Re: [Slate] Insane in the Brain:

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Wed, 07 Apr 1999 07:51:42 -0700

I used to trade commodity option on 4% margins. I used to use a mixed
bag of machine learning that involved hill climbing, genetic learning,
and elliott waves. The problem with most learning systems was that it
took an overwhelming amount of contradictory evidence to overturn a concept.
I used to keep hundreds of contradictory market models lying around with
fixed concepts, but then when some series of elliott waves occurred, instead
of relearning the concepts, they got reprioritized. Bonds, metals, grains,
currencies, you name it. In addition to fully stringing out every penny
I had, there was quite a cult following of shadow traders in the pit in
Chicago through Gelderman and New York through RB&H. For a while, for
every trade I put on, there were at least 5 through 10 other big money
day traders putting on several times my trades. Some days I could
really move markets. The traders used to try and milk me for information,
and it was all a big huge game.

Those were the dayz. 8-)


Dave Long wrote:
> > margins are granted only to the worthy (solvent) and even then at
> > a conservative rate. Higher risks are not margined at all by some brokerages
> > or at a higher rate (90%) by others.
> The definition of solvent must admit of a pretty low activity; my own accounts
> attest to needing nowhere near Reg D qualifications to open a margin account.
> Having failed to find anything coherent at the Federal Reserve Board site, I
> consulted my (perhaps dated) account handbooks. In order to get to the 90%
> range, it looked like one had to be playing with options. Generally,
> requirements for equities were only 50% initially, which could decline to 30%
> before a maintenance call. Bonds could be had at 75% (4:1 leverage) and
> maintained for as little as 10% of principal. Various other instruments were
> available at 10:1 leverage, and for those with the desire to wring some action
> out of those boring T-bills, $10K sufficed to establish a million dollar
> position.
> -Dave
> Is one who believes that markets may be in Brownian motion an ecclesiastic?