PROTRADER: Credit Is King – Part 2

It’s working. I can’t believe it’s actually working.

Since writing my “Credit is King” article a few weeks ago, I have managed to turn about $170 into over $500 in store credit. This growth is a result of nothing more than taking trade-in credit from one vendor to purchase cards that a different vendor has a better buy price on (including credit). At first the task seemed daunting and improbabe, but after a half a dozen cycles across three different retailers, I can confirm that this strategy is 100% effective.

At least for now…more on that later.

But before I dive into the cautions of this approach, I first want to share some high level observations on the three vendors I use most frequently for this credit experiment: Star City Games, Card Kingdom, and ABU Games. By understanding a few valuable rules of thumb and observations, we can begin to piece together how this credit experiment has been so successful to date.

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5 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Credit Is King – Part 2”

  1. Thanks for the credit is king update! I wasn’t as successful as you finding lucrative buylsit prices for the cards I picked up in credit… However, I managed to turn 9 Obelisk of Urds into some modern staples that will be extremely easy to trade.

    I was too worried that I would take a major hit on the conditions you mentioned with the various vendors. Thanks for providing all of that valuable info, very helpful for future reference.

    I wanted to keep the store credit rolling in and out like you are doing but I think I made the right choice in picking modern cards to trade instead of buylisting them because the best deals I found were on SP cards. Do you think this is a good backup plan? If you can’t find any worthwhile arbitrage, I thought the next best thing was picking up staples.

    Anyway, I learned a ton about buylisting through this process and following along with this series. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I’ll admit that it’s getting more and more difficult finding straight-up arbitrage opportunities using this strategy. At first there were options aplenty, but naturally as I do this more and more (along with a few others), the opportunities dry up. The good news is the market is extremely fluid. There may be fewer opportunities out there today, but in a month some may return. Time will tell.

      I don’t blame you at all for “cashing out” per se and grabbing some staples you need. I set my goal very high to aim for a Lotus, but if I fall short and end up with an HP Unlimited Mox or something, I’ll still call this endeavor a huge success. But I’m going to remain patient and persistent here, because I really do think this can be successful. It just takes a LOT of effort, researching card after card after card until you find that 1 opportunity. Time consuming, but worth it given enough diligence.

      I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Glad this tidbit can still be helpful!


  2. Hi Sig,

    Great articles, but I have a few comments…

    One question I have to ask…you mention everything as far as buylist to buylist and being North of the border, its far more difficult to do this for me than for US sellers, but you fail to mention anything to do with your own out of pocket shipping costs, and registering shippments (if applicable) is pretty pricey. You said you have done several cycles of trading, what are your shipping costs once you receive the cards?

    Another risk factor I believe you forgot to mention was changing buylist prices from the time of purchase to time of sale. I apologize if I missed it somewhere in the 1st or 2nd article, but I don’t remember seeing it. I know stores will honor buylist prices for a week or two typically, but is it reliable enough to buy the cards, create a sell order right after and go ahead and do this or do you have to wait until you receive them?

    I do a lot of ebay to buylist arbitrage and that is simply because I have seller protection if I don’t receive the cards…eliminates one end of the risk. That being said, this is a really good avenue if you can pull it off.



    1. Steve,

      You pose two VERY valid questions that I have admittedly downplayed. But they are real risks.

      1. Shipping costs – I included the shipping costs in my “cash outlay” number in this article. So even with the cash outlay for shipping, I’m still doing very well. On the sell side, I print shipping labels through PayPal so the cost is discounted a bit. On the buy side, some vendors offer free shipping on large enough orders, and overall once you get to $100+ orders, the shipping cost becomes nominal. That being said, the cost IS there and I definitely take it into account when I do my math.

      2. Shipping time – ahhhh yes I should have mentioned this one. Miss on my part, and I’m really glad you brought it up. This in fact happened to me! I bought a $110 Alpha Living Lands from ABU Games and Card Kingdom was paying $105 cash at the time. But by the time the card arrived in the mail, CK dropped their buy price to $90. :(. Fortunately I still made a tiny bit of credit on the deal, but it was certainly suboptimal. This is 100% another risk we take in doing the credit flipping game. The good news: when you deal in older cards, you (usually) take less risk that buy prices will fluctuate a ton. It was probably awful luck that others had sold CK a NM Alpha Living Lands at the same time I did. Hopefully this doesn’t happen too too often.

      Great questions, thanks for commenting!

  3. Hey Sig,

    I have some recent ABU buylist experience that may present a major caveat for your approach: ABU *does* have a grading scale for played cards.

    I buylisted a bunch of cards in June and again last week, submitting some of the cards as Played. In both cases, ABU graded a handful of the Played cards as Poor, with a buylist value 1/2 of the Played buylist value.

    In the June bunch they cited creasing and water damage as the reasons for grading cards as Poor, but I can only think of two of those cards that met those criteria — one was warped from water damage and the other had a fairly torn corner. I feel like the other ones were no worse than heavily played.

    This was only a couple dozen cards out of many hundred. And none of them were higher-value Old School cards.

    But if you’re trying to arbitrage Old School cards by counting on ABU grading all non-NM cards as Played, you might want to stick to buying no worse than MP cards from other vendors (or else risk dropping hundreds on an HP card that ABU grades as Poor). Or at least experiment with some low-value HP cards first, and see if ABU accepts them as Played or grades them as Poor.


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