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MarketZAR - interesting way to learn day trading

I recently saw a new hybrid of real and simulated trading that I thought might help some people to learn how to day trade. It is a contest run on the web site - See the quote below to read more about the contest.

In brief, they charge you $50 to enter the contest and then give out $1,500 as first prize to the person who makes the most and then scale down prizes for the follow-ups.

The good thing about this is that you only risk $50 during the day but stand to win a lot more if you are a good trader or have the potential to be a good trader. People often don't take simulated trading seriously but if you've ponied up $50 to enter the contest then you are likely to take it more seriously and are more likely to learn from this than just doing simulation by itself.

On the downside, the competitions are run sporadically and so you can't participate every day if you wanted to. This, I suppose could also be looked at as a good thing because you can do sim trading for a while and then test yourself in the competition. Personally I think that they should run it each day and charge a smaller entry fee of $5 and pay-out 80% of the entry fees to the winner(s). This would make it more hands on for budding day traders to do each day and there would always be a prize (or at least the potential of a prize) to take home.

As a complete aside I think that the web site's choice of name is strange. They've tried to be cute by combining "market" and "tzar" by dropping one of the middle t's and have emphasized the words market and zar on the web site. I'm not sure if they know that ZAR is the SWIFT code for the South African currency so this could get a bit confusing for some people - it certainly had me confused when I first went to the web site. I thought that it was a South African currency trading web site. (I believe that the word "tzar" is Russian for king - jump in and correct me if I'm wrong.)

February Contest Dates and Markets
(Each Contest Limited to 250 Participants -- Register Early!):

Thursday Feb 2: March E-mini S&P 500 Futures (ESH6)
Wednesday Feb 8: March Mini Dow Futures (YMH6)
Wednesday Feb 15: March Euro Currency Futures (6EH6)
Thu Feb 23: Euro FX Spot

1st Place: $1,500
2nd Place: $500
3rd Place: $250
4th Place: $100
5th through 7th Places: $50

How it Works - Conquer the Markets!

It's simple and easy to trade on MarketZAR - where you have the potential to make major cash, but put Zero At Risk!

Each contest will last only one day but will be broken into two separate trading sessions (morning and afternoon). Each account begins each trading session with a mock $50,000. Participants must place a minimum of 5 trades in each session to qualify for the purses . Minimal mock commission charges will be assessed to trading accounts for each round turn, so trader accounts more closely reflect their real value at the end of the trading session.

For each contest, the results of the two separate trading sessions are combined, and traders with the highest account totals win cash! Competition will be hot for these spectacular cash prizes. Participation is limited for each contest, so register now to assure an account in the contest of your choosing.

MarketZAR has elected to utilize the simulated version of one of the industry's top rated trading platforms: BEST Direct. The simulated version brings all of the trading tools necessary to readily trade the market. A license fee of $49.95 will be charged for each contest account. Participants may enter a single contest more than once; different account numbers will be provided, each with a license fee of $49.95.
Looks like the "zar" in the name is meant as an acronym for "Zero At Risk."

Thanks for the info!
Thanks nas trader - I didn't know that.

I was in Vegas recently and saw the same principle being applied to Hold-Em Poker. Tournament games at The Luxor cost $35 to enter and $10 goes to The Luxor and $25 to the prize pot with a maximum of 60 entrants. 6 tables are then set up with 10 players at each table and each player is given $300 in tournament chips. As players are eliminated the tables are merged until just 6 players are left at the final table at which point the prize is given out according to the rankings (not pro rata to what you're holding). I think that first prize was around $650.

Again, the emphasis is on "limited risk" learning - a bit like trading options I suppose. If you have ever played Hold-Em Poker on-line (I know you have) then you will know that you tend to over bet and not take the game seriously if your using play money. Problem is that everyone else at the table is doing the same and taking higher risks because they don't really have anything to lose. As such it is much easier to win at the free money online tables. I know because I almost always walk away with plenty of play-cash when I play at those tables. I have never played for real money online but I am guessing that the chance of walking away with the same percentage of winnings is much lower because the people that you are playing against are taking the game far more seriously and not risking nearly as much.

So by paying up a small amount before you start off the day doing simulated trading and with the chance to walk away with a good prize if you do well is (in my opinion) an excellent way to get started. I'm surprised that this isn't more popular on the internet. A broker should have already set this up. Perhaps they have and I just don't know about it yet. Please let me know if this is the case...