Getting LUCKy: Slowing Your Roll

Newton’s First Law of Motion states, “An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.” 

At two separate parts in my financing “career,” I have slowed buying cards in order to catch up on other things. The second time this happened, I had a lot of unexpected expenses come up and had just aquired a few collections. I took my time with grinding—slowed my roll a bit. The slower my roll became, the less I was making. As the weeks rolled by, I started trying to blame everything but myself.

“This place was slow at paying me.”

“I can’t pick up more cards until I figure out what to do with these.”

“My whole collection will go up in a few months.”

As those few weeks turned into a month, then two months, I began to realize that something had to give. I can only control me. My results are based on me—no one else has control over what I’m doing. I took the little money I did have left and bought $100 worth of cards and set to a full day of grinding. It was painstaking, pulling more nickels and dimes out of those boxes than ever before, but as the piles began to build, I started to remember why I started this in the first place. Then with the money I earned, I started looking (and I mean looking) for more to buy. The truth of the matter is that I’m still not fully recovered. I am yet to be dropping a few grand a month on cards, but the ball is in motion. Once it starts, it is much easier to keep going.

Taking Blame for What is Happening is Always the First Step Toward Getting LUCKy

You can only fix you. David Neagle says “It’s your fault that you are dying: you were born.” That is the only outlook that will breed results. Once the blame game starts, that means I am justifying. One of my favorite sayings is, “Justifiably wrong is still wrong.” If you have to justify it, it’s probably wrong. As soon as it is someone else’s fault, you can’t do anything about it. The only way that I have found is to just take the blame for everything, because then you can fix it.

Start with a Fearless Inventory of Yourself

If you don’t know what the problem is, how can you fix it? What keeps you from accomplishing what you want to accomplish with Magic? I don’t care if it’s playing or financing—put these on paper. Here are some of my examples:


I let my playing get in the way of my income.
I don’t keep current enough on prices.
I let price memory guide my buying instead of solid information.
I get too attached to certain cards.
I use my income from Magic to purchase other things (food, soda, sleeves, etc.).
I rush through things instead of making sure I do them right.
I try to give more money than I should so people will like me (this isn’t always bad, but I take it too far).
I am completely unorganized when it comes to Magic.
I don’t write things down.


I don’t RTFC (read the fantastic card) before making decisions.
I hurry when shuffling so I don’t make my opponent wait.
I play completely reactively.
I don’t believe that certain players can beat me, so I quit playing good Magic.
I forget triggers.
I don’t study the meta enough (this affects my financing too).
When I think I have won the game, I ease up.
I don’t playtest enough before big tournaments.

I could go on and list them all. I have about forty in each category, but I think by now you should get the point. Make a thorough list of all of your downfalls, pitfalls, and whatever separates you from where you want to be.

Find Someone Who Plays or Finances Like You Want To

It’s not enough to make a list if you don’t figure out how to solve the problem. For financing, this is a little harder, but the good news is that it’s a business. Though there are differences between Magic and other ventures, you would be surprised at the many similarities. Find someone with some good business sense and buy them a cup of coffee or a burger at McDonald’s. Sit down and let them know you are trying to succeed in business and would like some help. You would be surprised at how good that five-dollar investment really is. Even outside of Magic, you can learn plenty that applies. One thing I have learned is that you can divide your bank account down the middle, almost like a room divider, and have one section for Magic and the other for personal finances (most banks will let you have a dozen little dividers in your account). Just that can help tremendously when you are looking at financing in the Magic realm.

Write It Down

I know I say it all the time, but the best information in the world can’t help you if you can’t remember it. This is one of my biggest downfalls. Had I kept an spreadsheet of my purchases and revenue, I would have realized from times before that when my spending fell under $1,000 a month, my profit fell even more drastically. For some reason, I can’t keep the ball rolling uphill—it just keeps coming back at me. It also lets me see if I have been declining, growing, or stagnating. I learned all of this from someone who doesn’t know why there are different colors on the cards.

Keep Moving Forward

I don’t know anything that you win at by standing still. You can’t make money in Magic if you aren’t buying; you can’t win games that you aren’t playing. We are right back to the Newton’s Law of Motion. I’ve talked in past articles about places to find buying oportunities, but it won’t help if you don’t do it. Something I learned from a non-Magic player was that money is active. Even in the bank or under the bed, it is doing something. If you let it, it can be even more active. It works best when you have it flowing, even if it’s only in one hand and out the other.

I sat down with my collection the other day and did some figuring. I haven’t gained much monetarily from Magic finance, but what I do have is an investment that keeps growing. I started out with $300 worth of cards and without outside money going into it, it has turned into a $4,500 collection. Before I stagnated, it was getting closer to $10,000, but I already covered that. For some people that might not seem like much: only $4500? But the way I see it is that this represents a 1500-percent increase in two years. Where else can I go and get that kind of return? To be fair, I’ve made up for not putting extra money in with lots of time. If you start from where you are, with a bit of effort, you will be amazed where you can get.

About the Author
@CalebGothberg     -     Email     -     Articles Caleb studied at The University of Lessons Learned the Hard Way. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a doctorate in Failed Finance. He's out to share some knowledge so you can avoid the mistakes he made. Visit his website at

One comment on “Getting LUCKy: Slowing Your Roll

  1. Jeff Brain says:

    Thanks for the insight into perseverance, and persistence. I’m the original artist for the Khalsa-Brain Games Spellgrounds, and am amazed at the prices they command at conventions and online. After beating myself up a bit over the years, I have become happy with signing mats when fans find out who I am (will be at Comic-Con in July, 2014 as a presenter at the Comic Arts Conference) when my boys and I are in the MtG room. As Dan Simmons says through his iconic character in Hyperion, “Choose again”.


    Jeff Brain

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