Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

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How to Trade Keys
By ✪ vol
An in-depth guide on how to make profit from trading keys, and why trading keys is a far more effective strategy than the standard trade-up technique.

**NOTICE** AS OF JANUARY 2016, THIS GUIDE WILL BE TWO YEARS OLD. While I am extremely thankful for the support and the kind words it has generated, I feel it is my responsibility to disclose that there is no guarantee that this guide is still reliable or relevant, to an acceptable standard, at this point. I have been out of the CSGO scene for almost a year now, so I recommend the new trader to take this guide- regardless of its specificity- with a grain of salt.
   
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So why should I trade keys?
Trading up is the most reliable way of getting valuable items in CSGO. The main problem is that it is slow, and the payout is relatively small. In this guide, I will teach you how to trade keys, which is a much faster method, and yields payouts of 1-10 keys, whereas standard trading has a profit of 20c to $5.
Step 1: Gathering Keys
To start trading keys, you want to build up a base of around 10-100 keys. You can start lower and still be efficient, but the more you start with, the quicker you will get to that Karambit Fade.
The best ways to generate keys are:
  • Buying them with your own money
  • Selling your inventory
  • Standard trading to about 5 keys

The fastest way would be to spend some money, but that would require money...
Standard trading is incredibly slow at the lower levels, so it might even take a month to get to 5 keys.
The final and best way is to sell your inventory, and buy keys. This method may be the best, but you end up losing some money through taxes.

EDIT: I now think that you need at least 20 keys to start off with, as you want to be able to make a key's profit everytime. If you cannot do this, you will have to repeat the same trade over and over again to acheive key profit. I highly recommend starting with a larger pool of keys in order to speed the beginning stages up dramatically.

EDIT: Gathering keys is now more difficult, as it is affected by the 1 week trade ban when buying keys in-game. Right now, at 8/1/2015, the change still has not taken place for me personaly yet. If it hasn't changed for you yet, NOW is the BEST time to buy keys. This rule is also affecting step 3.

EDIT: 9/1/2015 - The 7 day trade ban is upon us. However, you can bypass it by buying keys, then changing the date of your PC to after the trade ban. IT WORKS

EDIT 15/11/2015 - This happened a long time ago, but they patched everything. Your best bet is to sell on OPskins or just wait the ban out like the rest of us.

This may seem very difficult and tedious, but it is the hardest part of this method.
So don't give up just yet.

Step 2: Finding Quicksells and Making Profit
Now that you have acquired your pool of keys, we finally get to the fun part.

First, you have to know what a quicksell is.
A quicksell is when someone is willing to sell an item for 80% the item's value for keys.
So, if we take advantage of these offers, we can easily make a 20% profit.

The first thing to do is to find a price range for what you want to buy. To calculate the max price, multiply the amount of keys you have by the price of keys, that will give you the total value of your keys. Now, divide the total value of keys by 0.8, and that will be the maximum price people will be willing to pay for your keys.

The equation should look like this:

A x P ÷ 0.8 = M

A = Amount of Keys
P = Price of Keys
M = Maximum Price of Item

For Example, I want to start with 5K, and I use CDN, so the price of a key is 2.89.

5 x 2.89 = 14.45 ÷ 0.8 = 18.06

Once you have found the maximum price of the item you will go for, go to CSGO Lounge and create a trade with your [H] as "Any Key", or 1 of each key you own.

Now, we will find 8 skins that are just under our Maximum Price of Item. To do this, go into the Steam Marketplace, and click the CSGO items tab, and order by price. You should work in a browser, so you can type the page number and not waste time flipping through pages one by one.








Once you land on an item that is equal or less than your maximum price, you want to find out how often it is sold through the graphs to avoid getting stuck and make the process faster.










You generally want your item to be sold at least 2-3 times a day.
After you have found 8 items that are eligible, go to your CSGO Lounge Trade and add all of them in the [W]

Now you make the trade description. Be sure to mention that you want quicksells, and that you want trade offers. If you want, you can mention the equation to find the quicksell price. Why? Because most of the community doesn't know how to figure it out.






























Now remember to also search for the items that you want on CSGL, and spam all the trades with your offers. This will speed up the process as not only have you allowed people to offer you, but you can offer others at the same time.

Now keep this trade up for 2-3 days, and if you don't get a reply do it again with current items. Remember that the market is always changing.
Once you get a good offer and take it, you can move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Turning Skins back into Keys
Now that you have made some profit, you need to turn your newly-acquired skin back into keys. You can do this through two methods:

  • Sell it on CSGO Lounge for Full Price in Keys
    This method seems the best, as you will not lose any profit, but it will take a long time. I would recommend keeping your trade up for 2 days and if you still don't get an offer, go to the second method.
  • Sell on Community Market
    This method is quick, but you lose 13%, making your profit smaller. The tax description says it is 15%, but after calculating it is actually just 13%.

Either way works just fine, and will still amount to you making profit.

Now buy some more keys, and rinse and repeat.

EDIT: With the new rule taking place soon where you cannot trade items that have recently been bought from the market or in-game for 1 week, this obviously affects this method.

This step is affected the most, as it severely slows down your trading. I reccomend keeping your item on csgl for FULL PRICE for a longer time, or even use the item to do REGULAR TRADING.

If you do not think anyone will buy your item for full price in keys, you can list it on the market and buy keys. However, it will be a week before you can trade again. You can use this time to secure a good trade.

At this time (8/1/2015), the change has not taken place for me personaly yet. Therefor, if it has not been applied to you yet, NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO TRADE, AND ALSO THE LAST PRODUCTIVE TIME.

EDIT: 9/1/2015 - The 7 day trade ban is upon us. However, you can bypass it by buying keys, then changing the date of your PC to after the trade ban. IT WORKS

EDIT: 15/11/2015 - Bypass no longer works. GG
Regular Trading
In this part of the guide, I will go into detail another strategy of trading, regular trading. Although inferior to key trading, regular trading still can get the job done, and can make many keys profit if you play your cards right.

In the Beginning
With regular trading, your starting point can be anywhere. You can start from a $0.14 in-game drop (FREE) or a M9 Bayonet.

There are two main types of trades you will likely offer and accept:
  • Combining Items in order to overpay for a Higher Valued Item
    This was actually my personal strategy for a long time. I learned how to bet reasonably well, and used the winnings from the bet (FREE) in combination with my main trading skin to OVERPAY for a better skin. I still made profit as the bet winnings were free.

    The problem with this strategy is that there is a big uncertainty, which is betting. Over my trading career, I have learned a lot about how to make smart bets and not to lose much. When I first started using this method, I traded to ~$20, and bet it and lost. So basically NEVER BET MORE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE and always do your research. If you would like to learn more about using math to bet, check this reddit page out: http://www.reddit.com/r/csgobetting/comments/2c5pm2/expected_value_the_rake_and_you_betting_101/


  • Slightly Lowballing to make a Small Profit
    This method is slower overall, but does not have the risk of betting involved. Basically, you find an item worth ~20c more than yours. Then you search for all trades with that item on CSGO Lounge and just spam offers. Most will be rejected, but sometimes it will work.

You can use the above methods to make some keys in order to shift into the faster key trading technique.
Betting
Betting is another way of making lots of money fast, but this method is somewhat unreliable.
Most of what I am about to say is almost directly from the Reddit betting 101 page. I linked it in the section above.
Prepare for some math.


In betting, we always want to beat the odds.
Glossary of Common Trading Terms
Now that you know how to trade effectively, you also need to know the community trading lingo in order to make trading flow more smoothly. Below are the most common terms used. NOTE: I am not including knife patterns other than Case Hardeneds as this is almost a completely different category. Go somewhere else in order to price your knife, I am nowhere near a specialist.

  • Quicksell - Someone wants to sell their item for keys at a 20% discount
  • Lowball - Someone offers an unreasonably low-valued item for a high-valued item
  • Highball - Someone expects an unreasonably high-valued item for a low-valued item in a trade
  • CSGL or CSGO Lounge - A site that is linked to steam, that allows users to post trade offers and bet on professional matches.
  • Blue - A characteristic of Case Hardened weapons (AK47, Five-seveN, Knives) where the more blue the gun has, the more value
  • Condition - The wear of your item. (FN, MW, FT, WW, BS)
  • [unassigned] - A phishing bot. If invited to be friends with it, block on sight
  • Nametags and Stickers - Many traders will say that their weapon has a nametag or sticker, and is worth more. It's not. Never account for nametags or stickers when calculating value.
  • [H] - Have, used in trade descriptions on forums and such
  • [W] - Want
  • B/O - Buy-Out - A price someone will instantly trade for
Changelog
3/1/2015 - Created Guide
5/1/2015 - Added changelog & starting key recommendation
Started section on standard trading in the early stages.
Started Glossary.
6/1/2015 - Got 1000 Individual Visitors
Reached #1 on the current most popular guides list!
8/1/2015 - Reached 5 Star Rating! Thank You!
Reached 5000 Individual Visitors!
Adjusted whole guide for 1 week ban from trading recently bought items.
Added "Betting" Section, will work on it later.
9/1/2015 - *NEW* Temp Bypass of 7 day restriction on items! I know you will all say that now Valve will patch it now, but you guys NEED TO KNOW THIS GLITCH
About Me
I am a CSGO Trader that is relatively new on the scene, but still has quite a bit of experience. I have been doing standard trading for about 4 months now, with multiple techniques, all very slow. The best item I have traded up to was a WW AWP Asiimov, which is worth around $80 CDN. As you can see, I know from experience that standard trading is very ineffective.

Currently I am trying out key trading and have so far tried a couple strategies. This strategy feels like the best strategy ever, so I want to see where it will take me. I have sold my entire inventory, and at the start of February I will start to trade up 5K to a Knife using this method.

I hope this guide gave you some insight into the variety of methods available to you to trade, and allowed you to make a couple keys profit :)

Feel Free to send me donations if I helped, but please do not offer me unreasonable trades.
https://steamcommunity.com/tradeoffer/new/?partner=111279582&token=Eio6iD4S


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262 Comments
Krystal Oct 27, 2019 @ 7:54am 
How to get free skins?
1) Go to pvpro .com(remove the space)
2) Start registration
3) In RAF code, use: KrySTaL100
4) Get 10000 coins and buy skins

Как получить бесплатные скины?
Заходим на pvpro .com(убираем пробел)
Регистрируемся
Используем Refcode: KrySTaL100
Получаем 10000 монет и покупаем скины
Msharp Jul 17, 2019 @ 3:41am 
ENG: Choose the one that's on the list and write in my profile, I will answer the same!
RUS: Выберите что то одно из этого списка и напишите в моём профиле, отвечу тем же!
GER: Such dir eine Sache aus der Liste aus und schreib es unter mein Profil und ich mache es auch bei dir!
PL: Wybierz jeden z komentarzy ponizej i zamiesc w moim profilu, odwdziecze sie tym samym !
+rep skilled boi
+rep player=insane
+rep funny guy xD
+rep add me and boost please bro :D
+rep Lol insane!
+rep nice
+rep good player
+rep carrying
+rep last round clutch.....
+rep amazing player
+rep high skill
+rep good friend :D
AlireZs Jul 17, 2019 @ 1:13am 
ty m8
RELAX Mar 9, 2018 @ 5:12pm 
ENG: Choose the one that's on the list and write in my profile, I will answer the same!
RUS: Выберите что то одно из этого списка и напишите в моём профиле, отвечу тем же!
GER: Such dir eine Sache aus der Liste aus und schreib es unter mein Profil und ich mache es auch bei dir!
PL: Wybierz jeden z komentarzy ponizej i zamiesc w moim profilu, odwdziecze sie tym samym !
+rep skilled boi
+rep player=insane
+rep funny guy xD
+rep add me and boost please bro :D
+rep Lol insane!
+rep nice
+rep good player
+rep carrying
+rep last round clutch.....
+rep amazing player
+rep high skill
+rep good friend :D
Anas "AZ" Zaouali Jan 24, 2018 @ 10:49am 
bad keys
a Jan 17, 2018 @ 11:41am 
i cant found any quicksells
kob miggle bean Sep 28, 2017 @ 7:13pm 
@Isocrates
All keys except for the CS:GO Capsule keys are viable. :)
theocracy Sep 26, 2017 @ 2:21am 
Which keys can i use? Can I use chroma 1 keys?
JRD_Noxi0us Aug 30, 2017 @ 11:28am 
I can't find any quicksells :.( any tips?
Kazetyy Aug 14, 2017 @ 11:15pm 
Nice guide but it requires ALOT of patience to find a decent deal