Official Rules & Scoring

Below you will find the official rules and scoring for all contests on the website and mobile applications.

Swing Trader Gameplay - standard hours

Applicable to all stock contests found in the lobby.

A user participates by:

A user can elect to buy however many shares or dollar amount they choose of any of their selected stocks provided they stay within their $10,000 total fake money budget. They may also elect to keep part of their budget as actual cash and not purchase stocks. Upon making their selections, the user submits their picks and officially joins the contest. At the conclusion of each contest market day or multi-day time period, the user(s) with the highest money in their portfolio are the winner(s).

Fluctuating Stock / Crypto Costs

When the contest begins, pricing for all stocks are equalized across all users. This process typically unfolds during the first 15 minutes of a contest locking and going live. This results in all users having "purchase prices" at the exact same value when the contest begins. Should the value of the stocks go up (resulting in a total higher than the $10,000 budget) between the time they were initially picked and the start / lock time of the contest, the system will automatically adjust the user's shares equally, based on the percentage of the cost of each stock versus the total budget so the deduction is as evenly balanced as possible. If the value of the stocks go down, the difference just becomes part of your liquid (cash) total.

Swing Trader Gamplay - extended hours

MarketDraft offers contests labeled “Extended Hours” for those looking to build lineups during normal trading hours and before extended hours begin. Essentially, picks can be done before 4:00PM ET for this time format and the results are based on the stocks perform during the extended hours trading period. Results finalize based on the opening values of each stock.

Cryptocurrency Gameplay

Cryptocurrency gameplay mirrors "standard" gameplay for stocks, only for cryptocurrencies. These contests run on a 24/7 schedule instead of the standard open and closing market times. Each has a specified start date/time and end date/time.

Any data referencing the "prior close" or "prior open" is linked to just the prior day or the beginning of the day, such as 11:59PM close and 12:00AM open since cryptocurrencies do not truly have an open and closing time. Any reference to opening or closing values for cryptocurrencies are simply a reflection of this.

Editing / Changing Picks

For our standard gameplay, users can change out their picks at any time prior to 9:00AM ET (roughly 30 minutes before the market opens) each day. There is no limit to the amount of research or pick changes a user can do. For extended hours gameplay, users can change out their picks any time prior to 4:00PM ET (rough 30 minutes before the market closes) each day.

Once the contest locks, edits are no longer able to be made.

Viewing Other User’s Picks

All picks are 100% private prior to a contest locking. Contestants cannot see each other’s picks. When the contest locks, all the picks become viewable.

Contest Durations

Contests on MarketDraft are currently set for (1 day) or a (specified time across multiple days) where winner(s) are always declared based on the performance of the actual stock market that day or day(s).


In the event of more than one user having the exact same ending dollar amount, the users will be tied. Ties result in the splitting of prizes. For example:

TOP 3 WIN /// RANK 1 = $100 | RANK 2 = $50 | Rank 3 = $25

Rank User Total $ Prize
1st Place User 1 $13,856.00 $75 (tied)
2nd Place User 2 $13,856.00 $75 (tied)
3rd Place User 3 $12,995.87 $25
4th Place User 4 $12,994.22  
5th Place User 5 $10,884.18  
6th Place User 6 $10,774.18  
7th Place User 7 $10,220.10  
8th Place User 8 $10,010.00  
9th Place User 9 $9,989.00  
10th Place User 10 $7,997.56  

In this scenario, 1st and 2nd place tied so 1st and 2nd place prizes are tallied ($100 + $50 = $150 total) divided by the number of ties (2) = $75 per user. Had there been no ties, 1st would have earned $100, 2nd would have gotten $50, and so on.

Pre-Established Prize Structure(s)

MarketDraft administrators publish contests with numerous buy-in and payout structures. The contests in the lobby each specify what the buy-in cost is and what the payout structure is. The specific breakdown of the payout can be accessed by clicking on the prize column's data. The most common payout structures are as follows:

  • WTA = Winner Take All (minus sim fee)
  • Top 3 = Top 3 Evenly Split the Prize (minus sim fee)
  • 50|50 = Top Half of users win 2x their Entry (minus sim fee)
  • Custom = Custom prizes set by the admin per rank
  • ALT = Alternative prize that is not cash, custom set per rank by the admin
Official Stock Market Data

All contest results are 100% based on the closing market data as provided by our data feed companies, POLYGON, COIN API, and ALPHA VANTAGE. MarketDraft does not have the ability to manipulate stock or crypto prices. Closing prices for most stocks are available by 4:30PM ET (shortly after the market closes). 

S&P500+ Stocks found on MarketDraft

MarketDraft is capable of making any stock available that is traded on the NYSE, NASDAQ, or DOW. We maintain a list of the S&P 500 and also add select stocks based on popular demand. You may notice a variety of our public contests have stocks that are not available in our private or simulation tools.

Multi-Entry Contests

MarketDraft lets you join a single contest with multiple entries. Look for the blue [M] icon associated with a contest to determine if you can enter more than once.

Guaranteed/Sponsored Contests

MarketDraft has contests that automatically expire and refund your entry fee if they do not fill, and also has contests that are marked as guaranteed or sponsored. Look for the green [G] icon associated with a contest to determine if it is guaranteed or sponsored, meaning it will run with no minimum required contestants and guaranteed prizes. Sponsored contests are those labeled with our partner's branding in the contest title or with the advertisements that supplement the contest itself.

Refunds and Contest Withdrawals

You are able to remove yourself from any contest by visiting the “Upcoming Contests” screen. Your buy-in will be refunded automatically. Upon a contest filling (or locking once full), you are no longer eligible to remove yourself and ineligible for a refund.

Live Data for Extended Hours Contests

The live data for Extended hours contests stops usually around 12AM (midnight) Eastern time.  When that happens, you will not see any movementt on scoring. However, once the market opens up the next day, scores will update again before finalizing the contest.

marketdraft private contest

Market Simulations

MarketDraft offers "stock market simulations" that are entirely separate from our public lobby contests. These contests are set up for people looking to run simulations for 1 full day or longer, without any day-trading or repurchasing. A user can create a private market simulation by:

  • Accessing the lobby
  • Hitting the [create market simulation] button
  • Choosing the settings for their simulation (period / budget / start and end dates / stocks included)
  • Paying the simulation fee
  • Allocating their fake money budget towards their selected stocks
  • Optionally creating additional entries (up to 10 entries total)

The market simulation is specifically set up for a "set it and forget it" type of situation. There is no selling of stocks and buying additional stocks or shares of any kind after you've submitted an entry. The simulator is not designed to be a day-trading platform. The intention is to allow someone to create a short-term portfolio as if they were a swing-trader or holding for whatever duration they desire.

If a user opts to create multiple entries, they are essentially competing with themselves. The user will be able to see each of their entries, each of which may have its own respective stocks and shares. When establishing a:

  • Minimum of (1) and maximum of (30) stocks per entry
  • Maximum of $999,999,999 fake budget
  • Maximum duration of (90) days for simulation

marketdraft simulator

Private Contests

MarketDraft allows users to create and participate in private contests. These contests follow the exact rules and settings as noted above under "standard" and "extended hours" gameplay. There is no difference. These contests are simply restricted to users who have the ID # and the Password to join the contest.

A user can create a private contest by:

  • Accessing the lobby
  • Hitting the [create private contest] button
  • Choosing the settngs for their contest (name / size / buy-in / start and end dates / stocks included / prize structure)
  • Proceeding with inviting users via email or by manual link, ID, password sharing
  • Paying the associated simulation fee to submit their entry

The contest will then be configured and will operate as per the settings. Any private contest made will appear in the My Contests > My Private Contests area where they can see their created or joined contests prior to their start. A user cannot select the actual stocks nor purchase shares for the stocks until the prior day's open or closing value is understood (depending if a standard hours or extended hours contest) because the stock price data is not yet known. Upon the values being set, picking can transpire.

These private contests have:

  • Maximum of (30) days

There are no other restrictions associated with these private contests.

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