“The only bad luck is bad health.” —Plaque in Lyle Berman’s office, back in the day
I joined Grand Casinos in late 1991. The company was established by Lyle Berman and was initially funded by the Bank of Lyle with a loan from him to the company for $2.9 million. We then took the company public. To show how long ago this was, we were able to turn Grand into a $1 billion-dollar company in four years, and we thought that was a big deal. Pure old school.
When one has a reasonably nice piece of the options pie in a newly minted public company, one becomes a stock watcher, and it is possible to know exactly what one’s net worth is at each decimal of stock price. Yes, we were all stock watchers and a good number of us even turned into millionaires (Oh yes, millionaires—how quaint).
Well, we rode that rollercoaster for several years, and one day, for some reason, our stock took an ass-whupping. During that day Lyle personally lost about $55 million on paper, and again, this is back in the day when $55 million was a bit of money.
During this day I meandered into Lyle’s office and he said something like “Damn, I lost $55 million today.” My response to him was “You should be celebrating for you lost $55 million today and it changes nothing in your life.”
Lyle sat there for a bit, thinking, and then leaned over and picked up the phone to call his friend, the world-class poker player – and world-class person, Chip Reese. For those of you who never had the opportunity to meet Chip, he was such a lovely man that even his enemies liked him – may he rest in peace.
I cannot remember the exact conversation Lyle and Chip had, but it was along the lines of “Hey, Chip, I lost $55 million today and it doesn’t change anything.” Lyle then laughed and exchanged pleasantries and gossip with Chip, and then hung up. We all went back to work.
Anyway Jason, in a matter of just a few hours on Friday, February 18, 2022, you were the leader of DraftKings, which lost an amount of capitalized value close to the gross domestic product of several small states. And you know what? You should still have a pretty good life.
Don’t get stupid and forget that the only bad luck is bad health. The rest of this stuff is but detail—and mainly nonsense.