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60 cent main event: Lessons learned from Kyle MacDonald

29 November 2006

By Aaron Todd

I got my first trade offer less than an hour after I posted my plan to turn a 60-cent check from PKR.com 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 on copycats (like me)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I'm certainly not the first to copy Kyle'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 60-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 60 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 aarontodd@casinocity.com.

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 60-cent check from PKR and agree with the spirit of this project, send me an offer. I look forward to making a deal.

60 cent main event: Lessons learned from Kyle MacDonald is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd has covered the gambling industry since 2006. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and (his personal favorite) Badeuci.

Since graduating from St. Lawrence University, Aaron has worked as a journalist covering the gambling industry and as a communications specialist in college athletic departments.

A native of a small town in New York just south of Ottawa, Aaron lives in Needham, Mass., with his wife and three children. Write to Aaron at aarontodd@casinocity.com, and follow him on Twitter @CasinoCity_AT.