Is This Hobby a Gamble?


TP9 | VC15
5.00 star(s)
Some recent correspondence on Twitter led me wonder what most collector's perception of the hobby is, in regards to gambling. I've heard this comparison several times before, but every time I think about it I always come to the same conclusion. To me, it's not a gamble at all.

For me it can only be a gamble if you're looking to turn a profit, and how can it be a gamble if you never "win" anything? I've opened several boxes of cards since I started collecting, and I never remember winning anything. Am I just buying the wrong boxes?

In all seriousness, though, for those of us actually collect cards, it's not really a gamble at all. Most "collectors" are happy with any box they get, regardless of the cards. I've never heard a true collector say "lost money on that one", or "didn't even get my money back there". When I pull cards from a pack, they always serve a purpose. They either go into my PC themselves, or they go up for trade for other cards that will go into my PC.

So I guess that means I'm the luckiest guy in the world, because every time I open a box I win!
I've been lucky enough to never see it as a "gamble" when I buy a box or take part in a box break, a gamble means theres a chance to lose but for me I either get something I want or get something I know someone may need,, so the cards regardless go to someone that wants or needs it so its a win win
A true collector does it for the love of the hunt. If a person is that worried about BV they are probably just buying to resell. I see a card that isn't my PC as trade bait

Did someone say "Love Thrill of the Hunt"?
The main thing that I see as a gamble are box breaks. I have been in some where I got lots of cards and been in a few that I never even got a base card.
I do believe that there are some gambles in the hobby. The prices of the top end boxes can seem like a gamble to many based on sheer cost. I know I have bought some boxes. looking for PC hits, but knowing that I would have to or trade the rest just to be able to keep the PC going. But, I still LOVE to open packs myself, so the fun of the hobby far outweighs any gamble that can be perceived.
It's a gamble only if you expect something of monetary return value. If you collect for the love of it, you've won in all cases.

That's my exact thoughts, and seems like the most popular response on TCZ. I'd like to see this same conversation on other sites to see if that's a hobby-wide perception.
Yes and no. I say yes like if you rae breaking boxes trying to get your money back. If you are just in it for fun and team player or whatever collecting then who cares.
I have dropped up to 120 for a box and only a few lucky times got my money back. Its great to do but doesnt happen offten
I agree. I think if you're hoping to get your money back w/ great pulls then you're probably going to be sadly disappointed. But, I can say I've found great fun in going thru my local LCS's dime and quarter boxes for card going oh yeah this guy or oh yeah that guy.

I also agree with the box break comment by @pwolantern that they can be a bit of a gamble. I've opened enough packs that seeing my favorite teams going 0 for and getting the bottom of the barrel guys ( or the guys that have left the team (see 2013 Topps Update getting Brandon Inge as a Pirate or Brandon Bosch as aYankee, ick..)
its just as much of a gamble as a scratch off lotto ticket...

as for the flip-side, I can tell you that it is NOT a gamble...I couldn't tell you the last time I bought something non-PC that I lost money on, and I buy a TON of stuff...there is still value out there in the guy who buys bulk and breaks it down...sure I have a ton of stuff that I bought that has not provided a positive return yet, but the past 4+ years I have essentially been paid to collect, and the volume of 'stock' I have is through the roof... I would say 5 years ago I had maybe 500 autos/jerseys, now I have over 4000...

since im 'new' here, not everyone knows about my flipping adventure from several years back where I started with $300 and did a year of the end of the year I had 500+ au/jsy and had a cash profit on top of that...

took my lumps early on, but now ive got it down...the past 6 months my purchases have significantly declined, not sure if that is due to others getting into the game, or a sign of the economy doing well, but the lots I have interest in, no longer go for as cheap as I want, where I know I can make money
If you open a pack, you are gambling. Why do you think that they have to do the NPN stuff, and all the fine print about guarantees and such? Now, you may not collect for the rush of the gamble, you might be content pulling cards worth 10% of what you paid, but you are gambling. I love when I pull cards of guys I collect but I am fully aware that I am paying the price I am for the box not because that is the going rate for the cards inside, but because I am gambling that there will be a big payoff inside.

Buying singles, lots, really any kind of purchases where you know what you are getting, I do not think that is gambling. Prospecting/"investing" is a little borderline but I would put it in a similar category as buying stock. Really it probably is gambling....but it is white collar no stigma!!