Insider Trading: Becoming a Better Trader Part II – Meet the Cast!

Successful traders know that trading Magic: the Gathering can often be just as rewarding as playing the game itself, if not moreso. Today I’m going to introduce you to the diverse cast of characters that you’re likely to encounter at a larger Magic: the Gathering event, and explain how to identify who’s who. Afterwards, our friends at Digi-Cardz.com are back with more Magic Online trading tips!

[Digi-Cardz.com – Every MTGO card in stock!]

Successful traders know that trading Magic: the Gathering can often be just as rewarding as playing the game itself, if not moreso. Today I’m going to introduce you to the diverse cast of characters that you’re likely to encounter at a Magic: the Gathering event, and explain how to identify who’s who. Afterwards, our friends at Digi-Cardz.com are back with more Magic Online trading tips!

For years, I have traveled around the world trading Magic: the Gathering and discovered that the way people approach trading can often be as diverse as the game itself. One of the key things I have learned is how to quickly identify the person that I am trading with and adapt my style of trading to effectively work with theirs. This has resulted in thousands of successful trades and was a key factor in the rapid expansion of my company during its earlier years.

“Real” Dealers

Out of all the various types of traders, “real” dealers are the easiest to spot because they are usually either behind the counter at the venue you are playing at or have authorized dealer tables set up over which they buy and sell cards. They will often have the cards you are looking for, but will usually need for a trade to be in their favor in order to consider accepting it. If you are more concerned with acquiring the cards you want/need than you are with the specific “values” of the cards you have to trade, trading with a “real” dealer will often be your easiest route.

Floor Dealers/Floor Traders/Sharks

Floor traders (also known as “sharks”) are traders who trade with the specific goal of being able to sell cards at a profit, usually to an online dealer or on eBay. They are also fairly easy to recognize as they often have exceptionally sweet trade binders but will usually try to use one set of card values for their cards and a much lower set of card values for yours. If you pay close attention, you will occasionally catch them assigning drastically different values to the exact same card, depending whose binder it is in! Needless to say, this type of trader often leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of the people they are trying to trade with.

The Guy Who Has It All

Trying to trade with “The Guy Who Has It All” will often be a lesson in frustration. There are only a few cards that this person is interested in and they are generally cards not found in 99.9% of trade binders. This person will also tend to drastically overvalue their cards and create the impression that they are simply trying to “show off” their trade binder without having any intention of actually trading. Trying to trade with this person will often be completely unproductive, and if your goal is to maximize your trading at that day’s event, “completely unproductive” is something that you can’t afford to be. Once you have identified a trader as “The Guy Who Has It All”, and you’ve concluded that trying to trade with them is going to be unproductive, politely excuse yourself and move on. Please note the word “politely”. There is no reason to be rude or abrupt.

Shiny McShinerson

This player is seeming obsessed with foils, and are willing to make some amazing trades if you have the foils that they are looking for. However, there aren’t many of these folks so it may take a while before you encounter one.

The Volume Trader

A volume trader will often have a significant collection, seem to be very knowledgeable about current card values and seem willing to make fairly even trades, so long as it comes out just *slightly* in their favor. They are usually just looking to increase the size and/or quality of their collection through completing a large volume of trades. To help accomplish their goals, they will almost always request “throw-ins” to help close the deal.

The Hardcore Tournament Player

The hardcore tournament player is usually only looking for the specific cards currently being played in the most popular decks. Because they will often assign little value to cards not popular in the current tournament scene, the tournament player can often be one of your best opportunities for making good trades, especially if you are a casual player.

The Casual Player

Casual players will usually have large trade binders full of seemingly “bad” cards, but better, tournament-quality cards will often be scattered amongst them – you just have to be willing to look for them. Because the casual player doesn’t usually play in tournaments, they are generally more willing to trade away tournament-quality rares.

The Guy Who Just Started Playing

New players will often have a very thin trade binder or small stack of cards and much of what they have may be commons. They tend to be enthusiastic about trading, but have absolutely no idea about card values, or in some cases, what the cards even do. Unless you are total scum and out to simply take advantage of this situation, trying to actually trade with them is almost always going to be unproductive. This does not mean that you should be anything but polite and respectful, but I am explaining this with the assumption that your goal is to maximize your trading opportunities while only having a limited amount of time to do so. Just be aware that new players can often consume large chunks of your time, while not having much to offer trade-wise.

Jack the “Ripper”

Jack the “Ripper” is the trader who would try to trade you his Mahamoti Djinn for your Juzam Djinn, then look you straight in the eye and tell you that Mahamoti is better because it “flies, has an extra one toughness and doesn’t damage you”. These people are idiots, but they are out there. Kindly say, “Thanks, but no thanks”, and walk away from this person.

In order to maximize your trades with each type of trader you simply need to be able to identify which type of trader you are dealing with and adapt your trading style to theirs. If they value their cards 20% higher than you would, assign values to your own cards that are 20% higher than you would normally value them at and try to work out an even trade. If they value their cards 20% lower than you do, assign values to your own cards that are 20% lower than you would normally value them at and try to work out an even trade. This may sound like a bit of an oversimplification, but I am actually just using oversimplified examples. Once you can learn how to quickly identify the type of person you are trading with and adapt your trading style to theirs, you will be surprised at how many more successful trades you’ll be able to make!

Nothing is free.

Protect Yourself from Magic Online Scammers Pt. 2

Every trade on Magic Online has a limit of thirty-two (32) items for either side of the trade. One of the more popular scams on Magic Online involves offering to throw in free commons to fill the trade box with the purchase of a “money” (expensive because it is highly sought after) rare. However, the scammer isn’t being as generous as they appear to be.

Here’s how it works. The scammer advertises to sell a “money” rare for a fairly good price. You accept the offer. You then enter a trade with the scammer and they say something along the lines of, “Why don’t you go ahead and take thirty-one commons to increase the trade to the maximum of thirty-two cards. I just want to get rid of some of these commons that I don’t use anymore.” This may not really seem strange, because the commons aren’t really worth much. However, while you are adding your commons, the scammer then sets the “money” rare to “not tradable” in his binder. Eventually, you fill the trade window to thirty-two cards, but you really have thirty-two commons instead of thirty-one commons and the “money” rare. The scammer has just sold you thirty-two commons that are essentially worth nothing for the cost of the “money” rare. This is another instance where using the second “confirm” window will protect you. When you see the second “confirm” screen, make sure that you take a closer look to ensure that your trade partner has not just tried to scam you. If you see that they have, simply back out of the trade. Once the scammer realizes that you are aware of their scam, they will probably back out themselves and add you to their “ignore” list so that you cannot talk to them anymore.

The next tip involves the use of PayPal when selling cards or tickets. PayPal trades are very risky, and Wizards of the Coast does not support trades involving PayPal at all. Before you make a Magic Online transaction involving PayPal, you should make sure that you know the person you are dealing with. If not you may find yourself the victim of a scam.

Just remember to mana burn to one before trying to cheese people out of their money.

The most popular scam at the moment is the credit card reversal. In this scam, the scammer agrees to pay you an agreed upon amount for your Magic Online cards or tickets. They send you the payment via PayPal using their credit card. After confirming receipt of the payment, you then deliver the items to them via a Magic Online trade. Once they have the cards or tickets, they then notify their credit card company and state that they didn’t purchase anything from you or never received what they had purchased. At this point, the credit card company reverses the charge and credits the scammer’s account for the full amount of the transaction. PayPal then deducts this amount from your PayPal account, effectively giving the scammer a full refund. This can also happen if a scammer is using a stolen credit card number. The person who owns the credit card will see charges that they didn’t make, call their credit card company and have the charges reversed. One way to protect yourself from scammers using stolen credit card information is to only accept PayPal payments from verified PayPal accounts. A scammer can not verify the PayPal account because they don’t actually have access to the credit card holder’s account and can not verify the amount of money PayPal credits to that account as part of their verification process.

However, PayPal offers no seller protection on digital items, so you will almost always lose. You can provide PayPal with trade id numbers from Magic Online as your “proof of delivery”, but they do not look at this as a valid tracking device. Since the emergence of this scam, many dealers will no longer accept PayPal payments via credit card. In order to protect yourself, I would recommend only accepting PayPal payments from verified and confirmed accounts. You can also check PayPal to see how long a person has had a PayPal account by doing a mock send payment. To do this, simply log onto your PayPal account and choose the “send money” option. Fill out the information as if you were going to send the person you are dealing with $.01 (one cent). Click the “continue’ button, then stop at the next screen. On this screen, you will see a highlighted link beside “account status”. Click this link. A pop-up box will then appear and provide some useful information about the person you are dealing with. Here, you can view the person’s PayPal reputation (verification rating), account status, account type, account creation date and how long the account has been active with PayPal. Once you see this information, just click the “cancel” button and the payment will be cancelled. This information is extremely helpful because you can see if the account was recently opened and whether or not the accountholder is verified. PayPal scammers have to continually open new PayPal accounts in order to keep their scams going, so in addition to their accounts usually being unverified, they will often also be recently opened. This does not mean that every person who just opened an unverified PayPal account is a scammer, but having this information will help you make a more informed decision.

My final bit of advice deals with virus protection on your computer. If you plan to do any Magic Online dealing through PayPal or involving e-mail, you should have a reputable, updated virus protection program on your computer. Every week, I receive a lot of emails that contain key-logging viruses. The scammer sending these viruses is attempting to steal my password with a key-logger, so that they can log onto my account and remove my cards. If a single key-logging virus gets through, my Magic Online account could potentially be completely wiped out within just a few minutes. This also can happen with links that random people may send you through private messages.

I once received a private message that contained a link to a website that the scammer said contained a “hack” for Magic Online. After downloading a certain “hack” from this website and installing it into the Magic Online directory on your computer, you were supposed to receive extra cards in your binder. In reality, this “hack” was nothing more than a key-logger. Once this “hack” was installed in your Magic Online Directory, it logged the user name and password to your Magic Online account and then sent the information to the scammer. The scammer could then simply log onto your account and trade all the cards from your account to theirs. The next time you logged in, you would have found that your trade binder was empty. Should you receive an e-mail like the one I just described, know that there are no known “hacks” to Magic Online. Wizards of the Coast realizes that people spend money to play this game and they take every precaution they possibly can to keep Magic Online secure from hackers.

Best wishes,

Pete Hoefling
President, StarCityGames.com