A new fantasy stock game is rewarding people from all walks of life with cash prizes and building their confidence for a day that they might invest in the real-life stock market—and you don’t need to be a Wall Street trader to have a shot at winning the $10,000 monthly prize. A nurse from Ohio with no stock trading experience proved that to be true last month.
Pick5 was founded this year by Gregg Harrison, who decided to blend his favorite pastimes: fantasy sports and the stock market. A former investment banker, he wanted to create a game that was fun, fair, and easy to play. It’s free to enter, and free to play, for contestants who want to sign up and start trading a fantasy stock portfolio.
Each challenge—the next one begins Tuesday, October 29—lasts roughly 30 days, and pays out $13,000 in total cash prizes, with $10K going to the best trader. Gregg, from Orange County, California, says it’s too soon to expect profits, but the game is catching on—with 4000 players last month—and he’s excited by the continual growth. He earns money from sponsors, yet the webpage is uncluttered with ads, and very clean.
Early winners have included a parking valet in Miami, Florida, a Fed Ex employee from Sacramento, California, and Autumn Farely, the nurse from Coshocton, Ohio. (See Gregg surprise her with the check in a video below)
Asked what drew her to playing the game, the amateur stock trading grandmother told GNN, “I am always willing to try new things and I love contests and challenges . It is exciting to log on each morning and see what your portfolio looks like—I love seeing it ALL turn green!”
Playing the game taught her that holding on to her rising stock was the best move. “I went with companies that I was familiar with except for the selection of the penny stock. I watched those for a few days and went with the one that seemed to be on the rise….and it was the move that put me on the leaderboard.”
Gregg’s advice to players is to watch the sponsor companies closely. Financial news from these firms appear in a little box at the bottom of the screen.
“All of our sponsors are tiny companies, which means their price can be extremely volatile. In our last contest, one of our sponsor’s stock rose a whopping 66%,” he told GNN. “All three of our winners had that stock in their portfolio.”
He also advises players to trade often: “The way we calculate performance incorporates time. That means a 10% gain in a day, is worth far more than a 12% gain over 2 weeks. The best players will actively trade their portfolio to lock in gains.”
For Gregg, there’s “no better feeling” than when he presents someone with a check for $10,000.
Pick5 Media is also building an educational component, designed to work closely with business schools and promote investing skills. “We want to empower our community with knowledge about how to research stocks before making trades. We’re going to continue building out our education platform over the coming months.”
The rules are simple. Sign up and become a Portfolio Manager. Each PM holds a 5-stock lineup on any given day. Once the market opens (in this case, on Tuesday), your lineup is set for the day and cannot be changed. You can trade any of the stocks in your lineup, and trades will be executed when the market opens on the next business day. For example, if a PM owns Pepsi and after the market opens, the PM enters a trade to sell Pepsi and buy Coke. That lineup change will occur at the start of the next trading day.
When you sign up, you are required to give your full name, which would then be verified via federal identification, such as a drivers license, should you win. The reason they have strict rules about identification is to ensure that the player is a real person with only one account at a time. They regard someone opening 2 or 3 or 10 or 20 accounts as unfair and cheating.
The company expects the number of players will rise closer to 6000 in the round starting on Oct 28. There’s a counter on every player’s page that shows how many people are playing and what your ranking is, which makes it fun to see how you’re doing in comparison to others.
The fact that it’s so simple and clearcut is kind of in keeping with the mission: to demystify investing in stocks and give people the confidence to possibly get involved some day, at whatever level they’re able to.
“When I first started the business, I honestly had no idea how profoundly this contest could impact our winners. Now all I want to do is reach more and more people with Pick5,” Gregg says. “I actually make the calls to winners on speaker phone so others in the office can listen. Their elation is contagious!”
(WATCH as Gregg surprises Autumn with a cashier’s check for $10,000)
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