Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Part 1: How Yugioh Made Me a Con-Artist

If you hadn't known already, the game of Yu-Gi-Oh acts like a black market. Cards can go on sale for as high as $200 and it all depends on the value of the cards (similar to the value of the dollar) and the supply and demand of these cards (similar to other real life situations). 
In this picture, the 11 cards that I was holding was worth roughly $1500 at the time.
Yu-Gi-Oh made me greedy and I turned into a Con-Artist whenever I had the chance to make a quick buck. When I was 13, my parents enrolled me in a summer program called Math Enrichment which included kids of all ages and I found a way to make solid money. Before I share my experience on that, I do have to clarify a few things before diving into my story.

A Yu-Gi-Oh booster box contained 24 booster packs and within each booster box, there is a guaranteed number of certain rare cards. Booster packs are worth around $3 and sold for $4-5 individually at local stores so I thought, what if I bought the packs in bulk and sold them? Not only that, I would bring the business to the customers instead of them having to come into the stores which made life a lot more convenient. But I also wanted the rare cards that were in the booster packs so my friends and I had a brilliant and evil strategy. 

Plan 1 

There are different rarities when it came to Yu-Gi-Oh but the Ultra, Ultimate, and Secret Rare's are usually the cards that are highest in demand which therefore are the cards that are valued higher. These cards are unique because they have a unique holographic glow as their design, which caused them to be just a hair thicker and heavier than the other common cards (non-halo). This meant that the booster packs that weighed more had a higher chance of containing an Ultra, Ultimate or Secret Rare card. My friends and I invested in a scale which could calculate the micro differences in the weight of the booster packs. Although this plan was not fool proof, it made the odds much better in our favor because we had a higher probability of finding the rarer cards. We opened the heavier packs in hope to obtain the rare cards and sold the lighter packs for $4 just like in the stores. Although we cannot accurately measure this procedure (Although I thought it was a success), we found a different plan and things got even worse.
This is a picture of the main Booster box I bought and sold for a profit.

My friend found an effective way to seal booster packs back together and make it look like it was unopened which took our scheme to a whole new level. Our new plan was to buy a booster box, open all 24 packs very carefully and lay the cards out on a table. We extracted the Ultra, Ultimate, and Secret cards out of these piles of cards and replaced them with cards of lower rarity. After this process, we sealed the booster packs together so it looked brand new and unopened. On average, we invested around $100 for a booster box, obtained all of the best cards, replaced the rare cards with cards of lower rarity, resealed all of the booster packs, and sold them for a cheaper price of $3. Not only are the consumers obtaining the booster packs at a lower value, the sales are coming to them so that buying booster packs was easier than ever. But who would fall for this trap?

The booster pack's seal wasn't foolproof. Any knowledgeable adult who took a 2nd or 3rd glance at the sealing would be suspicious and I was not trying to get kicked out of the local shops selling to other people my age or other adults. We took it upon ourselves to sell it to kids at an annual summer program called Math Enrichment. 

Kids LOVED Yu-Gi-Oh cards and everything about it. They loved trading cards, opening booster packs, dueling against each other and having fun. During one week of Math Enrichment, my friend and I had a great plan. We did a small investment in two booster boxes full of booster packs (48 packs total) and played out an acting scene so well, I'm surprised we aren't in Hollywood right now. 
In this picture, the Spell cards on the top row are all Pot of Duality's which are Secret Rares. The trap cards on the bottom row are all Solemn Judgments, the first and last 2 trap cards are Ultimate Rare while the middle 2 trap cards are Ultra Rare.

"WHOA TAM, HOW DO YOU HAVE SO MANY BOOSTER PACKS?!?", my friend screamed out.

"I bought them when I was at Top Deck (local card shop) last weekend and I'm trying to sell some packs. Do you want one?"

This conversation caught all of the kids' attention as they quickly circled around my friends and I. I purposely kept a few packs with Ultra, Ultimate and Secret Rare cards hidden so that I could "sell" this act as I told my friend to open one. My first friend opened it and he started jumping up and down screaming, 


The kids gazed at my crazy friend with wide eyes, stunned at how lucky he was to open a Secret Rare card on his first booster pack. One of them courageously stepped up to buy a booster pack to test his luck. I gave him one of the secret packs that I purposely made and he opened his pack to find an ultra rare card, one of the few available in the booster box. The kids surrounded him, asking him to see his cards, and were completely engaged in his success as well. Soon, my business took off and although the rest of the kids didn't open anything extremely valuable, I made a HELL of a lot of profit.

This was probably the most unethical things I have ever done in my life but I was 13 at the time and didn't really think much about my morals as I constantly do today. I've dramatically changed since this experience and can never imagine myself scamming little kids like this again. I just thought this was a pivotal time in my life that I constantly reflect back on and would like to share. 

Leave your thoughts below on what you think! 

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  1. Thank you for telling my story

    The story of the YuGiOh Hustlers LOOOL

  2. unethical? hardly. one mans misery is another mans profit

  3. Don't worry. You will be stopped.

  4. I did this exact same thing in year 2, i just never figured out how to seal the packets. I sold the high value cards online. made like $2000 out of the high value ones every month. now that the Holographic cards are the same weight, the trick doesn't work anymore though.