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On A Long Enough Timeline, Every CNBC Million Dollar Challenge Is Front Run To Smithereens

Tyler Durden's picture


First, the algos took over the real markets. Now, they control the fake ones too...


Trading in CNBC's Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge was suspended as of close of trading today at 4:00 p.m. ET for one week. 


It came to our attention that there was a technical glitch in the current equity trading system, which a handful of players found and exploited to jump to the top of the leaderboard. The contest accidentally allowed what our rules specifically prohibited. 


Out of fairness to all registered contestants and as is our right, according to the rules of the contest, we are suspending the contest and will restart it Sunday, October 30 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Upon relaunch, all player accounts will be reset to their opening balance. Play will begin anew for the final five weeks of the contest. All winners from the first five weeks, including this week, will retain their prizes. 


We apologize for any inconvenience, but fundamental fairness compels us to take this action.

Now if only the E*Trade baby could discover a way to reset life whenever the "account holdings" line = $0.00



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Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:02 | 1799118 voshnishki
voshnishki's picture

LOL. Yes, thank you!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:15 | 1799150 eureka
eureka's picture

You're not going to get rid of algos - until you get rid of US Empire.

Algos, as Wall Street, serve the US Oligarch Elite and its minions.

Someone blow it up - please!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:36 | 1799193 PsychicWebbah
PsychicWebbah's picture

I am/was the 0.01%!

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 01:42 | 1799594 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



Aaaaaaaand, it's gone - it's all gone...


Sat, 10/22/2011 - 05:55 | 1799697 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Out of "fairness" they banned short selling too ;-)

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 09:11 | 1799789 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

That's bullshit closing down their accounts, all they were doing is adding liquidity to the market. 

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:23 | 1799380 PAPA ROACH
PAPA ROACH's picture

Algo's die if electronic trading goes away and we're back to pits once again. I used to be a pit trader, I miss that life and would gladly move back to NYC if reinstated.


You cannot have this much vol and flash crashes with pits, humans take time to move. Fuck algos!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:27 | 1799392 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

While I agree with you in principal - two words: "portfolio insurance".

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 17:33 | 1800453 TheMerryPrankster
TheMerryPrankster's picture

Insurance is an illusion when the too big to fail, fail.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 23:09 | 1799454 Ura Bonehead
Ura Bonehead's picture

Well, if we could get all the Russian and Asian criminal mathematicians out of the “Empire” then we could put a big bent in Algos.  Just saying…

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 23:33 | 1799498 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Doesn't take long before the first "It's somebody else's fault" comment is posted. Ura Bonehead.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 08:59 | 1799778 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture

Obama can fix this problem......apply the buffet tax to the leaders.....give it to those not as fortunate, problem fixed.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:02 | 1799120 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

When Diamond Jim Brady was asked while playing a game of Bunco at a saloon, "Don't you know this game is rigged? He replied "I know. But it is the only game in town!"

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:02 | 1799122 ragequit
ragequit's picture

'We apologize for any inconvenience, but fundamental fairness compels us to take this action.'


(only when fake money is at stake)

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:39 | 1799200 philipat
philipat's picture

Otherwise a perfect illustration of just how fucked the real markets are?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:52 | 1799227 navy62802
navy62802's picture


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:04 | 1799126 becky quick and...
becky quick and her beautiful mouth's picture

i bet it was the waddell & reed mailroom clerks.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 04:26 | 1799204 philipat
philipat's picture

That you homebreaker Becky? I heard you were away taking an extended bath with Uncle Warren?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:04 | 1799128 Royal Fleming
Royal Fleming's picture

LMFAO. CNBS losers

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:24 | 1799386 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

Bob Pisani would say, "What's important here, is someone was winning."

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:57 | 1799440 tickhound
tickhound's picture

"The important thing is" - then a bunch of made up bullshit

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:22 | 1799851 wisefool
wisefool's picture

Brawndo: The Thirst Mutilator

Not sure if the dude in the video is Jack Welsh, or Hank Paulson.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:05 | 1799129 slow_roast
slow_roast's picture

I love how they're obviously giving prizes away to the cheaters anyway.  Just like the political system...fucking idiots.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:22 | 1799168 knukles
knukles's picture


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:53 | 1799228 navy62802
navy62802's picture

That's the way the American world works now.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 23:37 | 1799506 PrintButtonMoney
PrintButtonMoney's picture

calling it the 'american' world is either incredibly arrogant (if you're referring to the entire world) or incredibly short sighted (if you're referring to only the U.S. as trading microcosm in the larger world market).  It seems like the rest of the world engages in some really shady/stupid trading practices, including the particular practice mentioned above.  The banks that run our economy run the rest of the world's economy too... but it's hardly fair to call them "U.S." banks...  Fiat banking has been around since the Roman empire started devaluing its currency near the fall.  Some of the same bankers that started controlling banks and money in Europe founded banking in the United States as well ("Give me control of a nation's wealth and I care not for its Laws"). 

This seems to be a common phenomenon amongst us Americans, we tend to forget that the rest of the world has been around, for the most part, alot longer than we have, in the Nation sense.  Even those of us who are incredibly disgusted with the politico-economic processes that happen in our country tend to forget that these practices are in no way new or original around the world.  Centralized banking and complete government control of the market is as old as markets, Government lying to its population base and controlling the media is as old as those intstitutions as well.  This problem, the problem that occurs when the many put power of any kind in the hands of a few (willingly or otherwise), is not an American problem, it's a human problem.  If we 'fix' this problem inside our own borders it doesn't follow that the problem is fixed. 

Anarcho-capitalism HO!

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 08:54 | 1799772 LongBallsShortBrains
LongBallsShortBrains's picture

Great!... Now you are going to tell me that Americans didn't invent slavery?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:15 | 1799265 Nate H
Nate H's picture

they weren't 'cheaters'. they were just gaming the system according to the environmental cues given them, just like the rest of us.



Sat, 10/22/2011 - 09:35 | 1799811 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

No 'clawback' recourse even in fantasyland. Dammit it all!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:06 | 1799132 myztix
myztix's picture

there goes my legit 40% gain buying bullish positions!


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:10 | 1799140 tom a taxpayer
tom a taxpayer's picture

Investigation of this CNBC bullshit game is 1,000,000 times more likely than investigation of the real frauds and criminals on Wall Street.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:06 | 1799839 LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture

Yeah, I'll bet the SEC "tech pros" swarmed CNBC HQ...not to enforce, but rather how they caught the problem.

f'ing idiots.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:18 | 1799144 Restcase
Restcase's picture

I joined the game a week late and the leaderboard was then filled with "players" (machines?) who had already doubled their notional $1 million stake. There was no one on the board who had not added $1 million in seven days.

You figure the average CNBC viewer is a Jim Cramerite who applies his genius to pick stocks (or follow tips) that will give him a stupendous 10% gain in the course of a year and you wonder .. eh ... huh?

If a CNBC game can discover scores of instant millionaire traders, may I suggest CNBC hire these "people" and shift to a whole new new biz model?

Bank of CNBC? CNBC Hedge-arama? Goldman Sachs, CNBC Division?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:27 | 1799178 Restcase
Restcase's picture

BTW, here are some more technical glitches in this game:

(1) Restricted roster of available exchange listings

(2) All buys at market, all sells at market.

(3) No stop loss.

(4) No control over lot size fulfillment. 10k share orders fill at 5k.

(5) Buy-sell without CNBC price quote - assume it's realtime, assume it's what you think it is!

Hey! it's just a game. But let's see the winner's trading tickets.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:29 | 1799291 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

#3 is clearly a bullshit rule.


Oh, and ========== FUCK THE FED =============

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 08:54 | 1799775 Hedge Fund of One
Hedge Fund of One's picture

I would have liked more trading platform-like capabilities like stop-losses, limit orders, etc. If the rules would be evenly applied to all, then it would be fair, and I could accept the limitations. However, if the system allows unfair advantage by cheaters, then I have a problem.


Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:16 | 1799846 Marco
Marco's picture

Really though all that stuff is antiquated shit ... they are in reality bad algos which are preyed upon by the good algos.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:49 | 1799869 RSloane
RSloane's picture

We already have Goldman Sachs, CNBC division.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:15 | 1799147 fuu
fuu's picture

The E*Trade link leads to a removed video. This one works:

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:15 | 1799151 cowdiddly
cowdiddly's picture

So easy even a Cave-bot can do it.

And here I was trying to compete with my Tandy 1088 with dial up SVC.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:43 | 1799209 Long-John-Silver
Long-John-Silver's picture

My Tandy TRS-80 Model 102 still works. I no longer use it for trading but it's great for plugging into the data port of an old orphaned CNC machine in case the display is dead. I can crank up the machine and test operate it to see if it's worth upgrading with a new controller. I have no idea what I I'm going to do if it dies. Modern computers simply can not be connected to these old controllers.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:03 | 1799243 Wannabee
Wannabee's picture


Fond memories. Our team has a circa '98 Data General laptop, DOS, for the same purpose.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:05 | 1799246 Wannabee
Wannabee's picture

check the '98. Meant '91. Getting old...

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 09:39 | 1799814 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Crap! I used to use those things.  Had one up until about 5 years ago and sold it on Ebay. That's probably the only place to find one again these days. You can use to search Craigslist countrywide too. Now I'm waxing nostalgic for Tandy...

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:14 | 1799154 Nate H
Nate H's picture

It's actually a good dry run for the people in the lead, for in their real life.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:14 | 1799155 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

cheaters always win

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:17 | 1799159 eureka
eureka's picture

Simple solution:  Shoot Them!

It worked in the west, it'll work in the east.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:25 | 1799177 knukles
knukles's picture

Nothing Like a Good Hanging to Focus the Mind

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:57 | 1799336 tickhound
tickhound's picture

Especially now that CNBC is finally 'crackin' down'

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 05:34 | 1799689 FinHits
FinHits's picture

and reset to zero and start all over again. It is more profitable that way.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 21:43 | 1800975 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

cheaters always win

...and then they get bailed out, and then they get record bonuses.


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:19 | 1799160 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

Let me guess the exploiters outpreformed the goldman sachs exploiteres who were supposed to win the prizes?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:19 | 1799162 TradingJoe
TradingJoe's picture

CNBS, who the fuck is still playing that shit game, eh?? What a crap way to waste your precious time, fucktards!!!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:36 | 1799190 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

That's CNBC...

Comedy N' Boobs Channel

Whether it's the silicon sacks stacking the CNBC Anchorettes... or just the Baldy Boobs like Cramer the Clown and Lies-man et al...

CNBC has comedy AND boobs to distract the clueless Amerikan public...

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 09:49 | 1799824 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

But, but, "Dancing with the Stars" has dancing and boobs to distract the masses. Why not watch that instead?

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 21:35 | 1800947 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

But, but, "Dancing with the Stars" has dancing and boobs to distract the masses. Why not watch that instead?

There's no need to limit yourself. Since they share the proven, time tested, winning combination of tits, ass, and money, it's probably best to watch them both. After all, the only thing better than a ticket to stupid is two tickets to stupid.


Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:58 | 1799878 RSloane
RSloane's picture

UGH.  Lies-man is Mr Potato Head with the word "FED" etched on the back.

Cramer the Clown is an example of someone who's on the wrong medication.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 15:34 | 1800307 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

I played it last year, signed up again this year, but haven't bothered to make a trade. I concluded that it wasn't worth my time to set up and manage a portfolio precisely because I assumed the game was rigged.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:20 | 1799164 Mentaliusanything
Mentaliusanything's picture

BUt it leads you to ....

......And Its Gone

Hat tip MK

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:21 | 1799167 HD
HD's picture

Where's the fake moral hazard?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:26 | 1799180 knukles
knukles's picture

They did it... didn't everybody get to keep their prizes?
Just like the Fucking Bankers!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:02 | 1799242 Careless Whisper
Careless Whisper's picture

this was actually a real commercial from the dot com boom. before the dot com bust. brought to you from discover brokerage, a subsidiary of morgan stanley.


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:52 | 1799428 Hephasteus
Hephasteus's picture

That's truth in advertising and they are so trustworthy.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:22 | 1799170 CalibratedConfidence
Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:24 | 1799174 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

can i help it if my servers are located near the exchange?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:41 | 1799206 Wannabee
Wannabee's picture

The contest accidentally allowed what our rules specifically prohibited

 Somebody left Ben's playbook on the conference table.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 09:53 | 1799827 DeadFred
DeadFred's picture

It's such a small playbook it's not hard to overlook.

Page 1



Sat, 10/22/2011 - 11:00 | 1799883 RSloane
RSloane's picture

I believe there is now a matchbook edition for easy portability.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:47 | 1799215 mfoste1
mfoste1's picture

fuck cnbc

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:51 | 1799218 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

On the plus side, Publishers Clearing House says I already won $1,000,000 after taxes, and $5,000 a week for life!


They also said it's held and paid through my local BofA branch.  What could go wrong?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:56 | 1799231 Wannabee
Wannabee's picture


Quick, lever up! Parlay that pile 100 fold.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:28 | 1799288 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

I figure the only levering up I'd do was with me olde Sears Model 54 in .30-30 Win.  That's what'll be needed to get it out of the bank.  Not this:

When are kids going to learn it's a federal offense to rob a bank, when a coin shop is so much easier?

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:49 | 1799221 caerus
caerus's picture

if only the sec were so punctilious

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 20:58 | 1799232 Threeggg
Threeggg's picture

I remember my wife and I, sitting and watching the commercial about this contest. She was like "You should enter that" I said, "no way" "the people that run the big houses will just steal it with their algo's".

and WTF just happened !! 


P.S. With my foresight you think I should apply for a job at the SEC ? fuckit I already have my porn "hyperlinked" ! LOL

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 12:05 | 1799953 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

But are you actually getting paid to watch porn...that's the bonus of employment with the SEC. 

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:07 | 1799252 navy62802
navy62802's picture

This Million Dollar contest is so telling. Trading today is basically nothing more than casino gambling. The pitch for this program sounds like something you'd see coming from an online poker site. If you are still trying to trade these markets, you are a fool.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 23:45 | 1799510 Restcase
Restcase's picture

Absolutely. The CNBC viewer is trapped in a pre-HFT paradigm where you buy "Value" or whatever style and hold for the "long term." Or maybe they have a bunch of Ricedelman mutuals on a 30-year leash.

So they join this contest and on day seven, a gazillion "people" have doubled their notional $1 million stake. The CNBC viewers feel like the biggest losers in the world. This is very good, if you think about it.

The same chump who keeps the CNBC advertisers in clover now has an incentive to ask WTF? Not that these folks will, but one can hope.

The missing piece in this thread is that CNBC is awarding $1mln to the contest winner, which is enough of an incentive for various masterminds to unleash their bots against that army of slob punters who would normally contend. How those bots cope with the crazy world of orders on the CNBC site is anybody's guess, but I'm no bot builder or I'd be ahead of the zhlubs.

Hey Benjamin Graham - get on the nearest oija board and straighten your disciples out. Lay down the real deal.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:10 | 1799258 TheLooza
TheLooza's picture


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:31 | 1799294 JW n FL
Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:31 | 1799296 Buck Johnson
Buck Johnson's picture

The US market is a madhouse, it truly is.  No wonder nobody trusts it anymore, they know it's a rigged game pure and simple.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:31 | 1799298 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Wow I wonder if they see the irony of the SEC not acting when it comes to real money.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:39 | 1799309 prophet
prophet's picture

Well thank goodness it was not a fundamental glitch.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 21:45 | 1799317 litoralkey
litoralkey's picture

This happened in the WSJ High School stock picking challenge in 1997 too.  So it's not new.  Back then, a participant had his father buy obscure Hong Kong sub-penny stocks and they'd front run the transactions for 1000%+ gains.  That was the last year WSJ allowed non_US exchange stocks to be used in the challenge.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:11 | 1799364 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

Crap Nothing But Crap...


GE made lots of profit..and they wont pay taxes

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:12 | 1799365 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

No wonder my $1 million purchase of BAC isn't panning out!


You cheating rat bastages!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:30 | 1799399 prains
prains's picture

in other news lance armstrong was a steroid user 


Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:45 | 1799420 FischerBlack
FischerBlack's picture

I was looking at taking a $900K notional position in some low float penny stock for last year's contest, and then throwing a few grand at it in RL and raking in the notional bucks. Then I read the rules.

Does anyone know what the glitch was? I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to arb CNBC's data latency, assuming you're already set up for it. I'd be disappointed though if it wasn't something more clever than that.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 22:58 | 1799442 UnpatrioticHoarder
UnpatrioticHoarder's picture

Damnit! I was up $2 on my 10 year treasuries short. That $19 entry-point ain't ever coming back!

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 23:20 | 1799472 Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

i was up 8% every day into the contest.. Up to my nuts in FAZ and long bonds in one portfolio and I was still getting shit kicked. Like 3000th place.

Fri, 10/21/2011 - 23:23 | 1799479 Ura Bonehead
Ura Bonehead's picture


Sat, 10/22/2011 - 00:22 | 1799547 catacl1sm
catacl1sm's picture

I was actually playing the game. I found myself on the wrong side of leveraged inverse etf's more times than not. If anything, having to keep a close eye on the market and knowing what was posted on ZH about the market and information, I opened my eyes wider to the fact that the market is worse than gambling. The market is hyped as 'fair'. At least I know the odds at a casino. Fucking bitchez.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 09:22 | 1799799 machineh
machineh's picture

The 'winners' were almost surely trading volatile small-cap individual stocks, which can make huge percentage pops in a day.

Probably someone found out how to retroactively buy them just before a price pop.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 02:03 | 1799603 Milton Waddams
Milton Waddams's picture

Is this a buying opportunity on the Comcast / GE / MSFT / NBC oligarchical collectivist partnership?  Let's kick the idea down to our fast money traders...  

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 04:37 | 1799664 Number 156
Number 156's picture

 Yes, I'll take 'Irony' for $600 Alex.

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 07:19 | 1799722 Market Efficien...
Market Efficiency Romantic's picture

I never understood why those virtual trading competitions are of any interest to real traders or PMs. Basically, you cannot win, if you don't go all in. If you go all in, your trading result is not of any value in the real world, as it could only be achieved under maximum risk. As long as there is no penalty for losing money, these competitions are just BS. Theoretically, you can engineer a portfolio with multiple rounds of leverage that pay off a mil, if 1 out of 140 mil possible outcomes occurs. 

Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:03 | 1799838 ABG LINE
ABG LINE's picture

"Fundamental fairness"?   


Sat, 10/22/2011 - 10:26 | 1799849 Money 4 Nothing
Money 4 Nothing's picture

We appologise for the inconvienience, but we don't have the Million dollars to award. Thanks for your participation! Better luck next time.

Or...  Occupy the winners house? 


Sun, 10/23/2011 - 01:11 | 1801303 Grand Supercycle
Grand Supercycle's picture

SP500 weekly chart shows megaphone wedge and looks bullish.

Market consensus became clearer on Friday so back to the original bullish analysis and SP500 weekly chart reverts to bullish/neutral.

More info:

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!