Make me an offer for 500 poker chips

The story ...

Last summer, I won sixty cents in a free poker tournament at I planned on playing until I lost it all, but decided not to take U.S. players for real-money games when Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. I cashed out and asked my readers what I should do with my sixty-cent check. One suggested I try to trade it for something better. So here I am, trying turn my sixty-cent check into a World Series of Poker Main Event entry through a series of trades. And while my plan may seem ridiculous, it's no more ridiculous than the UIGEA.

Currently available

Limited edition Super Bowl XXXVI football signed by former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri. Trade includes certificate of authenticity, and also includes autographed picture of Patriots' safety Rodney Harrison. Want more information? Go to the trade post. Want to make an offer? Shoot me an e-mail at . Want to know how I got this far? Go to the trading history.

Lessons learned from Kyle MacDonald

I got my first trade offer less than an hour after I posted my plan to turn a sixty-cent check from into a ticket to the Main Event 2007 World Series of Poker.

Because the initial trade could set the tone for the whole project, I decided to get some advice from the man who inspired my little project: Kyle MacDonald.

I asked Kyle, who made a series of trades to turn one red paper clip into a house, how he decided which trades to take and which ones to turn down.

He surprised me when he told me he traded with people, not for things. "I didn't actually valuate the trade items," Kyle said. "It sounds cheesy to say it, but it was all about the people."

Kyle was so unconcerned with the monetary value of items that his 12th trade, an afternoon with rock legend Alice Cooper for a KISS snow globe, appeared to be a raw deal.

But it was the snow globe that led to a trade with actor and director Corbin Bernsen for a speaking part in a movie, which in turn led to a trade with the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan for the house Kyle now owns.

Bernsen had actually attempted to trade the movie role earlier, but Kyle turned him down because he didn't have anything useful to offer Bernsen in return.

But when Kyle discovered that Bernsen had a collection of over 6,000 snow globes, he knew if he got a unique snow globe in a trade he would actually have something that would be beneficial to Bernsen.

"I didn't realize the value in these things until I actually found the people who placed the value in them," Kyle said.

"I had to trade for something he could use. It seems stupid, but for Corbin, he really likes snow globes."

I plan on following Kyle's model. The first piece of criteria for a trade is going to be whether the person making the offer is doing so in the spirit of the project. Hopefully each trade I make will provide both parties with increased value.

If you find value in my sixty-cent check from PKR and agree with the spirit of this project, . I look forward to making a deal.

Kyle on copycats (like me)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I'm certainly not the first to copy Kyle MacDonald's idea. So I was happy to learn that he welcomes copycat projects, as long as they capture the spirit of Kyle's original project. Thankfully, I believe that my sixty cent project does just that.

"Most copycats don't get it," Kyle said. "They just sort of think 'I'm going to put this up on a Web site, a blue paper clip or a green one, and I'm just going to wait and all my dreams will come true.' That's sort of like going to a seminar on get rich quick schemes.

"For me, it was always the story. I wanted to meet people and tell a story about how working together in a series of transactions, everyone gained from the situation. I guess if you want to get real deep, that's a metaphor for trade and exchange of ideas.

"It's not like (musicians) invent new chords in songs all the time. But they strike a chord with someone, with a group. I think you need to find people that are interested in following that."

If my inability to use sixty cents in an Internet poker account due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act strikes a chord with you, make me an offer for the 60-cent check at .

One sixty-cent check: Reader suggestions

Sixty Cent Check Close-UpLast month, I asked my readers to suggest what I should do with my sixty-cent check from I was hoping for both entertaining suggestions and interesting ideas on how I could use it to protest the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

Thanks to a series of thoughtful responses, I haven't been disappointed. Some of my favorites:

"I suggest you invest $0.50 in lottery tickets, I suggest the 3-7-2 box in the pick 3 game and use the remaining $0.10 on two pieces of Bazooka Joe." Liam M., Somerville, Mass.

"I would put half in low-risk mutual funds and give the other half to my friend who works in securities." Brendan H., Charlottesville, Va.

"Sign over the check to Bill Frist, mail it to him (Office of Senator Bill Frist, 509 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510), and explain that the money is from your never-activated online poker account, and request that because you can't play online poker, would he mind buying you a ticket for your favorite lottery game, Tennessee's 'Cash 3?'" Jay B., Brunswick, Maine

"The glass half full in me says get four buddies to each contribute a dime and buy a dollar scratch ticket and try your luck. The glass half empty in me says throw your sixty cents into Coinstar for grocery money because if you're worried about what to do with sixty cents, then groceries are probably not being purchased with ease in your world." Kristen C., Baltimore, Md.

"Assuming you don't desperately need the sixty cents, frame it, take a picture of it, and circulate the picture in an e-mail. In that e-mail, explain how the feds don't think that Americans should be free to gamble online." A.K., Suffern, N.Y.

Jay from Maine really seemed to capture the concept I was looking for, and I also liked A.K.'s idea to use the check as a rallying cry to protest this ridiculous law. I was just about to start writing the follow-up column, combining Jay and Adam's advice, when I got one final suggestion.

"I don't know if you got any ideas for your sixty cent windfall, but my wife Kimberly came up with a good one: buy a red paperclip and try and trade it for a house. Sure, it's been done, but perhaps there is a poker version that you can do?" Josh H., Littleton, Mass.

Josh is referring to Kyle MacDonald's "one red paperclip" project. The young Canadian writer made a series of trades, starting with one red paperclip and ending with a house. He made 14 trades in exactly one year to complete the mission, landing a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan a little over four months ago.

So here's my plan: While Kimberly suggested I buy a red paperclip with the money, I think a sixty cent check from my dormant Internet poker account has more value than a red paper clip. So instead, I'll start this bartering business with the physical sixty-cent PKR check. And since my wife and I just bought a house over the summer, we don't really need another one. Hence, I'm taking Josh's advice and coming up with a poker equivalent: The entry fee and travel costs for the Main Event of the 2007 World Series of Poker.

Not to knock MacDonald, who I am blatantly copying, but his pursuit was selfish; he really wanted a house, and more than anything, wanted to be able to write a book about his trading experience.

I, on the other hand, would like to raise the awareness of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, because I believe that the majority of Americans do not believe that online gambling is evil or that U.S. financial institutions should be required by the government to block transactions to Internet gambling sites.

I'm hopeful that this project will help spread that message across America. Eventually, Congress will have to listen, and the U.S. will reverse course and regulate Internet poker.

And yes, the selfish side of me wants to play in the WSOP at a cost of sixty cents.

Ideally, I'm looking for these trades to be related to poker or gambling, but I'm willing to entertain any offer. So let the bartering begin. Send your offers to , and I'll keep you posted on the results.


U.S Players Search Online Gaming News Online Casino City


add to My MSN My MSN blog RSS feed blog RSS feed