Fantasy Wall Street games allow players to trade stocks and never lose their shirts
On fantasy Wall Street the trades are real but the money isnt.
If you blow your $100,000 wad, just hit restart and play again. If only the real world had such an escape hatch.
There are a number of Web sites that offer users a virtual trading experience, where they compete with other traders for cash and prizes.
A pioneer in the growing fantasy realm was Stock-Trak, which has teamed up with colleges for years to simulate the trading experience in classrooms. However, the company launched Wall Street Survivor two years ago, and it was aimed at brining fantasy stock market to the public, said CEO Rory Olson.In two years, the site has grown to more than 100,000 players who conduct trades in real time, short stocks, trade options and have a full-blown Wall Street experience.
[The site] is sophisticated and comprehensive. Its as deep as you want your experience to be, Olson said.
Fantasy trading is not just for big-shot investors. Olson said 80 percent of users at Survivor are novices who want to learn about the market. That interest is up since Wall Street went haywire last fall.
Whats happening is youve got people that are lining up to learn, he said. They dont understand, theyve seen their 401(k)s get smashed quarter over quarter.
Survivor and other sites, such as TheSpartanTrader.com, which launched in November, offer users news, information and analysis on companies to base their fantasy stock picks on. Users build a portfolio and then see how it performs. The top performers are eligible for cash and prizes.
Its a good option for novice and experienced traders to get in there and test strategies before they risk real money, said Marcus Thorne, a partner at Spartan Trader, which was started by the Wall Street firm Gryphon Holdings.
Spartan Trader is a new site and relatively small so far with about 750 users, but Thorne said there is a growing market for fantasy stock-picking just like there is for fantasy sports. Spartan charges between $19.95 and $39.95 depending on what type of game you enter daily, monthly or quarterly. Survivor is a free site.
There is zero risk playing the virtual market, but that also means little reward. At Spartan the top player in the ongoing monthly tournament is up 21.5 percent, thats a lot of real money that hasnt been made.