Ask a Food Club Betting Expert
Every day around 3pm NST, 20 pirates chow down in Food Club and depending on who wins Neopets users can earn millions in a matter of minutes. While the system favors users with an older account age (the max amount of NP you can bet is determined by days playing) even new accounts can substantially supplement their income through regular betting. However, the system is deeply complicated and most users prefer to “follow” or copy the bets of an experienced player who posts them online, such as renowned bettor Lefty_Libra. Sidney (affectionately known as Lefty) posts her bets daily on the petpage (/~Innocent) and I’d conservatively estimate that thousands of players use her suggestions to make their own fortunes. I caught up with the legend to find out how she got started in Food Club and any secrets she was willing to divulge on how she’s so good at betting!
* - see glossary below
1. How did you begin posting your bets for other neopets users to follow? How long have you been betting?
My first attempt at playing Food Club was in August 2010, so I've been betting for 7 years. I started out by reading some guides on how to play and then experimented with the recommended strategies. Quickly I got good results and was amazed at how many NP could be won in a single day. I love Food Club! It is fun, rewarding, and constantly challenging due to the unpredictability factor.
After gaining some experience I started lurking on the FC competition board in the Games forum... until I felt ready to join the competition. I started competing in October 2010, and within a few months I'd earned a gold trophy! And I've been competing on the board ever since (with a couple of brief breaks thrown in).
In the early stages posting bets was for verification purposes for the FC competition... i.e., to prove what our bets and results were. They still serve that purpose, but over time more bettors (myself included) began trying to help other players learn how to play FC by adding resources and/or commentary to our betting pages. I do enjoy the "help" aspect and feel that I have a lot of good knowledge and experience to share with others.
2. What aspects do you consider when making bets? How long does it take you to make your daily bets?
My style is pretty moderate. First I look for the positive arenas*, and then build my set around the 2:1s in the positives. I look for likely "multiplier" and "booster" arenas*, and of course include safety bets*. Honestly I do not pay much attention to F/As*. I tend to think that the F/As are already reflected in the opening odds.
It generally takes me 5 to 15 minutes to make my bets. If the odds are bad then I may mull over my options for a few hours.
3. You mention you like to include a little risk in your bets -- when did you decide to go big?
Fairly early on... I wanted to try for a trophy and getting larger wins was obviously going to make that more achievable. I don't bet in a crazy or random fashion though. Arguably the main thing that I'm more likely to do that is riskier is to cover possible double upsets.
4. What advice do you have for those new to betting in food club?
First of all (and it can't be overemphasized) Food Club is a gambling game. It's similar to betting on a horse race in the real world. In each round that you play there is a real risk of losing all of the NP that you bet because upsets happen. Therefore I urge others not to bet more than they are prepared to lose. You do not have to bet the full amount that you are allowed (based on your account age)... bet an amount that you are comfortable with and can afford.
5. What advice do you have for those who have been following bets for a while and want to start trying their own bets?
Read the game guides, and then reread them. Assess how risky you want to be (low, moderate, risky) and choose a strategy that matches your risk level. Experiment with different strategies if you want to. Expect to lose sometimes (we all do). Keep at it. By following a consistent betting strategy you should be able to make a lot of neopoints over time in FC.
6. Do other major bettors influence you at all?
Sometimes; it depends. I'm more likely to check others' bets when all arenas open negative and a workable set isn't obvious to me.
I do notice different approaches by other bettors which yield good results. Sometimes I'll vary my usual style by trying out a different approach or coming up with a hybrid one.
7. Do you get a lot of feedback from users on your bets?
Yes, I've received many appreciative neomails from followers over the years. Thanks everyone!
Multiplier* – A multiplier is usually a 2:1 or 3:1 pirate that doubles or triples the potential winnings of a particular bet. Multipliers are usually used in conjunction with safeties.
Safety* – This term varies person-by-person. In general, a safety is a bet (or bets) that act as a "backup plan." Safety bets usually cover unlikely winners between the odds of 10:1 and 13:1.
F/A* – A pirate's food adjustment is calculated by (Favorites) - (Allergies). The higher the food adjustment, the stronger that pirate becomes in the round. If the adjustment is in the negatives, then the pirate becomes weaker.
Booster** – Booster bets are bets that you make, purely to increase your profit. When you add them to base bets, you increase your profit. However, when you use an arena for boosters, you need to cover all the pirates in that arena (or most of them, if there are 13:1 odds), because like I said, you can't pick a surefire winner.
Positive and negative arenas*** – found by converting the listed odds to percentage values, adding those percentage values, and subtracting the total from 100%.
For example, suppose the pirates in an arena are listed as 2:1, 6:1, 8:1 and 13:1. Converting to percentages yields 50%, 16.67%, 12.5%, and 7.69%; a total of 86.86%.
The value of this arena is 13.14% (100% - 86.86%).
* = Definitions taken from (/~jawsnapper0991)
** = Definition taken from (/~Liliola)
*** = Definition taken from (/~myfoodclubbets)