Ten Steps to Effective Online Pokemon Card Trading

by Pikkdogs ~ April 16th, 2010.

Hello all, it’s Pikkdogs here with an article for TeamOmar.com.  Many of you Pokemon players are at regionals now, or will go there soon, or have just gotten back from one.  I love big Pokemon tournaments.  You get to show off your skills, meet new people, and most importantly get to trade cards.  Trading is important for growing a card collection, it would be a lot more expensive to get a lot of cards if you could only buy packs and singles.  Now what if I told you that you could trade like it was regionals every day.  You can, by trading online.  This article will profile my ten steps for successful online trading.   Even though I’m not the best online trader, I have been trading for  over a year and have learned many things that will help beginners.

The Ten Steps

  1. Asses your goods.  My first step for effective online trading is to assess your collection.  I recommend that you go to your binders or card box and make a list of all the cards you have that people might want.  You can do this step gradually, taking a small inventory the first time you sit down, and then add more cards to your list later.  When you are making your list make sure to make a list of the imperfections that each of your cards have, such as that scratch on the corner of your Dialga G.  Then add to the list any other things you have of value.  This includes other trading card games, video games, and especially money.  Many people will trade video games for cards, and every trader loves to receive money.
  2. Choose a website.  Your next step is to choose a trading site.  The most prominent trading websites are pokegym.net, pokebeach.com, and pojo.biz.  From what I know each of these three sites are pretty similar and would be good places to start.  A new website that is just gaining popularity is sixprizes.com/boards.  6P is a good trading site, but lacks the powerful moderators that other sites have.  This makes trading a little more chaotic and riskier.
  3. Learn the lay of the land.  Once you have chosen a trading site then you must learn the rules of the website.  Different trading websites have different rules about trading.  For example, trading on sixprizes.com is much more informal then trading on Pojo.  Make sure to read the trading rules of whatever website you choose, it will save you a lot of heartache.
  4. Get used to the lingo.  Online card traders have their own lingo, they say things like “cml”, “rip”, “mod trade” and “ref”.  “CML” means check my list, this is mostly used when someone posts on another person’s trading thread.  They would list the cards they like from the others “have” list and then type “cml,” meaning that the other person should check their have and want list for cards that they like.  “Rip” is something you don’t want to hear, it means that someone has stolen your cards.  For example, if you send someone your card first, and they never send their cards, that would be a Rip.  “A Mod Trade” is a trade in which both traders don’t really trust each other, so they send their cards to the websites moderator, and the moderator would send each person the new card.  “Refs” are very important to online trading.  Whenever you complete an online trade you should leave a comment for the other trader, this comment is called a ref.  If you had a good trading experience you would leave a positive ref, if you had a bad experience you would leave a negative ref.  This would warn other users about a specific trader.  Refs are used to calculate who sends first in online trading.  If you have more refs then your trading partner then your trading partner would send first, and you would send your cards once you receive theirs.  This system is called “feedback” on sixprizes.com, instead of “references”.
  5. Value your haves and wants.  Now it is time to value each of your cards and the cards you want.  Obviously different cards are worth different amounts of money..  A potion is worth about a quarter, while Luxray Gl x Lv. X has been known to go for over sixty dollars.  Some people only value cards based on prices on a card site, while others find a median EBay price.  And others, like me, value cards based on want.  If I need a card, I will value it much more than if I don’t plan to use a card.  No matter how you value your cards beware of the changing value of cards.  For example, before the Worlds tournament 2009 the Gyarados card from Stormfront was trading for around a dollar, after the tournament the value went to around 5 dollars.  The difference was that a playable deck was made with the card, causing the value to go up.  Just watch the changing value of cards.
  6. Create your own thread. The next step s to create your own thread.  You have inventoried your collection and have chosen a trading site, your next step is to start a trading thread.  To do this you should list at least 10 haves and wants.  That means at least 10 cards that you have, and at least 10 cards that you want.  Most people list their cards by type (like fire or fighting) or set that the cards come from.  I feel that listing the card by set makes it easier, but either way is acceptable.  Make sure you list what set your card is from, there is a big difference in the trade value of Gengar from Diamond and Pearl and the Gengar from Stormfront.
  7. Avoid the ripper.  As mentioned before, a ripper is someone who gets you to send him a trading card while not planning to send you one in return.  To be a good online trader you must learn to avoid rippers.  To avoid them you must watch for any suspicious activity.  If a trader with 0-2 refs are asking for you to send first, there is a good chance that he/she is trying to rip you.  Never send first when you don’t have to, if suspicious of a trade always ask for a mod trade.  Another suspicious activity is if good cards suddenly appear on a list.  Say if a person lists cards on their thread that are not very valuable, and another trader asks if they have anymore cards, and the first trader begins to list really good cards like Luxray Gl Lv.x, Gengar Lv.x or Time Space Distortion.  This is a very suspicious activity, if you see someone do this then ask for a mod trade before accepting a trade offer.  A good rule is to always be pessimistic of people, if what they are saying sounds too good to be true it might be.   You will probably never avoid the ripper, they are a fact of life, but if you follow these rules you will encounter them much less.
  8. Look for a good deal.  To start trading look at other peoples trading threads and see if anyone has what you are looking for.  If they do, tell them if you have anything that they want, or tell them to Check Your List.  After you do this, you can propose a deal.  Usually the person who started the trade thread does not have to make the first trade proposal.  For the first trade offer make a fair deal, but make sure that you end up getting more trade value then he/she does.  If he/she does not like the deal, then they will offer you a counter offer that is likely more fair.  Then keep making counter offers until you two come to a decision.  But, make sure you don’t insult the other trader by making a bad deal, you could anger the other trader by proposing a lopsided deal.  Once I listed two swinubs as a want on my list.  A couple days later another trader offered to give me the 2 swinubs for a vaporeon RR and a Jolteon RR.  I was so insulted because they thought that 2 commons were equal to 2 rares that I never traded with that person again.  So, offer a trade proposal that favors yourself, but not by too much.  Once you agree on a deal then send your mailing address to the other trader in a private message.  Then the sending can begin.
  9. Send Safely.  The safest way to send a card is to put it in a penny sleeve then into a top loader, then into a bubble wrap package.  But, it can also be safe to wrap a card in tissue paper or two pieces of cardboard and put it into an envelope.  Just be aware that envelopes with cards in them do break in the mail some times.  So if you’re sending a Level X in the mail, I would choose to use a bubble mailer.  The bubble mailers are available from Wal-Mart or any other similar store for about a buck each.
  10. Closing Tips.  In close, the best trader is a persistent trader.  Keep checking websites and trading threads.  Eventually you will find a good trade offer out there.  And as always, be nice.  Being polite goes a long way; people will tend to give you a better deal if you are polite and courteous.  And finally, look for a vulnerable trader.  There are traders out there who really want a card right away; and you might be able to get a good deal out of someone if you find a person who wants a card really quickly.  Usually the week before a big tournament is an excellent time for trading.  Also, look for young and new traders, they will give you the best deals.  Now, I’m not asking you to rip off young kids that have a Luxray Gl Lv.X, but those kids can give you a good deal.  A lot of times if people who are new to a game pull a good card from a pack they will offer it to you for a small collection of staple cards.  It will be a good deal for both of you, they get a lot of cards that they can use to build a deck, and you get the card you’ve always wanted for a great deal.

Well that was a long article.  But, I hope you new traders will use it to get into the wonderful world of online trading.  There are a lot of ups and down of this world, but I think the ups overshadow the downs.  For reference I have left links to my trading threads.  Remember that lots of times you wont be able to find the cards you want fast, but give it some time, and you will.  As always thanks to Ed and Omar for letting me post on their site.

http://www.sixprizes.com/boards/showthread.php?t=11

http://www.pojo.biz/board/showthread.php?t=747034

Category: Trading | Tags:
  • Ed

    Nice article, Pikkdogs. One thing I'd like to mention goes along with #5. In almost all endevors, I've found that if you let others know what you value the item you want to trade/sell, then you will get a much better response.

    When people are browsing for something, I believe that they are much more likely to respond if they know what you want in return. For Pokemon cards, it might mean ranking your haves/wants in some sort of Low/Med/High value tiers. At the more extreme level, it could be putting some sort of relative dollar value on each and every card you have/want. That way people can look at what you have and easily determine what you might consider trading it for.

  • RA-FUCKIN'-DU

    11. Get refs, then rip. Before trying to orchestrate a rip on a site you should get at least ten good refs, w/o refs any big trade you make will be subject to suspicion. Once you get some good refs you have to pick your targets. Do not pick adults if possible kids 12-16 make a good target because they rarely have the incentive to do anything about it, also they dont know about delivery confirmation. Dont get little trades they sully you're reputation with little gain, try making one or two bigger, but not “oh shit I better get delivery confirmation” big. Like maybe get a luxray and another level x. Then all you do is say you never received their end, dont ignore them, just say you never received and nothing else eventually they will probably drop it and neg ref you. They may file mail fraud, but its a joke just keep to your story. Once you rip on one site start over on another and repeat. It helps if you get some friends to help you ref fraud. ENJOY YOUR FREE CARDS GUYS

  • Ed

    Exactlly. This is what people need to be aware of. If you're looking to trade online, you have to know that there are people out there that will employ methods like this. Yeah, it won't be the majority of traders you encounter, but there are scammers in every sector. If you're naive enough to think that it won't happen, then you're just asking to get taken for a ride. If your eyes are open to how scammers operate, then you'll be more likely to spot a scam before it happens.

    And don't ever forget that if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Never be afraid to walk away.

  • RA-FUCKIN'-DO

    12. When trying a rip never make deal that is too good, Avoid anything that causes red flags. Remember its like a regular deal except you don't send your end. Basically there should be no way anyone should be able to figure out what you're doing, if you're doing it right. Remember this is illegal, be smart and profit.

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