Monday, April 09, 2012

Stock trading: The legal version of online gambling

I finally blew the virtual dust off my TDAmeritrade account a few months ago.

Years ago, in the fat single days when I made a decent living at The Tuscaloosa News and a sweet supplemental income playing poker several hours a night most nights, I plunked $6,000 in an Ameritrade account. Being the wise trader, I bought up stocks like Blockbuster, Sirius and Southwest.

More than 50 percent in losses later I kinda put the stock trading to the side.

Since I play almost no poker these days, and with the economy on an upswing, it seemed like a good time to get back into stock trading. Part of my long-term plan to take advantage of the second poker boom is to invest in companies likely to benefit.

I already owned Shuffle Master, having bought it nearly a decade ago for $34 and change. At one point, the stock dropped under $3, but has since climbed to around $18. I actually sold what I had about a month ago for just under $15 to invest in Zynga and liquidate some of my account for home improvements.

I did well with Zynga, buying it for $9 and selling it for $15. I sold my shares to invest in Apple, planning to reinvest in Zynga if it dropped below $12. The plan has worked out great, as I've made nearly $300 in profit from three shares of Apple (bought at $530, about to sell at around $630) and Zynga is down to $11.50 this morning. Hopefully, I can make a few hundred bucks on Zynga in the next few months.

If this stuff is legal why can't poker be? I'm merely "running hot" at the moment in my amateur stock trading career, which shows a net loss over time.

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