07/01/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How Opening Magic Booster Boxes Turned Me Off From Vegas

I'm going to share something with you that I probably ... Actually? Who cares. I don't plan on running for office. I did at one point, but now I'll just be happy writing Wonder Woman comics.

Hey, don't judge. With Facebook acting the way it is, we're not far from knowing everything about everyone. When that happens, we'll judge people based on how much weirder they are than you. "Really? You like clown porn? And I thought I had problems with the whole superheroine-in-peril thing."

Wait. I had that conversation with someone. He had a terabyte of clown porn back when having a terabyte of anything was difficult. Anyway, here's my confession: I love opening boxes of Magic: The Gathering. I was going to tell you I love Vegas, but that's no longer true.

Here's why:

Going to Vegas is like going to a college that forgot about the terrible bullshit students are brainwashed with today. There's this limitless, "anything is possible" energy, that doesn't exist anywhere else in America.

As you might have guessed, I also liked gambling. Not hardcore, "Put $250,000 on Secretariat, Louie" gambling, but little things like slots. I blame my Grandparents, they were Atlantic City slot jockeys.

I liked slots because I'm unusually lucky. As it turns out, I have the same luck with Magic: The Gathering booster boxes. Opening them, for me, is like gambling. You put down $100 bucks on a box, and there's a chance you can make your money back.

Will you? What rares will you pull? Those questions make opening a box addictive. And I'll tell you, with the Rise Of The Eldrazi box I bought from, I made way more than what I spent.

The down side to opening a box, besides the financial investment, is if you're OCD about organizing the cards. It becomes a total time suck. First, I split the cards up by rarity, then colors, and then casting cost. If I have more than four of each card, except the Rares, I file them in a large box I have in the basement. It's right next to what appears to be a fresh pair of mouse droppings.

A $100 investment (or $400 a year if you buy one box for each set that comes out) is less expensive than going to Vegas from the East Coast. And to be honest, since I started buying boxes, I've lost all interest in going.

I rather gamble with the box. I do it once a month, sometimes less, and it's fun. And, you don't get the, "What a loser" feeling you do if you suck out on a machine. Not to mention, with my heart condition, it's hard to be in a Vegas casino and not have the condition flare up with all the cigarette smoke. Now the only threat to my heart's safety is if I overreact to opening two packs with Lightmine Field as the rare.

Plus, booster boxes are guaranteed to pay out in some way. You'll expand your trade offerings for sure, and maybe come up with deck ideas based on your new cards.

But, a word of caution is needed: Some sets are not worth buying boxes of. I just happened to start playing again in the middle of some great sets being released. I'm still scarred for life from Homelands and look carefully at what cards are in the set before I decide to buy.

Opening a box doesn't bring the cool desert air or the dudes handing out porn flyers you find in Vegas, but buying boxes is better. Besides, I can use the money I save from going to Vegas on putting a pitch together for Wonder Woman to send to DC Comics.

(FTC Disclosure: I get store credit when I link to

Subscribe to the Entertainment email.
Home to your favorite fan theories and the best movie recs.