Make as Much Money, but Have More Fun
By James J. Cramer
Darn, and I had this day pegged as a quiet one. I hate playing on expiration. I would rather handicap raindrops streaming down car windows. Much more rational.
There was a time when I thought you could game these. There was a time during the '80s (when "My name is Jim Cramer, and I am an OEX-aholic") when I used to try to peg where the indices would go out. I would sell calls and sell puts -- the premium was always huge -- and sit there and watch the tape, doing a little more when the calls were pumped and taking off a little when the puts were deflated.
I did this to the exclusion of everything else; it was riveting. In my maniacal way, I would then draw big charts all over my studio apartment looking for patterns, by hour, by index, by strike. I was a virtual laboratory for how to make money on expiration.
Alas, that was the problem. After three years and literally thousands of trades, I realized that I wasn't making a dime. I was truly betting on a random series of events. As a good blackjack player, I could not even find a "face card edge" in the game.
Finally, I figured it out. Take expiration Fridays off. Go to the Hamptons on that 11:34 train. Club Car. Tanqueray and tonic. (Now like Bombay Sapphire more anyway.)
Made just as much money, had hundreds of times the fun. Ten years later, I am married with kids, so I don't need that Hamptons scene, too old to drink during the day without conking out. But I still don't play on expiration Fridays.
Make just as much money and have ten times the fun.