Here’s a victorious, albeit cautionary, tale of how one tax-paying citizen played the GameStop phenomenon.

The young, 20-something recently finished four years serving with the Air Force and began his part of the revolution late last month, gleaning the necessary background information via Reddit and balancing the risks and rewards.

Much the same way a veteran hedge-fund manager would do.

Finding the situation tenable, he leaped in with both feet and put a huge slice of his very limited net worth at risk. He deftly navigated the dangers, joining the underdogs and finding an exit before the movement was muted.

It was on Jan. 25 around noon when he pulled the trigger on his plan.

Three-thousand dollars isn’t much to the average hedge-fund pro, but to the Air Force veteran now making a small salary at a mattress business, it’s a big chunk of change.

The risk? He purchased 12 shares of GameStop at $83 per share and gradually increased his position to 42 shares by the next afternoon. The kid had joined the revolution made up of people who are sick of Wall Street calling the shots, retail investors just looking for fast money and those who love revolt in any form.

Let’s back up a little. Add some context – more than “yeah, this is just like that Eddie Murphy movie ‘Trading Places’ where they corner the stock market.”

A quick explanation on how this all transpired, courtesy of a Jan. 28 post from financialhorse.com, after the hedge funds were exposed when their risky shorting of GameStop was making the social media rounds:

“GameStop is a US bricks and mortar store that sells video games. For obvious reasons, their business has been absolutely crushed, because of (1) COVID – nobody goes to stores, and (2) Digital download of games – most new games can be purchased online.

“… Late last week, a whole bunch of retail investors from the online forum Reddit WallStreetBets (r/WSB for those familiar with it) started coordinating to buy shares in GameStop. And of course with such small cap, low liquidity stock with a high short volume, once it started going up, it REALLY started going up.

“It got to the point where Melvin Capital (which had a big short position on GameStop) was down by $3 billion (out of a $12 billion portfolio). It then took a $2.75 billion loan from, among others, Citadel (the famed high frequency trader). This allowed it to maintain its short position without closing it off and locking in the loss.

“That was Monday, and of course the move only infuriated the online mob even more, leading to even more buying.”

Back to our serviceman-turned-financial wizard.

The GameStop news had reached the business reports on CNN and Fox. Late-arriving opportunists poured more money into the stock, sending it soaring.

But long before that, the kid had left the scene.

“I sold Jan. 26 after market close because I had a feeling it was going to be all over the news the following day, and the stock wouldn’t be confined to the WSB investors who were relatively organized,” he texted on Tuesday.

“I also didn’t want to underestimate the power of the big money in New York and how far they would go to suppress the price of the stock to dump positions – which you clearly saw on Thursday (Jan. 28) when multiple brokers and trading platforms kept retail investors from buying shares.”

The final tally: Following his initial investment of approximately $3,000, our Air Force veteran sold at $238 and collected $10,014.06 for a hard day’s work (actually just more than a day and a half).

The stock briefly peaked above $460, but after the controversial regulatory measures, shares have pulled way back.

GameStop shares suffered a 31 percent decline on Monday and were down another 40% to $136 in morning trading Tuesday. Shares had dropped to $108 by early afternoon.

The ride seems to be over, and one particular day-trading former serviceman found the exit on time.

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