This is a game that was actually created a group of Yu-Gi-Oh! players. That were at a SJC (a very large Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament with well over 500 people) and they saw a Lucky Piped Piper lying on the ground (it was foil, but a worthless one; $3 maybe). They asked around the area to see if it belonged to anyone, but to no avail.
They were just going to discard it until they came up with the idea for this game. The idea was to see how much they could turn this card into simply by trading. I don’t remember exactly what they ended up with, but I remember that their haul was well over $300.
A junk holo: Technically you could do this with any Pokémon card, but a pointless holo is traditionally how this game is played.
A large tournament: This is a really hard game to play at anything other than Nationals or Worlds. Since you really need a large number of people to trade with, anything smaller just wouldn’t work as well.
You can play this game individually or with any number of people, just make sure you’re all starting with the same card. This is a great game to also help you improve your trading skills. Let me be clear when I say “improve your trading skills”: I’m not talking about ripping off little kids.
What I’m talking about is using trading strategies to get the cards you need. I’ll give a quick run through of some they used and some of my own.
Playability: The first trade the guy made was to try and find something playable. He traded it for a damaged card worth about the same (it would be in comparison to trading for a damaged Rare Candy). Did he get ahead value wise? No he didn’t, but he did get a card that more people would want even damaged. It would be easier to trade than a junk holo.
Diversify: Having 9 copies of a card can make your trade binder look cool, but unless it’s an incredibly playable card it doesn’t make trading any easier. I would much rather have 9 different $10 cards than 9 copies of a $10 card.
Quantity: I’m a big believer in quality over quantity, but in this little game you really need to get a lot of cards to make it easier to trade with you. I don’t remember exactly what the trade was but a very early trade he made was taking a semi playable $10 card and trading it for 3 semi playable $4 cards. He didn’t lose anything value or playability wise, but he really was able open up a lot more trade possibilities simply by having more cards to offer.
Being Polite: This sounds so obvious, but it’s true: if you’re rude, pushy or try to be intimidating, people are far less likely to want to trade with you. Being fun, friendly and personable will get you much farther in trading and the business world in general.
Trade! Trade! Trade!: You have to trade a lot. He made a ton of trades very quickly, and he wasn’t just sitting around hoping people would come to him. He was out looking at binders, etc. You can’t expect his results by only making a few trades. You should expect to make a few hundred trades.
Walk Away: If you just can’t get a deal worked out or the other person is trying to be a bully, don’t be afraid to just say “hey I don’t think we can work anything out” and walk off. There are plenty of other people to trade with.
One of the last things I want to cover is cheating. This game is incredibly easy to cheat at, but there really isn’t a point to it. I mean, of course you could pull cards out of your binder and say you traded for them, but that doesn’t really help make you a better trader and it supposed to be a fun game regardless.
The other thing I consider cheating is ripping people off. The guy who came up with this game actually wrote all of his trades down and had the trade partner sign off on it (another way to prevent cheating), but looking at his sheet he didn’t rip one person off. He just made a lot of smart trades, made a few dollars here and there and made a few hundred dollars over the course of a few hours.
If you can find a guy who will trade his $20 for your $10 card, I would call that being a good trader. If he knows the values, he simply needs the card bad enough that he doesn’t care (this is very common at Nationals at Worlds). I once saw a guy pay $20 cash for a LA Mesprit. The reason might have something to do with deck list for Worlds having to be turned in within the next 15 mins. Supply, Demand, and Necessity are the three main principles that govern trading. So to lay it out…
- Making large trades with young kids who don’t know their values is not only despicable in my opinion but cheating in this game.
- Lying about values: If you tell somebody what your card is worth or theirs, it better be the truth. Telling somebody their Pokémon Collector is worth a Quarter is kind of like saying you were in bounds when you know you were out of bounds in a friendly game of football.
- Trying to intimidate people into trades does not only makes you a loser but its cheating as well.
So by now I’m sure many of you are asking yourself how did he possibly turn a $3 card into a few hundred dollars worth of cards without cheating people or being dishonest. The answer is quite simple: he didn’t care what he was trading for.
He wasn’t after any card or desperately trying to finish off a deck (which is often the case at Nationals or Worlds). He was simply trading to be trading.
He was also very friendly and personable which made people WANT to trade with him. Yes, it is possible to be a good trader without being a jerk, cheat, etc.
The last point I would like to make is there is a difference between driving a hard bargain and being an idiot. Offering me a $5 card for my $30 card makes you an idiot. However, if you ever watch two really good traders go at it each trying to get the upper hand, I would consider this driving a hard bargain.
It’s a game. Have fun. Don’t be idiot or else nobody will like trading with you. It’s also really easy to get a bad reputation, which can make trading a lot harder.
The winner is person who got the better haul. This can be pretty debatable, so if its a big issue you might want to set up what pricing website you’re going to use or what “playablity” means ahead of time. But hopefully none of you that give this a try are so serious about it that you need to pull out a website to start pricing stuff.
The last thing I suggest doing, which is something he did was at the end: trade for the same card you started it with. So at the end of the day he walked out with over $300 worth of cards and 1 Lucky Pied Piper.
So, hopefully you enjoyed the article. It might be a fun game to play around Nationals or Worlds, especially if you enjoying trading.