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I was talking to my attorney, from the esteemed firm of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, and he made the above remark in response to a financial statement that I had produced earlier. What did Bernie mean?

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+1 for mentioning this (in)famous law firm. – Jürgen A. Erhard Mar 16 '11 at 1:22

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

A "bucket shop" is an unethical business operation:

A fraudulent brokerage operation in which orders to buy and sell are accepted but no executions take place. Instead, the operators expect to profit when customers close out their positions at a loss.


A brokerage that makes trades on a client's behalf and promises a certain price. The brokerage, however, waits until a different price arises and then makes the trade, keeping the difference as profit.

( notes that the latter definition "comes from more than 50 years ago, when bucket shops would do trades all day long, throwing the tickets into a bucket. At the end of the day they would decide which accounts to award the winning and losing trades to.")

A "piker" is a small-time player, someone who operates cheaply and takes only small risks in a very cautious manner.

So, Bernie is saying that this place is a shady operation that caters to cheap, chintzy, risk-averse individuals and tries to continuously cheat them out of small amounts of money; they will throw in only an occasional small payoff to a customer to offset a part of the overall loss suffered, so as to keep him hooked on the possibility of getting a big payoff.

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