Food Club: Your Best Friends in Betting
Once upon a time, I wrote a little article called 'Making Sense of Food Club', which you can find in the 408th edition of the Neopian Times. My focus with that article was to familiarize people with Food Club, to guide them through the setup, and to teach them not to put the pirates’ names into a hat and draw them out to decide who to bet on.
After some internal debate, I have decided to write a more in-depth article about two specific aspects of Food Club: food adjustments and the odds. I think these are the most important parts of Food Club when it comes to betting – you don’t want to bet heavily on a lousy-odd pirate with a poor food adjustment. You’ll likely lose money, whereas if you rely more on a pirate with a good adjustment and good odds, your chances of profit are greater.
Good odds are lower odds, like 2:1 and 3:1. Bad odds are higher, like 13:1. A pirate with 2:1 odds has a significantly strong chance of beating a pirate with 13:1 odds. Middle-odd pirates are what I think of as pirates with 5:1 to 9:1 odds. A 2:1 pirate has a decent chance of beating a 6:1 pirate, but the 6:1 pirate has a decent chance to upset the 2:1 pirate. If there is an arena full of these middle-odd pirates I will usually ignore it due to the massive bet coverage it would need.
Food adjustments are a little trickier. You need to find these out yourself, and they take time. I explained how I find them in my first article, so I encourage to read that before you go on. However, I tally the adjustments differently now – instead of a 2-0 mark, that would now be a +2 mark. Likewise, a 1-4 mark would now be -3. The +2 means that this pirate has a total advantage of two, and the pirate with -3 is stuck with a total advantage of negative three.
If they are both relatively equal in stats, the pirate with the +2 adjustment will probably kick the butt of the pirate with the -3 adjustment.
So therefore, higher adjustments are better for the pirate and his odds, and lower adjustments are bad showing for a pirate.
That said, there are a couple of pirates that are still awesome even if their adjustments are a little lower: Gooblah the Grarrl, for example. Gooblah’s adjustment could be -1, and he could still face down pirates with better adjustments and make it out as the winner. Why? Because Gooblah is the strongest pirate, and the adjustment can usually be considered the change in his strength. Gooblah’s strength is an astounding 93, so the -1 adjustment would bring him to a still-great 92 strength.
Other pirates in this league are Buck Cutlass and Scurvy Dan the Blade, at 89 and 87 strengths respectively.
Vice versa, a weaker pirate, even when faced with a decent food adjustment like +3, could still lose. Orvinn the First Mate, Stuff-A-Roo, and Squire Venable all have very low strength, in the low sixties or less.
Let’s use Venable as the example here. He has a whopping 61 strength. A +3 adjustment tally is going to bring him up to 64. Can he fairly compete with Gooblah?
Unless Gooblah has a -30 tally, probably not.
Other higher-strength pirates that could deal with a middling adjustment are the Corvallio brothers, Lucky McKyriggan, and The Tailkhook Kid.
They will, however, have higher odds than Gooblah or Dan, even with the same adjustment. What could be a 3:1 for Dan could well be a 7:1 for Lucky.
Other lower-strength pirates include Captain Crossblades and Puffo the Waister. They will likely have slightly better odds than the three weakest, given that they hypothetically all have the same adjustment. 13:1 for Orvinn could be 11:1 for Puffo.
The odds of a pirate will usually match his adjustment pretty well – Gooblah with a +4 adjustment will most certainly have 2:1 odds, and Puffo with a -2, 13:1 odds.
Sometimes, though, they’re just downright nonsensical.
If, while you’re tallying your adjustments, and you find that Scurvy Dan has a +3 adjustment, you’re going to assume that he will have 2:1 or 3:1 odds. You do the rest of the arena – Bonnie Pip Culliford with +0, Ned the Skipper with -1, and Young Sproggie with +2 – and remain confident in this.
Then you dally on over to the Place a Bet page and find that Dan is 4:1, tied with Sproggie. What the heck is going on here?
I often have this reaction to this sort of event, even more so when a weaker pirate with a +5 adjustment is still a 13:1 when I expect him to be a 9:1 or a 10:1, and there is no real answer.
If the round has basically just started, it could very well be someone at TNT having himself a nice giggle. If, however, the round has not just started, and the results for the previous round have been up for several hours, it could be the fault of... well, ourselves.
Yep, that’s right. More people betting on a pirate will lower his odds and make them better. You can therefore assume that fewer people betting on a pirate will increase his odds.
If you have Franchisco Corvallio with 2:1 odds in an arena of weaker pirates with 11:1 to 13:1 odds, you’re probably going to shaft the other three and vote solely on Franchisco in that arena. If a pirate has 11:1 or 12:1 odds in that case, he’s probably going to become a 13:1 before long, no matter what his adjustment is.
This is why it’s important to calculate food adjustments. You can look at the odds and go, “Oh, hey, Fran’s in a good position here! I’m going to rely totally on him!” when in reality, Franchisco has a +2 adjustment and Puffo, with 11:1 odds, has a +4 adjustment. You wouldn’t know that unless you did your work, and find yourself thinking that maybe it might not be a bad idea to consider covering Puffo in your bets somehow.
The best kind of arena is the arena where a strong pirate with a good adjustment is 2:1, and three weaker pirates with middling or poor adjustments are 13:1. It’s a pretty safe bet that the 2:1 pirate will win, and I will often include him in all of my bets as a multiplier for other pirates.
There is considerable risk in doing this, though: a 13:1 may win and pull an upset, and therefore all of my bets would tank. This is the name of the game, though – Food Club is a gambling outlet. You can make educated bets and form a strategy for betting, but you can’t discount luck. It lurks in corners waiting for unsuspecting bystanders, you know!
The worst kind of arena is an arena full of good-to-middle odds pirates. If the pirates in your arena are relatively close-matched in strength after the adjustments, you could be stuck with a 2:1, a 4:1, a 5:1, and a 7:1. All of them have a sporting chance to win. The 2:1 pirate has the best chance, of course, but it’s too close to call in this case. I normally ignore these arenas – you only get ten bets, remember, and covering all four pirates in an arena is usually not a feasible task.
You should keep the odds and adjustments in mind as you do your bets. Having a single bet where you’re betting on three pirates with 2:1 odds has a much better chance of winning than a single bet where you’re betting on a pirates with 13:1, 8:1, and 3:1 odds. The latter would have better payout, that’s true, but it’s got, what, a 1% chance of winning? :P
Covering higher-odds pirates can be useful, but you need to be smart. Betting on one alone or with a 2:1 pirate that’s extremely likely to win is a much safer way to go than betting on him with a 6:1 or another 13:1.
The payout possibilities are exciting that way, but unless you like taking risks that much, and have a lot of money to spare, it’s usually not the best way to go about betting.
Choosing three or four decent arenas and making bets that can overlap is a good way to bet. Your chances of winnings on each individual bet are still good, and the winnings from all your bets can build on each other to make even more money.
But I digress. That’s not really what this article is about, is it?
Pay attention to the adjustments and the odds. They will be your best friends in the process of betting, and help you decide whether or not it is worth betting at all and who is worth betting on.
And remember, if you’re ever unsure about anything concerning Food Club, there are guides, betting pages, and boards out there to help.