Is Sports Card Collecting Gambling?
I've never been much of a gambler. The Lord knows I have enough crosses to bear. Other than a few games of low-stakes Texas Hold'em with friends from time to time, I don't throw my money to the wind for luck. Heck, I never even played fantasy football until last year! I lost.
I had a conversation with my brother the other day and he referred to collecting as gambling, which got me thinking, “Have I been fooling myself?" I never considered collecting sports cards a gamble. When I rip a box of cards and get a huge hit, I don't consider it to be a peck on the cheek from Lady Luck. If I buy a single, I call it an investment. It's just playing the game, right? Furthermore, is my local hobby store my Las Vegas? If so, all that's missing is Carrot Top and blinking lights.
Betting on sports events is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States. We bet on everything we can think of, hoping to get the big payoff. An amazing adrenaline rush washes over winners. That moment when it's “go time," the world slows and it's all or nothing. Nothing's better. Nothing's worse when you lose it all.
It's the same idea with collecting, at least to a certain extent. I don't hesitate buying a box to rip. I have no idea what's in it. There are no guarantees, but I get a huge rush opening it. Pack after pack, I am searching for cardboard gold.
It's not just ripping boxes either. It's also found in what I call the "hording of rookies". This is when you buy quantities of every so-called hot prospect and "long shot" you can get your hands on. Then it's the wait and hoping that a star will rise out of a mountain of cards. The payoff can be huge. On the flip side, you can end up with a closet full of rookie cards worth absolutely squat.
Is there really a stone cold lock in collecting? We are always playing the odds, the over and the under. There are the obvious athletes with the honor of the “absolute." With many of us, including myself, unable to afford that luxury, I guess we'll continue to take that risk of boom or bust, hoping to someday find our “absolute." Until then, I guess we better know when to hold them and know when to fold them. Oh forget it, I'm all in!