Dealers are many player’s best friends. They set up early on major tournament dates, stay late, and are always willing to trade if you’re willing to pay their price. They can also be a source of quick cash if you’re able to unload some of your good rares after a season of good trades. Unfortunately, some players don’t understand how to deal with these dealers, and waste a lot of time and money in doing so.
The first step in dealing with dealers is to shop around. If you’re buying, check every dealer you can find to get the best price. Often, prices can vary by as much as $10 between dealers, depending on the kinds of customers they typically serve. If you’re selling, most dealers will have a want list posted somewhere, which will give you an indication of what they’re looking for and how much they’ll give you for it. Remember that you don’t need to sell everything to one dealer. Take the best price you can get for each item from each individual dealer. Also note that some dealers will give you cash, while others will only allow you to redeem your sold cards for trade credit with them, so always ask before confirming a deal.
If you’re selling, visit dealers early. Often they will have paid for their spot at a tournament, and will want to get the optimum value for their money. If you’re trying to sell them things at the end of the day, they know that there’s little chance they’ll get rid of all their stuff by the time they need to close, and will be less likely to buy your stuff at the highest price. Conversely, if you’re buying for a tournament on a later date, do it at the end of the day, and if you’re making a substantial purchase ask if you can get a little discount. Obviously if you’re only buying a few cards, this is unlikely, but if you’re buying twelve cards for the same price, ask if they’ll do 12 for the price of 10, or something like that. Most of the time they will oblige at smaller prices, especially since they have little chance of selling those cards to other customers. The worst they can do is say no.
If you end up wanting to make a transaction with a dealer when there are a lot of people around, you need to be aggressive. With large numbers of players fishing through their stuff, these dealers need to be watching their inventory for theft, while trying to persuade these people to buy at the same time. Often, that means ignoring customers who seem to know what they want. If the dealer is talking with someone else, say “Excuse me” loud enough for them to hear, and try to take up as much counter space as you can. This ensures that they want to get you out of the way as quickly as possible, and if you try to wait quietly in line, you could be there for a long, long time.
How do you know when you should sell your cards to dealers? Whenever you notice an aberration in the amount of money they’re offering for a trade card is a good time, and also whenever you and your team have collected enough of a given card, and your trade binders are bursting. This is one major way of turning your expenses back into profit without having to play at all, but remember to maintain enough trade stock that you can still be active in trading with non-dealers. Also, if you make a major profit, consider buying your team Trader lunch with part of your earnings, since you’re basically profiting off their hard work.