CS2 Trade Up Contract And Investing Guide

What would be my first blog post about if not about trade ups. Forgive me I will write something about pro settings too in the future :). A few weeks ago I found my old post files for my csprofit website which I ran like 2 years ago. Since then I put hundreds of hours into this website because CS, skins, esports, and the community have been my passions since I was playing CS 1.3 in LAN cafes like 20 years ago. 

I restored and updated that guide here but I used old images and info from the original post too. I know many gamers would like to put Steam money on trade ups or stickers and make more rather than gamble everything on cases. But maybe they don’t know where to start.

In this guide, I will try to explain how to make trade up contracts. I’m going to tell you how I went from 40 euros to a few thousand with trade ups and investing.

When I started with trade ups, I was a lot of times upset because for example I got minimal wear condition and I was expecting that the outcome would be factory new. 

Maybe you are asking what the skin condition is. Let’s start.

Condition And Float Value

Every gun in CS2 has some exterior float value and based on that value skin has a given condition. You can check the float value in your inventory -> right-clicking on the weapon -> inspecting -> info

You can see there:

  • Finish style
  • Finish Catalog
  • Pattern Template
  • Wear Rating

The wear rating is the float value of the skin. Based on this value of 0,14183… the gun in the picture has minimal wear condition. The float ranges for each exterior condition are as follows:

Now I’m going to write more about float value because everything in a trade up contract depends on it. 

Let’s say you want to make a trade up contract from a Danger Zone Collection and you want to get a covert skin AK-47 Asiimov. Usually, skins have floats from 0 to 1 where an average float below 0.07 will result in a factory new skin. 

But not all skins have floats 0-1. AK-47 Asiimov has a minimum float value of 0.05 and a maximum float value of 0.7. There are more skins with different float values like this, for example AK-47 Fire Serpent has a range from 0.06-0.76.

You don’t need to know average calculations because the trade up contract calculators will show you a possible outcome. If you want to know the min and max float range of the specific skin you can check http://csgo.exchange/collection/.

Over the years I’ve been familiar with the float ranges of the different collections, and it is easier for me to combine them and make the trade ups between them. I will show you some examples but first, let’s talk about what the trade up contract is and how to do it.

What Is A Trade Up Contract?

The trade up contract is a little bit like gambling but if you know the values and possible outcomes you can calculate if it is profitable for you or not. Maybe you have seen some YouTubers who are making trade up videos. Do you know Sparkles?

I saw some of his videos doing trade ups and it was a pain. For example, I saw a video where he was expecting factory new skin as an outcome but he got minimal wear and not the cheap one. But he is a rich guy and he doesn’t care if he gets minimal wear or factory new skin. He is getting money from YouTube and not from the profitable trade ups. I started with 40 euros in my Steam wallet and have made a few thousand so far so I had to make the right decisions and make the only profitable trade ups at the start.

To make a trade up contract go to CS2 inventory -> Trade Up

You need 10 guns of the same quality to trade up one gun of the higher quality. You already know skins are divided by exterior condition but they are divided by quality grade too. 

Quality grade is a rarity of the skin you can get from cases or containers. The highest skin you can get from the trade up contract is covert skin.

Quality grades:

  • Consumer Grade
  • Industrial Grade
  • Mil-Spec Grade
  • Restricted
  • Classified
  • Covert

So for example, if you want to make one restricted skin with a trade up contract, you have to use 10 mil-spec grade skins.

From cases, you can get a normal version of the weapon skins and a stattrack version. Stattrack is more expensive because the ST weapon is counting how many kills you’ve got with it. Keep in mind that you can’t combine them in the trade up contract. You can pick 10x normal or 10x stattrack weapons. 

I would like to recommend the website csgostash.com where you can check all the collections with steam market prices. It is a very helpful website.

Now you know how to make a trade up contract but another question is how to find skins with a good float?

Float Checkers

To see floats or patterns, you have to install extensions. I’m using CSGOFloat Market Checker and Steam Inventory Helper

There was some proof that Steam Inventory Helper had some bad things in the code and devs shared some of your activity to third parties. You can google it. But I’ve been using it for years without problem so install it at your own risk. I always turn it on only when I need it.

After you activate extensions, you will see float values on the Steam market. You can even sort skins from the lowest to the highest float value per page with CSGOFloat Market Checker.

Without extension, you will have to click “inspect in the game” and check float values in the game. Extensions will save you a lot of time. 

So now you can see the lowest floats and you can buy skins for your trade ups. But to do trade up right you have to calculate the contract properly. It will prevent you from ending up like this:

Failed Trade Up

Close to factory new, very close but it is not factory new it is minimal wear. If I put values into the calculator I could do it right and end up with factory new skin. But I was lazy and I said to myself it should be enough for FN… In the next part, I will show you how to use calculators.

CS2 Calculators

For calculations, I have been using https://csgo.exchange/contract/tradeup for years. You can still use it, but I would recommend a better and faster calculator https://csgofloat.com/trade-up

Firstly, you have to add 10 skins and after that, it will show you all potential outcomes with cost and percentage chance for each outcome.

Here is an example where you can see five outcomes. Four of them are minimal wear and one is factory new. I put in field-tested skins and minimal wear skins and potentially I could get one factory new. The next thing you can do is to sell outcomes, or you can use them for other higher trade ups like this:

This is just an example, it is showing negative EV but you can get skins from buy orders for a lower price. You can get skins from trading bots too or from buff163 but you will overpay for float there. There are a lot of possibilities in the market because skin prices are changing.

I wrote before that there are similar float ranges between collections. Here is an example if you combine Prisma collection and Revolver collection:

One outcome has a good float, so I would use it for another trade up when I get 10 of them like this:

Hope you got the idea. A long time ago I was using the site “Tradeuphero” and found some inspiration there for my trade ups. It is named https://app.tradeuphero.com/ now. This site can help you to understand how it works and even find some profitable trade ups.

My Profitable Trade Ups Explained

On the Tradeuphero website I found a profitable trade up from the Nuke 2018 collection. Here is exactly what I did. 

I set up a buy order for minimal wear condition of industrial skins and sniped the lowest factory new. Minimal wear skins float range is 0.07-0.15 but factory new is from 0.00-0.07. To understand this if you use 0.05 FN float you will need let’s say 4x FN weapons but if you use 0.005 float you will need only 2-3 FN weapons for the same outcome.

At that time it was easier to snipe low floats because there were not as many bots as there are today. I always do it like this. Set buy orders for MW and snipe FN

Usually, I sold AWP Acheron FN, and based on price and float I sold others too or I used them in higher trade ups. When I made like 400 euro I moved to a higher grade.

I picked a Prisma collection. Why? Because of the price and beautiful look of a restricted AWP Atheris. You can make hundreds of them and you will always sell all of them.

I set up buy orders for mid-specs MW and sniped FN. I am still doing this trade up. I still have my buy order active for a lower price and from time to time I get it filled.

I sell AWP and use low float Moonrise for the next trade ups for example like this:

Then I used low float skins for covert skins like this:

It is good to pick the similar collections like example above. You can see Printstream and Emperor have the same range of wear condition. These two collections are perfect to mix together in the trade up. Next example is showing the wrong collections:

You should not mix these two collections becasue it is useless to make 0.1065 MW Assimov while Printstream has perfect 0.696. With the different cheaper trade ups you are able to make perfect 0.149 on the AK-47. This is an example which I was spamming during operation to get Emerald Glock. At that time it was even profitable:

Similar floats, right?

How To Profit On The Steam Market?

Buy orders. With buy orders, you can get many low float skins or skins with rare stickers for market price or lower. The biggest advantage of the buy orders is when market prices are rising your orders are active at the same price. 

People often make mistakes in price when selling skins so sometimes they fill your order which is not the highest. Sometimes, when some currencies are losing value, sellers think they are selling for the highest price but end up selling to your orders because of the conversion rate.

Here is one rare example where conversion rate hit sellers hard. I had buy orders at 2.55 for MW and after the conversion of currency, bots sold to me at 1.00. It was 4 euro profit per gun.

Some of my buy orders are still active for years from the time even before the steam market was open to Chinese people. You can lose orders only when your wallet balance is 0 and the seller tries to fill your order.

When this happens to some bots there will appear gaps between buy orders where you can add yours. I use an extension to check these gaps called “Better buy orders” and if these orders are sometimes filled you can quickly sell skins for profit. You can see on the left picture I got P90 Off World for 0.12 and selling them for 0.22. After VAT I got 0.20. That is because my buy orders are filled at half price.

I was getting these 0.05s from time to time while the price was around 0.20-0.25. I sell them instantly or use them in trade ups. One time I got Propaganda filled for 2.88 while somebody tried to sell it for 28… I made these MAC-10 orders during the last operation.

You can make buy orders worth 10x of your wallet balance. But let’s say you have 1000 euro and you make buy orders for 10k and then you spend a lot of your balance. In this case sometimes somehow some of the orders can be canceled for no reason if you don’t have 1k in the wallet. I do not know how exactly this works but after I spend balance part of my active orders randomly disappear, not all of them.

How To Find A Seller’s Steam Profile

Right now I don’t see avatars on the Steam market anymore and I wrote this a while ago so I’ll leave it here. Maybe they will add avatars back to sellers in the future. 

Here I would like to share how you can find a seller’s profile. For example, if you see some skin on the market with nice stickers and you would like to discuss a deal with the seller or you are interested just to see why the seller is selling 100 same skins on the market and you would like to check his inventory to find out what he is doing.

This is why I was searching for some profiles. I knew they were doing trade ups because they were selling a lot of the same skins with bad floats. So I was like hey they have to buy with a buy order and make trade ups with good float skins and sell the rest. I wanted to know what kind of trade ups they were doing. Here is an example of how to do it.

For example, I want to find a profile of this seller:

1.    Copy the float value of the skin

2.    Go to the site https://csgofloat.com/db

3.    Find the item name and past float value to Min Float and Max Float but change the last numbers min – lower and max – higher

And here is the profile

Have to point out that it is not always working because Floatdb is checking the market at some intervals so the item has to be listed on the market for some time to show you the desired profile.

Maybe you are asking why this was important to me. I will show you some valuable profile examples where I figured out how people gained profit, what kind of trade ups they were doing, and what their investments looked like. Based on my knowledge from checking their profiles I found new ways to make profitable trade up contracts.

I still have bookmarked like 15 inventories and checked what they were doing. For example, this guy made like 10k just with trade ups then he started to invest in high-tier stickers.

You can see 50k trades but only 3k market transactions. He made a profit just with trade bots. He wasn’t using the steam market.

Another example is a guy who was flipping low float skins between Buff163 and CSmoney bot. Buff163 is the biggest CS2 Chinese market and CSmoney is a trading bot.

He was buying low float skins for half-price on buff163 with valuable stickers and selling them to the trading bot. Trade bot overpays low floats or skins with applied rare stickers. Then he took some nice faded skin and sold it for profit on buff163. His inventory was worth 15k.

Normally everybody who gains profit from CS2 is not going to share their secrets. This is how I found some of their secrets.

There are some YouTubers like Heyzeus who were making videos about profitable trade ups and investments. Then I realized he had another 6 hidden accounts and you could see only the main account. So I believe he was just manipulating the market at that time and when he said “Buy this, it is a good investment” he was actually selling his stacked overpriced skins. But with a lot of money, I would do the same, manipulate prices.

I learned something and I started to make trade ups just on CSmoney. They had a feature called something like “live mode” where you could see real-time new skins added to the trading bot. I was battling with snipe bots there for months and made profitable trade ups while ZipeL and all other big traders only complained about how bad prices CSmoney had for withdrawal. I did not complain at all.

My Last Trade Up Before I Started To Invest

I had around 2.5k $ in skins and at that time you could sell for example Welcome to the Jungle FN to trade bot for 4k $ while the real price on Buff was 2.3k $.

They always did that with new skins from new cases or new operations. They were buying FN Coverts for almost doubled price early after the case release. 

That’s why I always made trade ups after a new case was released. I took 1x Classified Field-Tested from the new cases and 9x Classified Factory New from other collections. You can check on my youtube channel for some 5% hits I made.

In 2021 after Stockholm Major I knew these stickers were special so I made a 2.5k gamble trade up for an operation skin. Outcomes were between 1.5 – and 5.5k for Prince. I hit FN Welcome to the Jungle which I sold to the trade bot for 4k.

The bot was flooded with Stockholm holo stickers so even though they were overpriced on the bot I took like 8k Stockholm Holo stickers from there. Since then I have been just reinvesting into capsules and stickers. I rarely make trade ups these days. Lucky decision.

What should I invest in?

OK, where to start? This question was driving me crazy. People were just asking without any googling, searching, or thinking. I read it so many times on reddit’s csgomarketforum in the last few years that I decided to write a blog about it (2 years ago/dead blog/no viewers). 

I’ve been watching the CS and Steam market for many years and when I realized there is an opportunity to profit on this game market I started to learn about it a lot. I started with trade ups. 

I remember when there was hype because Tyloo didn’t make it to Major Boston 2018 because of a visa issue and everybody was like Tyloo Holo stickers are next Kato 2014, Tyloo to the moon… unfortunately included me. I bought like 100 paper stickers for almost 700 euros.

So I learned something there too. Then I sold it for around 3 euro each… Since then I only made trade ups and I bought some souvenirs too (not worth it) and tried to only buy low and sell high :). Have to say the steam market has changed a lot in the last few years.

Whales Made It To The Market

A few years ago everything went up in price. Millions of cases were sold for 0.03 euro and lower.

Glove Case Price Graph

Somebody smart with tons of money came to market and guess who they were, our Chinese friends I believe. I remember there was one guy in the top 100 inventories with an inventory worth 50k filled with Dignitas Holo Cologne 2014 stickers, one of my favorite stickers. The sticker went from 30 euros to almost 300.

Team Dignitas (Holo) | Cologne 2014 Price Graph

Now look at the graphs on the market and think about it. Look at pumps and dumps. Imagine that millions of cases can be still somewhere in the storage boxes.

Would you invest in the glove cases for example when you know that millions were sold for 0.03e and lower?

I made double on Horizon Cases at that time but I bought them for 0.04 cents and I can say it is not worth the wait time. I made 5x money just with trade ups in 6 months. I could make the same amount if I bought skins from the operation. As you can see here:

The last operations came with changes. We got new skins, we got a new format. People could spend coins on the collection they like the most. Still, everything went up 5-6x in price so skins from operations are a good investment. Invest in low-grade items as they are used as trade up food.

However, there is of course possibility of making a profit on cases. Whenever a new case is released usually one of the older cases is discontinued or confirmed rare. New cases were released in the past usually around 4 month time span. During 4 months investors were buying cases that they thought could be the next discontinued or rare case. These cases are no longer actively dropping and that means there will be less and less of them on the market and the price will go up. You can check for active drops and all discontinued cases on https://www.reddit.com/r/csgomarketforum/wiki/faq/#wiki_cases

I do not care about cases because bots are making prices of the cases and nobody knows how many % of all of them they own. How many they bought at 0.03 years ago? It is the same with Bitcoin. If somebody owned 70% of all Bitcoins I would not touch it.

Summer And Winter Sales

It is happening all the time. People buy games at discounts during sales. Many gamers sell skins to get money for games in a short time and they crash prices. During sales, it is a great time to set up some buy orders. It is possible to make 15-25 % during sales. The same goes with hype for new major stickers. Usually, people sell older stickers, and capsules to get money for the new ones. You can get the best prices before and during Majors for the older collections.

Major Stickers And Capsules

This was the first time I invested in capsules. I bought 5800 RMR Legends. I knew there were a lot of investors but a lot of them bought capsules even before the sale because nobody knew if there would be a sale or not. 

Another thing that forced me to buy was that there were gold team stickers for the first time. There were four types instead of two, so people had to gamble more to get one gold sticker. 

You had to open 165 capsules to get one gold. I know it is not as crazy as autograph stickers where the odds are a lot worse but still capsules could be gone in 2 years. The next thing, as I wrote already, there were manipulators with a lot of money and they could make the price, pump price, dump price.

Another factor was COVID and restrictions. We couldn’t be sure there would be a Major in Stockholm. The Dota2 tournament was canceled. 

Later I realized how badly overbought the RMRs were and luckily I sold everything during the Cologne tournament at 0.37 before capsules dropped to 0.15 in the summer.

Why was I always thinking Major stickers are the hottest investment?

G2 Esports (Holo) | Atlanta 2017 Price Graph

Imagine you buy 1000 stickers for 1000 euros and then sell them 4 years later at 100 euros per sticker.

Lastly, I don’t recommend buying souvenir containers as an investment because there are always better opportunities.

CS2 Major Stickers

In a few days, we will get the first CS2 major sticker capsules. Nobody knows what it means for investors and the market. Paris capsules were overbought in my opinion and it will take more time to profit from Paris stickers and capsules.


RMR capsules were overbought too, a lot, and the next Stockholm Major 2021 people were skeptical and refused to buy the best looking stickers since Kato 2014-2015. When the market is overbought and capsules are selling under the store price a lot of people rather keep it for a longer time than sell for a loss. This happened before Stockholm Major. A lot of people went all in on RMRs and then they skipped Stockholm Major.

Will investors overbuy the first CS2 Major? Who knows.

Useful Websites

Here you can find some helpful websites and tools that I’m using:

  • https://csgostash.com/ – All items with steam prices
  • https://www.counter-strike.net/news – News and updates about CS2
  • https://www.hltv.org/ – Latest news about CS2 players, upcoming tournaments and matches
  • https://csgofloat.com/trade-up – The best trade up contract calculator
  • https://csgo.exchange/contract/tradeup – Trade up contract calculator I used for years
  • https://csgo.steamanalyst.com/ – I used to check here how many units were sold on the market
  • https://cantry.dev/ – Here you can check rare stickers supply
  • https://www.csgostickersearch.com/ – If you want to find skin with specific stickers on the market
  • https://tradeit.gg/ – Trading bot, you can support me using this website through my link and get a $5.00 first trade bonus
  • https://swap.gg/ – I use this trade bot mostly to get cases, you can use my link too
  • https://cs.money – Trading bot, new layout
  • https://old.cs.money/ – An older version that I used for years, RIP
  • https://loot.farm/ – Another trading bot I used to get low float MW coverts with nice stickers
  • CSGOFloat Market Checker – Extension to see floats on the steam market
  • Steam Inventory Helper – An extension I have used for years to check floats on the steam market
  • https://app.tradeuphero.com/ – Helpful site for trade up contracts
  • https://cases.jonesy.moe/ – If you want to gamble, gamble for better ROI. (Do not gamble)
  • https://www.twitch.tv/arrowcs – Arrow’s streams are all about CS skins and stickers. He likes to open cases too but when I see his luck it discourages me to open containers 😀
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