It’s all in how you play the game. Those words may ring true for gamblers on the Strip, but they also applied to economic students at The Meadows School, 8601 Scholar Lane.
Students in Dr. Miguel Enriquez’s Introduction to Economics class learned about the stock market with the My Market Watch game, an online trading simulation that gives each player a set amount to invest.
At the school, playing the game came with a warning.
“If you don’t know the rules, you’ll lose every time,” Enriquez said.
Blake Wynn, 16 and a sophomore, must have listened. At the end of the semester, he ended up taking the grand prize of the final game, $300. He won by taking his original $500,000 stake and growing it by more than $300,000.
Getting to that point took learning the game.
The first few weeks of the class introduced the students to the basics and got the students used to how to trade, allowing them to make mistakes so the lessons would stick. Then, beginning about Feb. 1, the ante was upped. They were “given” money with which to trade, and the students began playing the game in earnest.
Early games saw students win modest cash incentives provided by Enriquez, and the ante kept going up: Renzo Iannuccilli won $50 in the first game; a female student who did not want to be identified won $100 in the second; and Ben Goodman won $150 in the third.
Enriquez recalled how Goodman took an unusual strategy.
“He just sat there, real quiet, so it surprised me when he came up with the winning strategy,” he said. “But he was listening all that time. He knew what everybody else was thinking.”
The students talked about their trades outside the classroom and were so enthusiastic that four students approached Enriquez and asked to participate, which he allowed them to do.
Wynn called the class fun and said Enriquez explained stock watching better than his mother, Dale Wynn, a day trader, had tried to convey to him. He said with each game, he became more stock- savvy.
“We started with $10,000 in our accounts that first month, and everybody lost the money,” he said. “But that was a learning curve, so by the second game … I really focused on certain stocks and what made them do certain things. You had certain triggers in your mind so you knew when it was a good time to buy.”
To demonstrate to the students what would happen if they simply let the money ride, Enriquez took his $500,000 and let it sit, not trading it at all. It ended up earning $245.95.
“Which is nothing. If I put it in a bank at 2 percent, I’d have $10,000 more,” Enriquez said. “But that was the point I was trying to show them, that if you don’t do anything with your money, you’re losing out, big time.”
A dozen of the students ended up making money. But even the ones who lost money, Enriquez said, learned lessons.
“This is play money. You can make all the mistakes in the world that you want,” he said. “And nobody gets hurt. … I came here thinking these were privileged kids. But what I came to discover is there’s a bunch of really smart students here who work their butts off.”
Wynn made approximately 780 trades and ended up growing his half million to $806,000, nearly half a million higher than his closest competitor. He said he did it by honing his portfolio to a handful of stocks. He set his alarm every day for 6:30 a.m. to check the market and kept an eye on things until the last bell.
The class also included making a business plan. Wynn has had his own small business since he was 12.
“Something really big in my family is to work for what you get, so I had $60 — it was tooth fairy money — and I went to an outlet in Park City, Utah, and bought two pairs of shoes, and I resold them for $100 a pair.”
He’s been traveling the country ever since to various trade shows to sell. He said he’s a top-rated seller on eBay. One of his sales was for a $5,000 pair of shoes.
Wynn said he will invest the $300 in the market “and hopefully it will grow exponentially for me, like I was able to do in this game.”
To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-387-2949.