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We hear about these IPO lotteries and how you can get an odd lot of shares, and we tend to think that the odds for winning are New York State Lottery-like.

I know I so much as intimated that on Monday after I spoke on

Channel Five

in New York about how it was best to play initial public offerings through mutual funds.

But a host of you know more than I do and have filled me in on the truth. The lotteries can be real moneymakers and seem definitely worth striving for. I am going to print a letter I received from one of our more avid readers, because it talks about the melding of

and the lotteries to make a ton of money.

"Jim, Actually, a person can do very well with IPOs from E*Tradeundefined. Since June, I have made $50,000 on them. It is, however, getting harder and harder to get IPOs from E*Trade. They have just recently cut the number of shares after they distribute 100 to 50. I am a Platinum PowerE*Trade user, so that gives me a little better shot at some of the IPOs. I received the following IPO shares from E*Trade in 1999. Obviously, the bulk of my gains came from Red Hat and VA Linux last year. This year I have received the following IPOs so far: 50 CTRA (CTRA) , 50 DTEC (DTEC) and 50 LCOR undefined. Other friends of mine have received nice allocations of several IPOs. One friend of mine made almost $50,000 too last year. E*Trade's IPOS are not second-rate either. Only lost me any money (a whole $150!). ... A person does have to do their homework for these IPOs, though. Ben Holmes is one of the best sources for a good read on them. I put in indications for any IPO that has a reasonable chance to succeed. These relatively small IPO allocations may not mean much to someone with a seven-plus-figure portfolio. But I am still working on getting to mine! To me, it's just "free money" when I get a distribution of a good IPO. The risk/reward is "extremely" favorable in today's market! I've missed out on a lot of good ones ... but the ones that I have received have been well worth my time and effort. Sorry to be so long-winded. ... I just wanted to give you guys at the top of the feeding chain a chance to see that IPOs can be obtained by people without a large brokerage account and $1 million."

  • 100 RAMP (RAMP)
  • 200 BEOS undefined
  • 200 RHAT undefined
  • 100 HOTJ (HOTJ)
  • 100 SAGI undefined
  • 100 PRDS (PRDS)
  • 100 ASFD undefined
  • 100 VIXL undefined
  • 100 ECTX undefined
  • 100 LNUX undefined
  • 100 EBNX undefined

To me, this reader has figured out how to use the Net to make money.

That's why I have provided you with his whole letter. I think it is an inspiration. I remember when I first started trading out of phone booths to support myself while I was at law school. What I wouldn't have done to have the opportunities you all have now.

Don't forget that one day the IPO market will turn cold and the lottery winners will turn into lottery so-so'ers. But it is worth it to try to capture what you can when you can.

As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see

Corrections and Clarifications.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at