Investing for the truly nervous
This year's Stock Market Guru event drew a total of
26 attendees - the most ever for the event. Due to time constraints,
all but one of the five preliminary games were adjudicated; leaving
five winners to compete in the finals.
At Table 1, the only table to complete the preliminary game,
Bruce Reiff ran away with the win; betting heavily on Stryker
Drilling in year 2, and enjoying its subsequent $67 increase.
He sold all his stock, and played conservatively the rest of
the way. The rest of the table had already begun placing most
of their monies into IRAs and bonds, but it was no contest. Reiff
finished with $19,250, ahead of second-place finisher Tom Vickery,
At Table 2, Randy Schilb formed a diversified portfolio -
buying bonds early and often. Larry Kratz saw an early exit when
his stocks went belly-up, and his desperate attempt to regain
some control with Stryker also failed. When the bonds tanked
(due to the rising interest rate - an anomaly most of the other
tables experienced, as well), Schilb cut his losses and turned
buying opportunities. The high interest rate dictated very little
"buying-on-margin." Schilb finished the game with $12,850,
ahead of second-place finisher Chris Palermo, with $9,860.
At Table 3, Terry Stiles invested primarily in Growth, and
a few other stocks, but stayed away from the "risky"
stocks - in fact, he did not invest in Stryker once the entire
game. Similar to Randy Schilb's win at Table 2, on the last turn,
all players near contention invested whole-heartedly in Stryker;
and - again, like Schilb's win - the opponents came up short.
Stiles finished with $15,800, ahead of second-place finisher
Ken Gutermuth's $9,850.
At Table 4, Anna Maria Amicucci used the IRA strategy to her
advantage, investing heavily in IRAs and Bonds, and using the
IRA rebates to purchase more Shady Brooks non-IRA stock, and
Tri-County. Gary Moss invested in Stryker, and hit more often
than not. But, by the end of the mostly bull market game, the
table proved unaware of how much Amicucci had stockpiled in the
IRAs. It was a close game, as Amicucci tallied $19,340, while
Gary Moss totaled $18,640. Also, Debbie Otto came close with
$18,110, and Derek Landel finished with $15,250 - more than enough
to win most of the other tables.
At Table 5, Chuck Foster came from behind, to overtake front-runner
Charles Ellsworth. Most of the table had invested in Uranium
for much of the game. Foster, in third place, invested in Metro,
which saw a $30 increase, and split. This was the odd game, with
a low interest rate the entire contest, never rising above 10%.
Many of the players invested in bonds early, only to take a loss
on them, when it became apparent they'd never even get their
money back. Foster finished with $10,690, beating Alfred Wong
at $10,280 and Ellsworth at $10,070.
In the finals, Reiff employed the same strategy as in his
preliminary win, scoring BIG with Stryker early in the game,
then liquidating all his stock, and investing in bonds. Schilb
couldn't cover the bonds in time, and the interest rates skyrocketed.
In turn 4, after buying Tri-City on margin, Stiles saw the stock
suffer a business check, and the price was cut in half. Stiles
couldn't afford the interest, and went bankrupt. On the next
turn, Foster also was eliminated, when Tri-City suffered ANOTHER
monumental loss (-$27). He also couldn't pay the margin interest,
and was bankrupted. In an effort to make up ground, Schilb diversified
even more. Reiff stayed with Tri-City (which he purchased at
dirt-cheap prices) and bonds, and rode
the wave. On Turn 6, Reiff sold his bonds as the game moved into
the bull market, and purchased Stryker, which promptly survived
the business check, and saw its price rise. Reiff sold Stryker,
and reinvested into bonds. In Turn 7, in a bad bear market, Tri-City
inched up in value, and bonds gained heavily, as most other stocks
nose-dived, essentially sealing the win for
Of particular misfortune to Schilb, was the fact Reiff consistently
played the last card in each hand (or, more to the point, Reiff
was the only player with bear market cards). This meant Schilb
was always the lead player, and Reiff always had the advantage
of seeing Schilb's moves, first. For the last four turns, all
Schilb could do was hold his hand, and hope one or more of Reiff's
stocks went bankrupt. Reiff finished the game with $19,400; Schilb
totaled $12,950 and Amicucci tallied $10,930. Foster and Stiles
were bankrupt halfway through the game, which meant the finals
had as many "bankrupts" as all preliminary games combined.
For next year, when SMG hopefully re-enters as a Century Event,
a move toward "simultaneous purchasing" will be considered,
to keep the games moving and finished on time, and the "insider
trading" optional rule may be dropped.