This column was originally published on RealMoney on March 30 at 5:42 p.m. ET. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers. For more information about subscribing to RealMoney, please click here.

Next week begins the game -- Beat the Street,

click here and sign up now so you're ready from the get-go on April 2. I want to urge you to play the game because, as anyone who has read

Jim Cramer's Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World

, knows, I always thought that fantasy games were great ways to learn stocks. The discipline of putting down a stock and following it begets the research, and you can do the research without getting clocked for real money.

When I first set up

our fantasy league at Cramer Berkowitz, everyone laughed. What was Cramer doing now, with his silly insistence on learning new stocks on paper. We started with a draft, which, I have to tell you, we did not do enough work on. Only after we had won the draft did the work begin. That was wrong, but then again, we didn't know how important it would be. We almost followed these stocks more than the ones we had millions bet on. We became obsessed with learning the stories, and the ones that graduated to our real portfolios -- the

Red Hots, as I called them -- gave us fantastic performance.

Sure it's a game. And there is some nifty prize money associated with it (to be specific, $100,000). But I urge you to use the game as a way to get to know some stocks you wouldn't otherwise. I think it forces you to focus, and it forces you to think about what can go wrong, not just what can go right.

I am going to tell everyone I know to register and I hope you will, too. A hundred G's is a nice amount. But don't lose sight of the real reason to play because, alas, most of you are

not

going to win: The goal to learn new stories and hit it big

outside

the game.

May the best gamer have a swell time spending the money and palling around with me in New York and New Jersey. Everyone else?

Use your fantasy portfolio to build your reality portfolio. It's the best learning tool in the world.

Random musings:

If you are looking for ideas and don't have them, James Altucher has done some unbelievable work culling portfolios from the best money managers, and the viral community that is

Stockpickr has tons of them. I would start with that if you don't know where to go, including some fabulous names that could be coiled springs that are perfect for the contest. If you're watching

CNBC's

"On the Money" this evening, you'll even catch him discussing

his latest great portfolio, the stocks that have great potential next week because they caused such fear and loathing this week. He's going to explain it in even more depth on TheStreet.com Monday morning, so watch for his next

Stocpickr column.

TheStreet.com holds a minority ownership interest in Stockpickr LLC and serves on its Member Committee. Jim Cramer is a director, co-founder and stockholder of TheStreet.com.

Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for

Action Alerts PLUS. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" weeknights on CNBC. Click

here to order Cramer's latest book, "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click

here to order his book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click

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