What would be one of the best skills/traits to have as a person which can be passed on to your production mindset and your overall sound quality? (via maka (Discord)) Someone who wants to be a mastering engineer should have the personality of a robot. The more like a robot you are the more tracks you can master. For me, not being a robot, I struggle to work on tracks in a conveyor belt fashion and absolutely need to take lots of breaks and days off so my capacity is far lower than some other engineers who I know who sit there 8 hours a day and bosh tracks out like machines. But that’s mastering. If you are asking about creativity, I find that the opposite is important. Don’t be a robot. Be weird, wonderful, unpredictable, arrogant and all the things your average employer doesn’t want to hear….. but you need consistency and perseverance otherwise you will never make it. Most guys I know who have success have been going at it for many years. When it comes to techno, what steps do you usually follow to master a track and are there issues we should consider that most tracks have? (viaCaen83) Often the kick isn’t strong enough. Hats are too loud. Stereo imaging is not mono compatible. They are the main problems I see on a routine basis. What are the top 3 most common mix critique fixes you give, excluding simple balancing (hat too loud etc) and too hot mixes (peaks too high/clipping)? (viaArry_Propah) Well, hats too loud is probably the third most common. Hats could also mean in this context shakers or any kind of high perc which is not sitting in the mix. Mostly that is just levels but it can also be EQ. Often people will try and view their mix in pigeon holes. They want the kick to occupy a certain frequency range, the top line to be in another frequency range and the hats to be in another etc. But the end result of this method of mixing is very often an over-EQed sound and I will usually get the stems and try make the frequency response of the sounds more balanced again and bring back some of the detail lost in the mix by this style of over EQing. Second most frequent thing hat got to be weird stereo imaging / mono compatibility issues. Especially with less experienced artists, there is a tendency to put ultra stereo widening stuff on all the sounds or even on the whole mix. This is one of the worst things you can do while mixing and I reject a lot of mixes because of this. It is far better to mix completely mono than mix “over wide”. But of course the best way is to mix with a strong mono image with supplementary stereo effects to make it sound nicer, but going crazy with the stereo invariably kills the mix. And in first place, by far the most common one is not getting the kick to sit right in the mix. And that isn’t just a level thing. Over the years I had to deal with a lot of kick problems and find a lot of different solutions, anywhere from EQ to gating to sample triggering. The kick is the most important part of most dance tracks so it has to sound right. Is there any approach we can do during mixing that would make master EQing come out better? Things we should avoid or things we can push (viabrucereyne) Every track is different and everyone’s mixing tastes are different but some general rules do apply especially to techno or electronic dance music generally, such as: the kick is often the foundation of the track, if any other element of the mix is significantly louder than the kick, or the kick seems quiet, you should probably reconsider or at least be aware that this choice is unusual. HiHats should not be too loud. If you turn the mix up loud and the hats hurt your ears then they are too loud. If you have some kind of sub bass or bass line, this should generally not be louder either in terms of perception or peak level than the kick drum. If it is, the bass might be too loud or your kick might be too quiet. Jungle / Drum and Bass can have exceptions to the kick / bass ratio but techno can rarely have a feeble kick and still sound great. whats the biggest advantage and disadvantage of a multiband compressor vs a single band compressor as a main "glue" compressor in the master chain. (viagombocrec) I find the biggest disadvantage of using a multi band compressor on the sum is that it generally will just add huge amounts of mush and transient degradation and significantly decrease the quality of the mix, so I generally will stay away. But the advantage is that it can sometimes save a poor mix where the session has been lost and there aren’t any stems, if there is some weird sound that jumps out etc. Using it as some type of “glue” though is generally a bad idea in my eyes and I see a lot of inexperienced people doing this with bad results. Just because you can get things louder it doesn’t mean it is better. Very rarely is multi band on the sum a desirable thing in professional mastering. What would be your number one tip for creating a sparkly high end that isn't harsh? Is it simply a case of some choice eq moves? Is a very focused compression band on the high end a good idea? (viaWilllockyear) I think this question is a compositional question disguised as a technical question. Let me explain…. Go and switch on a 909 or equivalent, software or hardware it doesn’t really matter, run your finger across all the steps on the hihat channel and press play and listen loud to the constant 16th note hats. After a very short amount of time it should start to fatigue your ears an insane amount. You might feel your ears “compressing” or just feel like you don’t want to listen to this because it is unpleasant. Now, if you dial in a very loud, long, full, bassy 4/4 kick, the hats will hurt your ears much less because you aren’t just getting blasted in one frequency range. The difference is huge and you haven’t used any EQ, compression or studio tricks, it is simply compositional. Back to mastering…. I will sometimes get a mix where the artist thinks the top end is harsh, then I listen to the mix and it has constant loud hats. Well it is not even about the mastering or mixing process, constant loud hats with no variation are just simply harsh. And it made worse if you have a very short, tight kick and not that much bass going on in the track generally because there is no frequencies from the bass balancing the high frequency assault of the hats. So rather than thinking about reaching for a compressor or EQ, try to change it compositionally by using side chaning on the hats or making the kick fuller or longer, or adding a thicker bassline, or sparsen out the hats a bit. When you have a great sounding mix in terms of composition, then it is much easier to get a great sounding mix technically and much less work is needed in mastering. But if you’ve done all than and are still looking for a super crisp top end, there are some tricks. Either using stuff like shimmery reverbs on your pads etc or try bussing some of the percussion sounds to two busses. A wet bus and a dry bus. On the wet bus you can boost the high frequency EQ a lot into a distortion. Then turn down the wet bus very low in the mix and feed it in until it thickens the highs but doesn’t become obvious. What are some more creative techniques for gluing a track together besides reverb and compression (i.e. if you want to keep a track as dry as possible)? (viarorykoehler) You say besides compression…. Well I totally get that it is all too common to slap an expensive compressor across the sum and fool yourself into thinking it sounds better because it is expensive. The more someone pays for a hardware compressor or the more shiny the plugin interface, the more people tend to hear magical “glue” properties. I personally think much of that is nonsense. Simply running everything through a stereo compressor isn’t the solution to sticking your mix together. The solution is crafting a nice mix and more importantly the compositional process itself. But this is exactly where compression comes in. If you aren’t using side chain compression, or using your modular system or Ableton modulation sources to really create dynamics and interplay between sounds then your mix won’t sound glued together because the elements in your tune aren’t vibing together. If you use side chain compression, gate dynamics, VCA and VCF modulation with LFOs and subtle envelopes from loads of triggers, your going to create a huge amount of dynamics as part of the compositional process and this will serve to glue everything together as part of the compositional process. And you will never want more glue as part of the mix because the tune will already vibe. In the mastering process, if a tune needs more glue, I will never run it though a stereo compressor or feed in reverb or whatever tricks other people reckon create glue. Generally I am going to be asking for stems and I will add some dynamics and interplay between the sounds using whatever modulations are appropriate for the tune. The biggest thing I struggle with is lack of visibility below <50Hz (with my nearfields) and how that impacts my productions. Given the importance of these frequencies in techno it feels like painting with a blindfold. Other than cross referencing with headphones/subpac is there any other advice you could offer? (viaMrSkruff) You just need decent headphones. Don’t try and look at the sound on an FFT. I know some mastering engineers who religiously look at their FFTs to understand what is happening at lower frequencies but this is a total amateur mistake unless they are using very specialist software. This is because each bar on a spectrum analysis chart represents one “bin”. And if you switch to a line graph, you don’t get any more detail, it is still just the same bins but with a line drawn between each. The amount of bins are determined by your window size… it is not uncommon to use 1024 bins across the spectrum analyser. Think about that, only a thousand data points across all audio frequencies. Mostly commonly the accuracy is linear. This means, to cut a long technical story short, you only have a few data points under 50Hz. Maybe you might have only two data points, it depends on the window size. So what are you going to find out with two data points? Basically it tells you almost nothing. It is totally useless. So you might think, OK well then why don’t I ramp up the window size to get more accuracy? You can do that, you could have a window size of a million. The problem is, it will take a million samples of audio playback before you have a reading so you will have an unusably slow spectrum analyser. So there is a huge tradeoff between speed and accuracy. Either the FFT is so slow you can’t use it, or it is so inaccurate that you can’t use it. Either way you can’t use it for low frequencies. So get some decent headphones. If you are on a budget, get some medium price Sony ear buds and you can at least use them to listen to music on the train. If budget, size and weight is less important, grab a pair of Audeze LCD2 - and I’d check out the closed back version too - or other good planar magnetic headphones. On the mastering chain, do you cut/roll off frequencies below 20hz? On the mastering chain or kick/bass groups, do you mono the low frequencies? For example, I often use the 'Utility' in Ableton to make <100-150hz mono. (viazimoofficial) In mastering there is nothing that you do just because “you are supposed to always do it this way”. So I do not cut frequencies below 20hz as a routine thing. But if there is a DC offset, which seems to be more common with my house / disco clients as they run their mixes through all sorts of weird and wonderful vintage gear, I will use low shelving or high passing to get rid of unwanted stuff outside of the intended audio band. Narrowing the stereo image in the bass frequencies is something I do a lot of when artists have an unfocused stereo field. There is little benefit to having “wide stereo bass”. You struggle to cut it to vinyl, it leads to unpredictable results in clubs and in my opinion it doesn’t even sound good anyway. I generally try not to have a “sound” as a mastering engineer, other than well balanced and professional, but one thing I will happily accept as a characteristic of any “sound” I might have, would be you don’t get swirly, murky mud bass with my masters. No mud shall pass. How often are you EQing to correct something in a mix as oppose to EQing just for tone? In regards to EQing for tone- if this is something done often- are there certain frequencies that you adjust/accentuate based on the genre you’re working with or based on an individual song basis? For example- many modern songs have the “smiley face curve” on the analyzer - bumped lows, scooped mids, bumped highs (viabrucereyne) Generally if there is something wrong in the mix, I will request stems or give mix feedback. I will only be very invasive with EQ if the client has lost the original session and it sounds bad and I need to be heavy handed to save a bad mix. The sound I shoot for in terms of tone, I am always looking for a balanced sound. I never EQ with a deliberate smiley curve just because that is “somehow supposed to be good”, because if you do this you lose the power and details of the mids. If you always EQ bright then you lose the warmth of the lows. If you always add lots of bass you lose the clarity of the highs. The only way which I think sounds good is to have a balanced sound. However, if you look at different genres on a spectrum analyser you might notice different kinds of general patterns but the variation is too big between songs in each genre to have that as any useful indicator of the way you should master a track. So stuff like EQ matching is all pretty much just nonsense in my opinion. Different styles and subgenres have varying tonal and dynamic characteristics. How do you as a mastering engineer account fojudge this in determining whether a submitted track is within parameters of a "good mix"? E.g. Harsh Mentor - Salve is quite different from Tommy Four Seven - Dead Ocean. (viaBedsitAudio) Some mastering engineers do what I call “genre curving” and I used to be guilty of this myself when I first started out with mastering before I really knew what I was doing. When I first started out I was using Izotope Ozone back when it was quite new, I’m pretty sure it was version 3. Anyway you could take “snapshots” of tracks and I took a bunch of snapshots of reference house and techno tracks and figured out that they were very similar how they looked. So I just used to match the curve of the track I was attempting to master, to the reference. And that was it. This is how I started off around about 15 years ago trying to understand how to master stuff but obviously this is not very professional. Sooner or later I realised that if a track had a longer kick drum it would have more bass on the curve than if it had a shorter kick drum, which lead me to reduce the bass too much on the long kick drums and boost the bass too much with the short kick drums and then it would either sound feeble or distort easily, and I wouldn’t get the right volume and it didn’t sound very balanced. So then I felt like I had no more reference point and no benchmark to achieve any consistency….. as my attempt to achieve consistency ironically just ended up making things sound even less consistent! The solution is that you need to listen to a ton of music critically and you slowly develop an ear for what a balanced track sounds like. It’s like trying to ride a bike. At first it seems hard and you don’t really know what you are doing, but once you have developed the feel for it, you are able to do it. But just because you can ride a bike it doesn’t mean you are going to be good enough to ride a halfpipe. For that you need lots and lots of practice and there is absolutely no shortcut. If you try and drop in on a huge halfpipe first time because you have read a book on BMX, then you will just hurt yourself. Same with mastering. There is no technical knowledge or trick you can use, it is all just lots of practise. What do you believe are the biggest trends in techno production and mastering right now? Where are we heading? (viateegeeteegeeteegee) Mastering is all over the place in techno because you have a mixture of engineers. People sending their stuff to professional mastering studios and getting a proper job done but also artists trying to do it themselves and ending up with weird results. When working with someone new, they might send me a badly mastered track as a reference and say “I want this loudness” and also send me a professionally mastered track and say “but I want the richness and clarity of this track”. And I have to explain that the loud one is distorting and sounds like someone throwing a bag of spanners down the stairs whereas the professionally mastered one is slightly quieter but actually sounds great. Anyone can make anything sound loud by smashing it through a distortion plugin and boosting the high frequencies but that isn’t the way to make something sound great. The problem is, when DJs play a mixture of unpro mastered tracks with professional tracks, either they have to use the gain knobs (which of course any good DJ would normally do) or the unpro mastered tracks will sound louder. There is a tendency to hear a louder track as sounding better just because it is louder (this is the classic mastering loudness war thing) but the issue in techno is that it is possible to just run an entire track through a distortion unit whereas more other genres you can’t. So there is a practical limit of common sense in most other genres but in techno, especially with the tougher stuff, there is seemingly no need for common sense in certain parts of the scene when people think the clipping and insane distortion sound good. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with listening to a square wave if that is your thing, but you just cannot expect to get a richer more complex dynamic track to sound equally loud. Most decent artists absolutely understand this though and don’t care about the extra loudness when it comes at the cost of sacrificing everything else Given that modern techno requires such a cohesive sound, do you recommend producers work with comp/limiting on the master channel pre mastering? Does you have artists that give you looser mixes to allow you to do higher quality comp/limiting in the mastering stage? (viateegeeteegeeteegee) Most artists I work with use a limiter (or just straight clipping) on the sum while they are composing and mixing the track. You can go as crazy as you want with limiting while working on your music. But the second you send it to be mastered you need to bounce the tracks with the limiter turned off and any compressor or saturation you have on the sum need to definitely be turned off otherwise I will reject the mixes. Sometimes the artist will send a reference with a limiter and it might even be louder than my master. But the artist can pretty much always hear that my master sounds better and more balanced and so I do not try and “beat the loudness” of their demo masters. Everyone I work with values a high quality end result more than a crap result which is extremely loud. And I know this because I refuse to work with artists that only want loud. But sure, when you are composing feel free to use limiting and I actually do recommend working with or at least checking your mix with a loud limiter setting because you can often pick up very quickly on soggy sounding kicks or unreasonably loud bass etc. Do techno producers these days tend to cut too much low end in their mixes? What tips would you give us for tighter low end that would work in a club setting? (viasonicloophole) There is not one trend in the mixes I receive. I’d say that over half the mixes are too dull and a very large amount are too bright. It is the vast minority which have perfect tonality. Some significant and increasing portion of the mixes I receive have nonsensical stereo widening and out-of-phase elements. The increase in use of stereo widening plugins is causing issues for people’s ability to mix nicely. The best bet is to uninstall any stereo widening plugins you have. If it sounds “super wide”, it is probably just out of phase and will disappear when played in mono leading to a low quality feeble mix. Always check mono. What is your all-time favourite techno track production wise (if it's more than one that's also fine ofc). (viaDr_eyebrow) There are so many tracks out there which just sound perfect in terms of their technical presentation / sound quality. This has been made very easy by artists using pristine quality sample library sounds in their music and the increasingly easy to use DAWs like Ableton. But when I listen to music, especially techno, it’s not the technical presentation which makes a track become one of my favourite, it is the creativity of the track and how it makes me feel. That’s why when I make my own music, I step well outside of the zone of being a mastering engineer and write stuff which doesn’t necessarily have the best sound quality but makes me feel something (like SHARDS - Three - A2). So my taste in techno in terms of my favourite tracks follow the same idea…. So for example I remember when Tommy Four Seven made Armed 3 a decade ago and I heard it in Berghain, that was something new for me and the track stuck with me as being this weird and brilliant anomaly of techno before anyone else was really doing that kind of sound. Or when Szare released Scored, that was a real favourite of mine at the time, whether you can call that strictly techno or not. Like stuff which you can’t work out if it is pretending to be techno but really isn’t or if it is actually techno but is just an anomaly. Who is to say? Ancient methods - Drop Out was the coolest thing when I first heard that. SØS Gunver Ryberg makes some crazy material. SNTS and Headless Horseman make some of my favourite dark rolling tracks. Maybe I’m just influenced by the fact that I’ve worked with those artists but I will often hear one track somewhere and immediately fall in love with the creativity amid a cloud of good sounding average tracks. Making your track sound good in a technical way is important, but the creativity to make something which breaks the mould is much cooler. What techno genre is hardest to master? Industrial techno has harsh transients, melodic techno has a larger dynamic range, etc. (viadangayle) To me everything is the same difficulty to master in terms of subgenres. It isn’t really the style of music it is the specific track which might be difficult and it generally has more to do with the person who composed and mixed the track. A pro melodic techno producer will submit an equally good quality mix to a pro industrial sounding producer. It is generally the inexperienced producer which create more of a challenge. Is it easieharder to master tracks that were created fully in the box vs tracks that come from modular or other live performances? (viadangayle) Not really, it really depends on the material. Actually modular setups can sometimes create weird frequencies and be harder to manage than purely digital in the box sourced sounds. Also you can get a higher noise floor with modular gear to the point of it being really problematic. Despite this I am a huge fan of eurorack. What is the best book on mixing and mastering? Old or new. Analog and digital. Thank you. (viaMILOFUZZ1) Books don't teach you how to mix, an internship in a decent studio does. I've done a bunch of unpaid internships in my time and by the time I joined Calyx Mastering in 2014 I thought I was pretty good, up to that point I had been earning a living from Mastering for around 6 years and out of the many applicants and after their very difficult job application mastering test, I was the one that got the job. Then the first day I started working there I had my ego deflated and suddenly felt like a complete amateur with the super high quality expectations there. By that time I already knew all the theoretical stuff you'd read in a book - it was the experience of working in a team of elite engineers which taught me the biggest lessons, not the theoretical stuff. How do you feel about using the following on the master buss: Saturation, Stereo widening, Mono-izing low frequencies, Low cuts between 10-50 Hz, Hight cuts between 15-20+ kHz, Using AD style clipper at the end, Multiband or standard compression for glu, (viafukinay) Saturation: generally a bad idea unless it is in parallel Stereo widening: disaster, don’t do this Mono bass: generally a good idea Low cuts: generally not necessary unless you have a DC offset or problematic stuff High cuts: not generally necessary unless you have TV frequencies Clipping: bad idea Multiband compressor: bad idea Stereo compressor: generally a bad idea unless in parallel In a untreated room, while using sonarworks or ik multimedia Arc2, how accurate can the mix and mastering be? (viaSonictrade) Speaker correction does just that, it corrects the speakers. It doesn’t correct the room. Stuff which claims that it is room correction is generally a gimmick. This is because a poorly treated bad sounding room has problems in both the frequency domain and more importantly time domain. So you set your mic up to measure the response at your listening position and you do the sweeps and come up with a correction curve. Great, you have corrected the frequency response if you head is exactly where the mic was. Move a bit to the left or right, or back or forwards and you lose the sweet spot. Now sitting in the new position you might have a worse (deeper valley or higher peak) than you had with the room correction turned off because you may have moved out of a high pressure standing wave into low pressure in respect to those frequencies. So where you sit is very important in determining whether you are going to get the “flat” frequency response or a completely messed up one. In practise, if you stay generally in the right position the frequency response might possibly be good enough to work with but then you have a whole new problem which can be even worse than having an uneven frequency response… that is the problem of resonances. Especially in the lower and lower mid frequencies. This makes certain notes sound longer than they are. If you have a resonance around 50-60Hz you will always have a completely inaccurate understanding of how your kick sounds and when you play your mix elsewhere it is possible that your kick sounds very short and feeble whereas it sounded huge and beefy in your studio room. This is why speaker correction solutions should be seen as supplements to room treatment and second in line, not first in line. Getting some bass traps and basic acoustic treatment doesn’t cost huge amounts… if you have a modular system you can probably afford to treat your room. But if you are on a budget it is very easy to make DIY solutions using rockwool based DIY traps. Just make sure to use a mask and a very thin layer of plastic under the fabric to keep the fibres from escaping through the fabric and being breathed in. Kind of curious the theory behind why one of my mixes that hits at -8 LUFS sounding softer than another mix at roughly the same LUFS. Is there an element in my mix that is hitting harder, say my kick, that is louder in one and taking up more of my headroom? (viaDudemanbro88) LUFS is not an accurate determiner of loudness despite the fact that it was designed specifically to do just that and everyone now seems to think it is a more accurate determiner of loudness than their own ears. It is actually quite difficult to create a calculated number to say how loud humans will perceive sound. Traditionally everyone has used RMS but it is well know that RMS is very bass influenced. That is, if you have a very bassy recording and a very trebbly recording and then normalised them to the same RMS value, the bassy recording would sound much quieter. So the broadcast industry experts came up with a solution using the K weighting system to deemphasise the influence of bass frequencies on the meter readings. And this is what LUFS is. It isn’t a perfect system and it doesn’t even come close to resembling Fletcher Munson curves. I personally don’t care all that much about LUFS. It is useful in broadcast standards but not so useful in mastering for club music, at least not yet. Any tips to avoid the dreaded "mud" when trying to put together an extremely bass heavy track? I really seem to like tracks that have a lot going on around that 40hz mark, but its a very hard area to monitor and mix properly! (viaNothingSuss1) 40Hz is a bit too low to reproduce well on many club systems. People think that club systems are big and powerful and can rumble strongly at any frequency they throw at it. The truth is, while club PA systems are generally very big and powerful, it takes a crazy amount of power and also good room acoustics to successfully reproduce frequencies in the 30-40Hz range with visceral loudness and low distortion. If you test drive your tracks regularly in clubs you will see that staying closer to the 50Hz - 65Hz range for kick frequencies is often a safer bet. You need to turn those very low frequencies up loudly in your mix to get them to cut through and then you end up with mud. So it is less of a mix thing and more of a compositional thing to create a mix with low amounts of mud. Or you could also celebrate the mud. Maybe listen to some Sunn 0))). What is your opinion whether mastering process should influence how well and pleasant the music sounds, or only and exclusively affect the loudness and conformance to standards? (viafourthtuna) I generally work with the artist to achieve the best possible sound, whatever that takes, but I will not intervene in the creative / compositional process. If you think that it is maybe sort of unfair that some people get external help in making their tracks sound better, then I’d say that, although having a professional mix and mastering job is very beneficial, if the actual tune isn’t good in terms of artistry, then no amount of mastering is going to make it a decent track. Is analog mastering better than digital? (viaCaen83) Today there is no such thing as analogue mastering. There is mastering exclusively with hardware…. In which case you might use a hardware limiter such as the Waves L2 but this is digital not analogue. Then you have to convert it back to digital at some point if you want to release the music digitally anyway. If you take analogue mastering to mean analogue EQ and compression, then what happens if you don’t need to use compression? Then all you mean by analogue mastering is analogue EQ. In which case, is analogue EQ better than digital? I’d say not necessarily. I do use analogue EQ but I don’t know of any analogue EQ that can be used as a ganged stereo dynamic EQ. So limiting yourself to using only analogue EQ would be a huge downgrade. In short, in modern times, analogue mastering (whatever that is taken to mean) is generally worse in my opinion than a hybrid or fully digital approach. With plug-ins becoming more and more powerful, Acustica emulating high end tube EQs, and even Softube with the 1:1 Weiss EQ and Compressor, do you think mastering will ever change from analog to hybrid, with just converters and plug-ins? (viasecus_official) It already changed years ago. Very few people do 100% analogue mastering because the limiters are pretty much always going to be digital and the end format is pretty much always digital too. You only generally get all-analogue mastering for speciality projects, like recording to tape and then mastering from tape to vinyl with no digital gear. So in this sense, the whole mastering industry had already gone hybrid many years ago. In 2020 I’d hazard a guess at saying that there are more digital mastering engineers than there are people using analogue EQ. The Weiss gear by the way is, and always was, digital. If what you mean is not analogue but “hardware”. Well I don’t really know how meaningful that is. If you have the L2 or the Weiss stuff running in a box in a rack or on your computer if it is the same code processing the digital signal. In fact many engineers sold their hardware L2s because the newer plugins sounded better. What are some of your favourite tracks you mastered and can you tell what exactly you like hearing in them and mastering them. (viaarneleadk) Tommy Four Seven’s album Veer was an especially cool album to master. To me that album is an obvious landmark in modern techno. Because of the complexity of the production and the massive amount of layers and detail Tommy likes to use in his tracks it was a big challenge to get sounding as weighty as it needed to be whilst preserving all of the details, clearing some of the mud caused by the complexity in the low end, getting the optimal stereo image to sound wide and full but at the same time be very mono compatible. It had to be loud yet dynamic and hard hitting but graceful in the detail of the sounds. It had to do everything all at once which is the most difficult thing possible in mastering because mastering is normally a balancing act. What is the difference between tracks you get from seasoned professionals (Paula Temple, T47) vs those you get from new producers? (viadangayle) Generally the quality of the mixes are instantly recognisable and they don’t make common errors like having the hihats far too loud in the mix etc. Also they know what works in a club and what will cut through on the sound systems and they won’t compose tracks with sounds which don’t translate well in those environments. Beyond the music itself you can generally tell someone who is a pro by the lack of concern for control over the mastering process. When I get a track from one of my long term record labels or artists, a wetransfer email will turn up in my inbox with no note. I master whatever it is and send the masters back and invoice them. They pay the invoice within a week and that is the end of the process, no revisions. With new producers, the same kind of job will take 20 emails and maybe a revision or two after I have requested stems and given mix feedback. From a mastering engineer's perspective, should producers have their tracks mastered before shopping them to labels, or should they leave that up to the label itself? (viadangayle) Generally labels like to get their stuff mastered by their own preferred mastering guy and they could even suggest changes to the tracks before they signed them. So there is a reasonably high chance that you will not actually release the masters you pay to get done, and they will need to be redone. However, the question is whether having the tracks mastered so they sound their best, might actually have gotten the attention of the label… maybe if it had not been mastered and sounded a bit more rough, the label may have overlooked it. I would generally advise mastering your stuff if you are confident with the tracks and have the budget as it could be the edge which gets you the deal. Do you master your own productions as Shards/These Hidden Hands, or are you too close to the music to be objective? (viadangayle) I have mastered every Shards and THH record. Objectivity comes with time away from listening to the music. You cannot make a track and master it the same evening but you can make an album, have a two week holiday and come back and master it with an increased amount of objectivity, not optimal amounts but enough to do a pretty good job if you can focus. Generally the test is, listen back in a year and if you think “oh shit” then you should probably ask another engineer next time. But with Shards and THH I still think I did a good job looking back, in fact I use one of my Shards tracks as a calibration / reference track and I think that our second THH album, Vicarious Memories, is one of the best album masters I’ve done and I use the track The Telepath as one of my most important references for testing new monitors and headphones. It seems to work for me but some other mastering engineers insist on having other people masters their own music. I guess it would be interesting to get another engineer to master the next THH record and then compare it with my own master to see if my objectivity really is impeded… but then again, last time I did that with a Shards track which came out on another label, I had to end up submitting my own master because I hated the master their engineer came up with.
Algos move the market in the short term, not retail/institutional/pension funds
My title of my post is the statement I stuck too from the very moment this selloff started. I've stayed consistent with this belief the entire time, whether we go up or down. If you just wanted any more proof, take a look at the Twitter link, as an additional piece of evidence. It's the same case in the recent up moves (the futures are contributing to the majority of the recent up move). https://mobile.twitter.com/bespokeinvest/status/1248368169091239937 Retail, institutional investors, pension funds, etc. - they don't trade overnight futures. However you know who does? Stat arb algos as well as option trading firms/hedge funds/prop trading firms/bank risk-mitigation algos. For example if a hedge fund was put into a dicey risk situation, they turn on these algos to offload risk overnight. If they can't sell credit risk, they have to do it elsewhere like in ES futures. If an option market maker is short gamma and realizes oh crap, this is gonna cause me to be super long tomorrow with this move in ES, I've gotta hedge and turn on my overnight algo to sell first so I get less long deltas overnight. So when you guys want to ask "who in the world is even selling" as we sold off and now "who in the world is even buying" as we go up, it's the algos. You are right, not many actual people are buying these days. It's the algos, and when I say algos, I mean the risk/liquidity algos. Do you want to know why the algos are buying now? It's simple. Jerome Powell said he's buying credit ETFs. If you are a market maker, you have to sell these ETFs to them. Now you have to find a beta hedge. What's the best way to find that beta hedge? Buy ES futures. This then causes SPY to open higher. Now, if your algo was fast enough, you could have front ran the FED by buying HYG and JNK (this is why their NAV is trading at a massive premium), but if you weren't, well you get desperate as you get picked off from being short credit, so now you have to buy ES, SPY, and anything else you can. You might have to then buy SPX/SPY puts with it since you then have to protect your now new ES/SPY longs (which you didn't actually want to buy but were "forced" to buy),, which is why VIX hasn't dropped that much relative to how much SPY has gone up. It's all an algorithmically driven market. This is why the entire market, on BOTH the down move and the now up move, has decoupled from the economy. So no, you guys may think people are FOMOing in. That's not true. Most investors aren't FOMOing in right now. The algos have just gone out of control on both the down and up moves and it's all technical. Correlation (with other assets like credit and bonds), positioning (short squeeze and forced liquidations), option gamma (short gamma makes moves bigger), and short term stat arb strategies dominate the market short term. Retail and even big firms like Blackrock or Berkshire do not. Fundamentals win out long term. It may be months for SPY, and it is years for individual companies. No short term movement is ever controlled for by actual people wanting to put on a position. As I said a month ago when we were selling off, if Citadel and Renaissance Technologies wanted to hold up the entire market for a day, they easily could. They may not want to if it's not in their favor, but they easily could. Two firms. That's enough. That about sums up this market. (EDIT: this part may have been extremely confusing due to my bad wording, but if you read some of the posts below with like me, MasterCookSwag, and ArseneWankerer, I try to clear up my meaning) Another interesting and true fact? If options trading was ELIMINATED, the market would NEVER have sold off to 220 and it would have never skyrocketed back to almost 280 now. You may ask it's the same fundamentals right? Yes it is, the fundamentals of the economy and virus are the same, but elimiate options, and actually the entire market changes. Finally, to add one more thing, if this wasn't clear, there needs to be a catalyst for the first wave of selling and buying, but everything after that is purely technical. For example, the catalysts would have been the virus and the oil shock in the wave of selling. The catalyst would have been the Fed in the wave of buying. However, the catalyst in itself shouldn't have produced a very large move. For example, imagine we go from 290 -> 270 as an example. The catalyst, if only traded by itself, should have moved it from 290 -> 285. However, the algos, with all the technical details I described above, then moves it from 285 -> 270. This is what I call "forced selling" or "fake selling," and I've alluded to this in my other posts. There is also "fake buying" in the reverse. However, "fake selling" is usually more powerful because on average people leverage up to be more bullish than bearish in an average market environment. So yes, the initial catalyst is important, but it's not the reason for the majority of short term moves. I worked in the industry so I know this. You can call it a dirty secret, but hopefully if you see some actual statistics (see the above link on Twitter), you'll understand too. Fundamentals eventually will win longer term, but you know that saying about how the market can stay irrational before you stay solvent, well that's literally true because the market is algo driven. And as we progress into a state of better technology and even more options volume (think about how many people just recently started trading options) and other assets, this will be more and more true. One of these days, which could be like in 20+ years, if some black swan catalyst happens in conjunction with all of these technical factors I mentioned, you literally can see a 20% triple circuit breaker day immediately and like 90%+ of that drop would be all technical. I'll try to answer any questions to the best of my ability. EDIT: So for the people who are pointing out I don't understand what a MM is, let's do a easier example with NFL betting lines. Vegas acts like a MM in this regard. When an NFL line closes, is it 50/50 on both sides of the line? Nope. Vegas is still subject to risk. That's why sometimes they win or lose a lot of money depending on the outcome of an event, even though they are a "MM" too. Yes, Vegas will adjust a line based on some order flow, but it has their OWN MODELS TOO to determine what is fair, so they will adjust accordingly to the toxicity of the order flow. They will not just completely change their line so much so simply based pure order flow to keep on capturing 50/50. If you really think an options MM for example goes home every night flat every Greek, you are kidding yourself. The point I was making above is a firm such as Citadel does so much volume that they have a huge impact on the market, whereas if you take them out of the market for say a month, the entire market microstructure changes in options and equities. Notice in my original post, I clearly said that these firms may not actually want to do this in their favor, but I am using them as an example saying they do so much volume they can IF they wanted to (in options you are more likely to do so than equities). I was emphasizing this point to show you guys how algos play such a large role in the market. It's similar to Vegas when they act as a MM to betting lines. They control the betting line at the end of the day. They aren't always 50/50 on both sides with no risk. Of course, Citadel and SIG in options will adjust their vol curves based on some order flow, but at the end of the day, they control most of the options vol pricing, which indirectly also affects equities in a big way when we have massive short gamma moves. Similarily, apply it to sports betting. Let's say we shut down Vegas for a month and let only DraftKings price all the betting lines. I bet you the lines would be different and the volume would be different. Would they be completely different (like a -3 to a +3 line)? No, it wouldn't be that extreme, but it would be different and volume would be different and reaction to order flow would be different. Just think about it like this and apply it to trading. EDIT2: this was also my post like ~3 weeks ago when we were like ~230. Too bad investing deleted my context of my post (since it relates to a lot of what I said below), but you can still see my title and my comments, so you know what I was calling. Yea sure, you can say I got lucky, but I wasn't wrong. https://www.reddit.com/investing/comments/fjtkzh/we_are_very_close_to_the_bottom/ Addressing the above link, it's the type of logic that I am using in my below posts to probabilistically call bottoms like this. I'm never 100% sure (it's impossible to even be like 70%+ sure imo), but if you put some of this together (like when does the forced selling for the risk/liquidty algos stop?), you can actually call bottoms a bit easier than just winging it 50/50. Notice that this also coincided with March options expirations, as I mention, options are a big part. It also conincided with Jay Powell saying he's going to "alleviate the risks" (this is the forced selling from algos risk) he sees in the repo and now credit market. EDIT3: u/brokegambler posted this, if you want a real professional talking about it https://www.realvision.com/market-makers-and-coronavirus-the-mechanics-of-a-market-sell-off?utm_source=contributor&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=43900_HK_GH_CONT_W1_LINK EDIT4: ok last edit but https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/pinningthestrike.asp is just a quick example of one phenomenon that happens due to options and market makers. There's not going to be many articles you can find online on about what I'm talking about, but this pinning the strike phenomenon is a well-observed effect that's actually writen about of what market makers can do in terms of controlling price action due to their risk. Interestingly, what we have in our case the last month is the opposite of this in which rather than strikes getting pinned, strikes get blown through to cause the huge moves (since we've been in short gamma the last month). The article isn't super detailed, but can give you a general idea of one effect. EDIT5: sorry I'll add one last edit...I do realize maybe my wording was not the greatest in my post, and after reading it again, it does sound a bit "forceful" at times, so I apologize for that. This was meant to be more informative, but please don't take it as I am trying to force any one opinion on anyone. Apologize for that!
Bitch you better read if you want your Robinhood to look like this: gainz, bitch Why am I telling you this? Because I like your dumb asses. Even dickbutts like cscqb4. And because I like seeing Wall St. fucking get rekt. Y’all did good until now, and Wall St. is salty af. Just google for “retail traders” news if you haven’t seen it, and you’ll see the salty tears of Wall Street assholes. And I like salty Wall St. assholes crying like bitches. https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/retail-investors-are-crushing-hedge-funds-again That said, some of you here are really motherfucking dense & the sheer influx of retardation has been driving away some of the more knowledgeable folks on this sub. In fact, in my last post, y'all somehow managed to downvote to shit the few guys that really understood the points I was making and tried to explain it to you poo-slinging apes. Stop that shit yo! A lot of you need to sit the fuck down, shut your fucking mouth and listen. So I'm going to try and turn you rag-tag band of dimwits into a respectable army of peasants that can clap some motherfucking Wall Street cheeks. Then, I'm going to give you a mouthbreather-proof trade that I don't think even you knuckleheads can mess up (though I may be underestimating you). If you keep PM-ing me about your stupid ass losses after this, I will find out where you live and personally, PERSONALLY, shit on your doorstep. This is going to be a long ass post. Read the damned post. I don't care if you're dyslexic, use text-to-speech. Got ADHD? Pop your addys, rub one out, and focus! Are you 12? Make sure to go post in the paper trading contest thread first. THE RULES:
Understand that most of this sub has the critical reading skills of a 6 year old and the attention span of a goldfish. As such, my posts are usually written with a level of detail aimed at the lowest common denominator. A lot of details on the thesis are omitted, but that doesn't mean that the contents in the post are all there is to it. If I didn't do that, every post'd have to be longer than this one, and 98% of you fucks wouldn't read it anyway. Fuck that.
Understand that my style of making plays is finding the >10+ baggers that are underpriced. As such, ALL THE GOD DAMN PLAYS I POST ARE HIGH-RISK / HIGH-REWARD. Only play what you can afford to risk. And stop PM-ing me the second the market goes the other way, god damn it! If you can't manage your own positions, I'm going to teach your ass the basics.
Do you have no idea what you're doing and have a question? Google it first. Then google it again. Then Bing it, for good measure. Might as well check PornHub too, you never know. THEN, if you still didn't find the answer, you ask.
This sub gives me Tourette's. If you got a problem with that, well fuck you.
This shit is targeted at the mouthbreathers, but maybe more knowledgeable folk’ll find some useful info, idk. How do you know if you’re in the mouthbreather category? If your answer to any of the following questions is yes, then you are:
Are you new to trading?
Are you unable to manage your own positions?
Did you score into the negatives on the SAT Critical Reading section?
Do you think Delta is just an airline?
Do you buy high & sell low?
Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap?
Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2?
Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr?
Do you think I'm trying to sell you puts?
If you take a trade you see posted on this sub and are down, do you PM the guy posting it?
Do you generally PM people on this sub to ask them basic questions?
Is your mouth your primary breathing apparatus?
Well I have just the thing for you! Table of Contents: I. Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS IV. Busting your retarded myths V. LIQUIDITY NUKE INBOUND VI. The mouthbreather-proof trade - The Akimbo VII. Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers Chapter I - Maybe, just maybe, I know what I’m talking about I'm not here to rip you off. Every fucking time I post something, a bunch of dumbasses show up saying I'm selling you puts or whatever the fuck retarded thoughts come through their caveman brains.
Sit down, Barney, I'm not here to scam you for your 3 cents on OTM puts. Do I always get it right? Of course not, dumbasses. Eurodollar play didn't work out (yet). Last TQQQ didn't work out (yet). That’s just how it goes. Papa Buffet got fucked on airlines. Plain retard Burry bought GME. What do you fucking expect? Meanwhile, I keep giving y'all good motherfucking plays:
28/10/2019: "I'ma say this again, in case you haven't heard me the first time. BUY $JNK PUTS NOW!". Strike: "11/15, 1/17 and 6/19". "This thing can easily go below 50, so whatever floats your boat. Around $100 strike is a good entry point."
3/9/2020: "I mean it's a pretty obvious move, but $JNK puts."
3/19/2020, 12pm: "UVXY put FDs are free money." & “Buy $UVXY puts expiring tomorrow if we're still green at 3pm. Trust me.”
3/24/2020: “$UUP 3/27 puts at $27.5 or $27 should be 10-baggers once the bill passes. I'd expect it to go to around $26.”
And of course, the masterpiece that was the TQQQ put play. Chapter II. Post-mortem of the February - March 2020 Great Depression Do you really understand what happened? Let's go through it. I got in puts on 2/19, right at the motherfucking top, TQQQ at $118. I told you on 2/24 TQQQ ($108) was going to shit, and to buy fucking puts, $90ps, $70ps, $50ps, all the way to 3/20 $30ps. You think I just pulled that out of my ass? You think I just keep getting lucky, punks? Do you have any idea how unlikely that is? Well, let's take a look at what the fuckstick Kevin Cook from Zacks wrote on 3/5: How Many Sigmas Was the Flash Correction Plunge?
"Did you know that last week's 14% plunge in the S&P 500 SPY was so rare, by statistical measures, that it shouldn't happen once but every 14,000 years?" "By several measures, it was about a 5-sigma move, something that's not "supposed to" happen more than once in your lifetime -- or your prehistoric ancestors' lifetimes! "According to general statistical principles, a 4-sigma event is to be expected about every 31,560 days, or about 1 trading day in 126 years. And a 5-sigma event is to be expected every 3,483,046 days, or about 1 day every 13,932 years."
On 3/5, TQQQ closed at $81. I just got lucky, right? You should buy after a 5-sigma move, right? That's what fuckstick says:
"Big sigma moves happen all the time in markets, more than any other field where we collect and analyze historical data, because markets are social beasts subject to "wild randomness" that is not found in the physical sciences. This was the primary lesson of Nassim Taleb's 2007 book The Black Swan, written before the financial crisis that found Wall Street bankers completely ignorant of randomness and the risks of ruin." I also took advantage of the extreme 5-sigma sell-off by grabbing a leveraged ETF on the Nasdaq 100, the ProShares UltraPro QQQ TQQQ. In my plan, while I might debate the merits of buying AAPL or MSFT for hours, I knew I could immediately buy them both with TQQQ and be rewarded very quickly after the 14% plunge."
"The plunge in US equities yesterday (12 March) pushed weekly returns down to 7.7 standard deviations below the norm. In statistical science, the odds of a greater-than seven-sigma event of this kind are astronomical to the point of being comical (about one such event every 160 billion years).
Let's see what Stephen Mathai-Davis, CFA, CQF, WTF, BBQ, Founder and CEO of Q.ai - Investing Reimagined, a Forbes Company, and a major fucktard has to say at this point:
"Our AI models are telling us to buy SPY (the SPDR S&P500 ETF and a great proxy for US large-cap stocks) but since all models are based on past data, does it really make sense? " "While it may or may not make sense to buy stocks, it definitely is a good time to sell “volatility.” And yes, you can do it in your brokerage account! Or, you can ask your personal finance advisor about it." "So what is the takeaway? I don’t know if now is the right time to start buying stocks again but it sure looks like the probabilities are in your favor to say that we are not going to experience another 7 standard deviation move in U.S. Stocks. OTM (out-of-the-money) Put Spreads are a great way to get some bullish exposure to a rally in the SPY while also shorting such rich volatility levels."
"tinygiraffe21 1 point 2 months ago Haha when? I’m loading up in 4/17 25 puts" "dlkdev Scratch that, helicopter money is here." "AfgCric 1 point 2 months ago What does that mean?" "It means the Fed & Trump are printing trillions with no end in sight. If they go through with this, this was probably the bottom."
Idiot, I have no way of knowing that Billy boy Ackman was going to go on CNBC and cry like a little bitch to make everyone dump, so he can get out of his shorts. Just like I have no way of knowing when the Fed decides to do a bailout. But you react to that, when you see it. Do you think "Oh no world's ending" and go sell everything? No, dumbass, you try to figure out what Billy's doing. And in this case it was pretty obvious, Billy saw the Fed train coming and wanted to close his shorts. So you give the dude a hand, quick short in and out, and position for Billy dumping his short bags. Video of Billy & the Fed train Here's what Billy boy says:
“But if they don’t, and the government takes the right steps, this hedge could be worth zero, and the stock market could go right back up to where it was. So we made the decision to exit.”
https://www.businessinsider.sg/bill-ackman-explains-coronavirus-trade-single-best-all-time-podcast-2020-5 Also, “the single best trade of all time.” my ass, it was only a 100-bagger. I gave y’all a 150-bagger. So how could I catch that? Because it wasn't random, yo. And I'm here to teach your asses how to try to spot such potential moves. But first, the technical bootcamp. Chapter III. Mouthbreather's bootcamp on managing a position – THE TECHNICALS RULE 1. YOU NEVER BUY OPTIONS AT OPEN. You NEVER OVERPAY for an option. You never FOMO into buying too fast. You NEVER EVER NEVER pump the premium on a play. I saw you fuckers buying over 4k TQQQ 5/22 $45 puts in the first minutes of trading. You pumped the premium to over $0.50 dudes. The play's never going to work if you do that, because you give the market maker free delta, and he's going to hedge that against you. Let me explain simply: Let's say a put on ticker $X at strike $50 is worth $1, and a put at strike $51 is worth $2. If you all fomo in at once into the same strike, the market maker algos will just pull the asks higher. If you overpay at $2 for the $50p, the market maker will just buy $51ps for $2 and sell you $50ps for 2$. Or he'll buy longer-dated $50ps and sell you shorter-dated $50ps. Max risk for him is now 0, max gain is $1. You just gave him free downside insurance, so of course he's going to start going long. And you just traded against yourself, congrats. You need to get in with patience, especially if you see other autists here wanting to go in at the same time. Don't step on each other's toes. You put in an order, and you wait for it to fill for a couple of seconds. If it doesn't fill, AND the price of the option hasn't moved much recently, you can bump the bid $0.01. And you keep doing that a few times. Move your strikes, if needed. Only get a partial fill or don't get a fill at all? You cancel your bid. Don't fucking leave it hanging there, or you're going to put a floor on the price. Let the mm algos chill out and go again later. RULE 2. WATCH THE TIME. Algos are especially active at x:00, x:02, x:08, x:12, x:30 and x:58. Try not to buy at those times. RULE 3. YOU USE MULTIPLE BROKERS. Don't just roll with Robinhood, you're just gimping yourself. If you don't have another one, open up a tasty, IB, TD, Schwab, whatever. But for cheap faggy puts (or calls), Robinhood is the best. If you want to make a play for which the other side would think "That's free money!", Robinhood is the best. Because Citadel will snag that free money shit like no other. Seriously, if you don't have a RH account, open one. It's great for making meme plays. RULE 4. YOU DON'T START A TRADE WITH BIG POSITIONS. Doesn't matter how big or small your bankroll is. If you go all-in, you're just gambling, and the odds are stacked against you. You need to have extra cash to manage your positions. Which leads to RULE 5. MANAGING YOUR WINNERS: Your position going for you? Good job! Now POUND THAT SHIT! And again. Move your strikes to cheaper puts/calls, and pound again. And again. Snowball those gains. RULE 6A. POUND THOSE $0.01 PUTS: So you bought some puts and they’re going down? Well, the moment they reach $0.01, YOU POUND THOSE PUTS (assuming there’s enough time left on them, not shit expiring in 2h). $0.01 puts have amazing risk/return around the time they reach $0.01. This is not as valid for calls. Long explanation why, but the gist of it is this: you know how calls have unlimited upside while puts have limited upside? Well it’s the reverse of that. RULE 6B. MANAGING YOUR LOSERS: Your position going against you? Do you close the position, take your loss porn and post it on wsb? WRONG DUMBASS. You manage that by POUNDING THAT SHIT. Again and again. You don't manage losing positions by closing. That removes your gainz when the market turns around. You ever close a position, just to have it turn out it would have been a winner afterwards? Yeah, don't do that. You manage it by opening other positions. Got puts? Buy calls. Got calls? Buy puts. Turn positions into spreads. Buy spreads. Buy the VIX. Sell the VIX. They wanna pin for OPEX? Sell them options. Not enough bankroll to sell naked? Sell spreads. Make them fight you for your money, motherfuckers, don't just give it away for free. When you trade, YOU have the advantage of choosing when and where to engage. The market can only react. That's your edge, so USE IT! Like this: Example 1: Initial TQQQ 5/22 position = $5,000. Starts losing? You pound it. https://preview.redd.it/gq938ty8e5151.png?width=944&format=png&auto=webp&s=734ab7ed517f0e6822bfaaed5765d1272de398d1 Total pounded in 5/22 TQQQ puts = $10,824. Unfortunately expired worthless (but also goes to show I'm not selling you puts, dickwads) Then the autists show up:
"Hahaha you lost all your money nice job you fucking idiot why do you even live?" - cscqb4
You have a downside position, but market going up or nowhere? You play that as well. At least make some money back, if not profit. Example 2: 5/22, long weekend coming right? So you use your brain & try to predict what could happen over the 3-day weekend. Hmm, 3 day weekend, well you should expect either a shitty theta-burn or maybe the pajama traders will try to pooomp that shite on the low volume. Well make your play. I bet on the shitty theta burn, but could be the other, idk, so make a small play. Sold some ES_F spreads (for those unaware, ES is a 50x multiplier, so 1 SPX = 2 ES = 10 SPY, approximately). -47x 2955/2960 bear call spreads for $2.5. Max gain is $2.5, max loss is 2960-2955 = $5. A double-or-nothing basically. That's $5,875 in premium, max loss = 2x premium = $11,750. Well, today comes around and futures are pumping. Up to 3,014 now. Do you just roll over? You think I'm gonna sit and take it up the ass? Nah bros that's not how you trade, you fucking fight them. How? I have: 47x 2960 calls -47x 2955 calls Pajama traders getting all up in my grill? Well then I buy back 1 of the 2955 calls. Did that shit yesterday when futures were a little over 2980, around 2982-ish. Paid $34.75, initially shorted at $16.95, so booked a -$892 loss, for now. But now what do I have? 46x 2955/2960 bear calls 1x 2960 long call So the fuckers can pump it. In fact, the harder they pump it, the more I make. Each $2.5 move up in the futures covers the max loss for 1 spread. With SPX now at ~3015, that call is $55 ITM. Covers 24/46 contracts rn. If they wanna run it up, at 3070 it's break-even. Over that, it's profit. I'll sell them some bear call spreads over 3050 if they run it there too. They gonna dump it? well under 2960 it's profit time again. They wanna do a shitty pin at 3000 today? Well then I'll sell them some theta there. Later edit: that was written yesterday. Got out with a loss of only $1.5k out of the max $5,875. Not bad. And that, my dudes, is how you manage a position. RULE 7 (ESPECIALLY FOR BEARS). YOU DON'T KEEP EXTRA CASH IN YOUR BROKER ACCOUNT. You don't do it with Robinhood, because it's a shitty dumpsterfire of a broker. But you don't do it with other brokers either. Pull that shit out. Preferably to a bank that doesn't play in the markets either, use a credit union or some shit. Why? Because you're giving the market free liquidity. Free margin loans. Squeeze that shit out, make them work for it. Your individual cash probably doesn't make a dent, but a million autists with an extra $1200 trumpbucks means $1.2b. That's starting to move the needle. You wanna make a play, use instant deposits. And that way you don't lose your shit when your crappy ass broker or bank gets its ass blown up on derivative trades. Even if it's FDIC or SIPC insured, it's gonna take time until you see that money again. Chapter IV. BUSTING YOUR RETARDED MYTHS MYTH 1 - STONKS ONLY GO UP Do you think the market can go up forever? Do you think stOnKs oNLy Go uP because Fed brrr? Do you think SPX will be at 5000 by the end of the month? Do you think $1.5 trillion is a good entry point for stonks like AAPL or MSFT? Do you want to buy garbage like Hertz or American Airlines because it's cheap? Did you buy USO at the bottom and are now proud of yourself for making $2? Well, this section is for you! Let's clear up the misconception that stonks only go up while Fed brrrs. What's your target for the SPX top? Think 3500 by the end of the year? 3500 by September? 4000? 4500? 5000? Doesn't matter, you can plug in your own variables. Let's say SPX only goes up, a moderate 0.5% each period as a compounded avg. (i.e. up a bit down a bit whatever, doesn't matter as long as at the end of your period, if you look back and do the math, you'll get that number). Let's call this variable BRRR = 0.005. Can you do the basic math to calculate the value at the end of x periods? Or did you drop out in 5th grade? Doesn't matter if not, I'll teach you. Let's say our period is one week. That is, SPX goes up on average 0.5% each week on Fed BRRR: 2950 * (1.005^x), where x is the number of periods (weeks in this case) So, after 1 month, you have: 2950 * (1.005^4) = 3009 After 2 months: 2950 * (1.005^8) = 3070 End of the year? 2950 * (1.005^28) = 3392 Now clearly, we're already at 3015 on the futures, so we're moving way faster than that. More like at a speed of BRRR = 1%/wk 2950 * (1.01^4) = 3069 2950 * (1.01^8) = 3194 2950 * (1.01^28) = 3897 Better, but still slower than a lot of permabulls would expect. In fact, some legit fucks are seriously predicting SPX 4000-4500 by September. Like this dude, David Hunter, "Contrarian Macro Strategist w/40+ years on Wall Street". IDIOTIC. https://twitter.com/DaveHcontrarian/status/1263066368414568448 That'd be 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4000 => BRRR = 1.0257 and 2950 * (BRRR^12) = 4500 => BRRR = 1.0358, respectively. Here's why that can't happen, no matter the amount of FED BRRR: Leverage. Compounded Leverage. There's currently over $100b in leveraged etfs with a 2.5x avg. leverage. And that's just the ones I managed to tally, there's a lot of dogshit small ones on top of that. TQQQ alone is now at almost $6b in AUM (topped in Fed at a little over $7b). Now, let's try to estimate what happens to TQQQ's AUM when BRRR = 1.0257. 3XBRRR = 1.0771. Take it at 3XBRRR = 1.07 to account for slippage in a medium-volatility environment and ignore the fact that the Nasdaq-100 would go up more than SPX anyway. $6,000,000,000 * (1.07^4) = $7,864,776,060 $6,000,000,000 * (1.07^8) = $10,309,100,000 $6,000,000,000 * (1.07^12) = $13,513,100,000 $6,000,000,000 * (1.07^28) = $39,893,000,000. What if BRRR = 1.0358? => 3XBRR = 1.1074. Take 3XBRRR = 1.10. $6,000,000,000 * (1.1^4) = $8,784,600,000 $6,000,000,000 * (1.1^8) = $12,861,500,000 $6,000,000,000 * (1.1^12) = $18,830,600,000 $6,000,000,000 * (1.1^28) = $86,526,000,000 And this would have to get 3x leveraged every day. And this is just for TQQQ. Let's do an estimation for all leveraged funds. $100b AUM, 2.5 avg. leverage factor, BRRR = 1.0257 => 2.5BRRR = 1.06425 $100b * (1.06^4) = $128.285b $100b * (1.06^8) = $159.385b $100b * (1.06^12) = $201.22b $100b * (1.06^28) = $511.169b That'd be $1.25 trillion sloshing around each day. And the market would have to lose each respective amount of cash into these leveraged funds. Think the market can do that? You can play around with your own variables. But understand that this is just a small part of the whole picture, many other factors go into this. It's a way to put a simple upper limit on an assumption, to check if it's reasonable. In the long run, it doesn't matter if the Fed goes BRRR, if TQQQ takes in it's share of 3XBRRR. And the Fed can't go 3XBRRR, because then TQQQ would take in 9XBRRR. And on top of this, you have a whole pile of leveraged derivatives on top of these leveraged things. Watch (or rewatch) this: Selena Gomez & Richard H. Thaler Explaining Synthetic CDO through BLACKJACK My general point, at the mouth-breather level, is that Fed BRRR cannot be infinite, because leverage. And these leveraged ETFs are flawed instruments in the first place. It didn't matter when they started out. TQQQ and SQQQ started out at $8m each. For the banks providing the swaps, for the market providing the futures contracts, whatever counter-party to whatever instrument they would use, that was fine. Because it balanced out. When TQQQ made a million, SQQQ lost a million (minus a small spread, which was the bank's profit). Bank was happy, in the long run things would even out. Slippage and spreads and fees would make them money. But then something happened. Stonks only went up. And leveraged ETFs got bigger and more and more popular. And so, TQQQ ended up being $6-7b, while SQQQ was at $1b. And the same goes for all the other ETFs. Long leveraged ETF AUM became disproportionate to short AUM. And it matters a whole fucking lot. Because if you think of the casino, TQQQ walks up every day and says "I'd like to put $18b on red", while SQQQ walks up and says "I'd only like to put $3b on black". And that, in turn, forces the banks providing the swaps to either eat shit with massive losses, or go out and hedge. Probably a mix of both. But it doesn't matter if the banks are hedged, someone else is on the other side of those hedges anyway. Someone's eating a loss. Can think of it as "The Market", in general, eating the loss. And there's only so much loss the market can eat before it craps itself. If you were a time traveller, how much money do you think you could make by trading derivatives? Do you think you could make $20 trillion? You know the future prices after all... But no, you couldn't. There isn't enough money out there to pay you. So you'd move the markets by blowing them up. Call it the Time-travelling WSB Autist Paradox. If you had a bucket with a hole in the bottom, even if you poured an infinite amount of water into it, it would never be full. Because there's a LIQUIDITY SINK, just like there is one in the markets. And that, my mouth-breathing friends, is the reason why FED BRRR cannot be infinite. Or alternatively, "STONKS MUST GO BOTH UP AND DOWN". MYTH 2 - YOU CAN'T TIME THE MARKET On Jan 14, 2020, I predicted this: Assuming that corona doesn't become a problem, "AAPL: Jan 28 $328.3, Jan 31 $316.5, April 1 $365.7, May 1 $386, July 1 $429 December 31 $200." Now take a look at the AAPL chart in January. After earnings AAPL peaked at $327.85. On 1/31, after the 1st hour of trading, when the big boys make moves, it was at $315.63. Closed 1/31 at $309.51. Ya think I pulled this one out of my ass too? Yes you can time it. Flows, motherfucker, flows. Money flow moves everything. And these days, we have a whole lot of RETARDED FLOW. Can't even call it dumb flow, because it literally doesn't think. Stuff like:
ETF flows. If MSFT goes up and AAPL goes down, part of that flow is going to move from AAPL to MSFT. Even if MSFT flash-crashes up to $1000, the ETF will still "buy". Because it's passive.
Option settlement flows. Once options expire, money is going to flow from one side to another, and that my friends is accurately predictable from the data.
Index rebalancing flows
401k passive flows
Carry trade flows
Tax day flows
Flows of people front-running the flows
And many many others. Spot the flow, and you get an edge. How could I predict where AAPL would be after earnings within 50 cents and then reverse down to $316 2 days later? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. The market was so quiet in that period, that is was possible to precisely figure out where it ended up. Why the dump after? Well, AAPL earnings (The 8-K) come out on a Wednesday. The next morning, after market opens the 10-Q comes out. And that 10-Q contains a very important nugget of information: the latest number of outstanding shares. But AAPL buybacks are regular as fuck. You can predict the outstanding shares before the market gets the 10-Q. And that gives you EDGE. Which leads to MYTH 3 - BUYBACKS DON'T MATTER Are you one of those mouthbreathers that parrots the phrase "buybacks are just a tax-efficient way to return capital to shareholders"? Well sit the fuck down, I have news for you. First bit of news, you're dumb as shit. Second bit: On 1/28, AAPL's market cap is closing_price x free_float_outstanding_shares. But that's not the REAL MARKET CAP. Because the number of outstanding shares is OLD AS FUCK. When the latest number comes out, the market cap changes instantly. And ETFs start moving, and hedges start being changed, and so on.
"But ETFs won't change the number of shares they hold, they will still hold the same % of AAPL in the index" - random_wsb_autist
Oh my fucking god you're dumb as fuck. FLOWS change. And the next day, when TQQQ comes by and puts its massive $18b dong on the table, the market will hedge that differently. And THAT CAN BE PREDICTED. That's why AAPL was exactly at $316 1 hour after the market opened on 1/31. So, what can you use to spot moves? Let me show you: Market topped on 2/19. Here’s SPY. I even marked interesting dates for you with vertical lines. https://preview.redd.it/7agm171eh5151.png?width=3713&format=png&auto=webp&s=d94b90dcd634c8dc688925585bf0a02c3299f71b Nobody could have seen it coming, right? WRONG AGAIN. Here: https://preview.redd.it/i1kdp3cgh5151.png?width=3713&format=png&auto=webp&s=7a1e086e9217846547efd3b6c5249f4a7ebe6d9e In fact, JPYUSD gave you two whole days to see it. Those are NOT normal JPYUSD moves. But hey maybe it’s just a fluke? Wrong again. https://preview.redd.it/fsyhenckh5151.png?width=3693&format=png&auto=webp&s=03200e10b008257ae15d40b474c4cf4d8c23670f Forex showed you that all over the place. Why? FLOWS MOTHERFUCKER FLOWS. When everything moves like that, it means the market needs CASH. It doesn’t matter why, but remember people pulling cash out of ATMs all over the world? Companies drawing massive revolvers? Just understand what this flow means. The reversal: https://preview.redd.it/4xe97l0oh5151.png?width=1336&format=png&auto=webp&s=07aaa93f6b1d8f542101e40e431edccbc109918f https://preview.redd.it/v6i0pdmoh5151.png?width=1338&format=png&auto=webp&s=74d5589961db2f978d4d582e6d7c58a85f6305f9 But it wasn’t just forex. Gold showed it to you as well. Bonds showed it to you as well. https://preview.redd.it/40j53u8th5151.png?width=3711&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe39ab51321d0f98149d33e33253e69f96c48e23 Even god damn buttcoin showed it to you. https://preview.redd.it/43lvafhvh5151.png?width=3705&format=png&auto=webp&s=1ef53283cbc0fb97f71c1ba935c0bd747809636e And they all did it for 2 days before the move hit equities. Chapter V. LIQUIDITY NUKE INBOUND You see all these bankruptcies that happened so far, and all the ones that are going to follow? Do you think that’s just dogshit companies and it won’t have major effects on anything outside them? WRONG. Because there’s a lot of leveraged instruments on top of those equities. When the stock goes to 0, all those outstanding puts across all expirations get instantly paid. Understand that Feb-March was a liquidity MOAB. But this will end with a liquidity nuke. Here’s just HTZ for example: $239,763,550 in outstanding puts. Just on a single dogshit small-cap company (this thing was like $400m mkt. cap last week). And that’s just the options on the equity. There’s also instruments on etfs that hold HTZ, on the bonds, on the ETFs that hold their bonds, swaps, warrants, whatever. It’s a massive pile of leverage. Then there’s also the ripple effects. Were you holding a lot of HTZ in your brokerage margin account? Well guess what big boi, when that gaps to 0 you get a margin call, and then you become a liquidity drain. Holding long calls? 0. Bonds 0. DOG SHIT! And the market instantly goes from holding $x in assets (HTZ equity / bonds / calls) to holding many multiples of x in LIABILITIES (puts gone wrong, margin loans, derivatives books, revolvers, all that crap). And it doesn’t matter if the Fed buys crap like HTZ bonds. You short them some. Because when it hits 0, it’s no longer about supply and demand. You get paid full price, straight from Jerome’s printer. Is the Fed going to buy every blown up derivative too? Because that's what they'd have to do. Think of liquidity as a car. The faster it goes, the harder it becomes to go even faster. At some point, you can only go faster by driving off a cliff. THE SQUEEZE. But you stop instantly when you hit the ground eventually. And that’s what shit’s doing all over the place right now. Rewatch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hG4X5iTK8M And just like that fucker, “I’m standing in front of a burning house, and I’m offering you fire insurance on it.” Don’t baghold! Now is not the time to baghold junk. Take your cash. Not the time to buy cheap crap. You don’t buy Hertz. You don’t buy USO. You don’t buy airlines, or cruises, or GE, or motherfucking Disney. And if you have it, dump that shit. And the other dogshit that’s at ATH, congrats you’re in the green. Now you take your profits and fucking dump that shit. I’m talking shit like garbage SaaS, app shit, AI shit, etc. Garbage like MDB, OKTA, SNAP, TWLO, ZM, CHGG etc. And you dump those garbage ass leveraged ETFs. SQQQ, TQQQ, whatever, they’re all dogshit now. The leverage MUST unwind. And once that’s done, some of you will no longer be among us if you don’t listen. A lot of leveraged ETFs will be gone. Even some non-leveraged ETFs will be gone. Some brokers will be gone, some market makers will be gone, hell maybe even some big bank has to go under. I can’t know which ones will go poof, but I can guarantee you that some will. Another reason to diversify your shit. There’s a reason papa Warrant Buffet dumped his bags, don’t think you’re smarter than him. He may be senile, but he’s still a snake. And once the unwind is done, THEN you buy whatever cheap dogshit’s still standing. Got it? Good. You feel ready to play yet? Alright, so you catch a move. Or I post a move and you wanna play it. You put on a small position. When it’s going your way, YOU POUND DAT SHIT. Still going? Well RUSH B CYKA BLYAT AND PLANT THE GOD DAMN 3/20 $30p BOMB. Chapter VI - The mouthbreather-proof play - THE AKIMBO Still a dumbass that can’t make a play? Still want to go long? Well then, I got a dumbass-proof trade for you. I present to you THE AKIMBO: STEP 1. You play this full blast. You need some real Russian hardbass to get you in the right mood for trading, cyka. STEP 2. Split your play money in 3. Remember to keep extra bankroll for POUNDING THAT SHIT. STEP 3. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy SQQQ 9/18 $5p, pay $0.05. Not more than $0.10. STEP 4. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy TQQQ 9/18 $20p, pay around $0.45. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, 7/17 $35p’s for around $0.5. STEP 5. Use 1/3 of your cash to buy VIX PUT SPREADS 9/15 $21/$20 spread for around $0.15, no more than $0.25. That is, you BUY the 21p and SELL the 20p. Only using Robinhood and don’t have the VIX? What did I just tell you? Well fine, use UVXY then. Just make sure you don’t overpay. Chapter VII - Quick hints for non-mouthbreathers Quick tips, cuz apparently I'm out of space, there's a 40k character limit on reddit posts. Who knew?
Knowing this, craps players betting the Pass Line and Odds bets love to see the shooter roll a 6 or 8 point number, because they’ll have the best chance of fading a seven out while repeating the point number – scooping up some major chips along the way. Right Way Betting. To be exact the best craps players keep it simple. Many wells develop labels such as being a “right way bettor.” Such gamblers are a craps version of “three yards and a cloud of dust.” On these occasions, a “right way bettor” will simply bet the come and pass bets with the table. Encompassing that strategy is the Craps Strategy : Best Craps Bets The best bets to place, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, are the Pass Line bet and Don’t Pass Line bets. These bets are similar to Blackjack and roulette in that you basically have a 50/50 chance of doubling up and the house only has a 1.41% advantage. Craps isn't like blackjack, poker, or sports betting, where there are clearly defined skill elements that separate good and bad players. Instead, craps is widely considered a game that deals with dice probabilities and luck. This makes it difficult to determine the best craps player in the world. Here are our picks. Craps Bets . There are many different bets you can make on the craps table. This often confuses new players but in actual fact craps is not that complicated. In this section we outline all of the possible betting options and show you where those bets go on the table. The Craps Table. Below is an example of a craps table.
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