Demystifying the Food Club
Food Club, not to be confused with the Gourmet Food Club, is a great NP-maker for those with older accounts, but it is probably one of the most misunderstood games in the Neopets realm. For those who don't understand it, it and the talk from the regular betters can be daunting. Today we will attempt to uncloud the mystery and answer common questions that one might have.
What is Food Club
Imagine a restaurant with five separate rooms (arenas). The first room is labeled "Shipwreck"; the second: "Lagoon"; the third: "Treasure Island"; the fourth: "Hidden Cove"; and the fifth: "Harpoon Harry's". Every day at around 2:00pm NST, the same 20 pirates are randomly selected to one of these five rooms so that there are four pirates in each room. In each of these rooms, the four pirates sit down at a table. At the table, a mysterious third party will bring a menu listing 10 foods at random out of a predetermined list of foods. Each room gets its own menu that does not have any influence on what the other rooms get. Now these are hungry pirates (you would be too if you only ate once a day), so they are eager to eat it all. These pirates decide to have a race to see which one can be the first to finish their whole menu of food. One by one, the waiter brings in one course after another until all 10 courses are served. The pirates chuff down the food regardless of how much they like or are allergic to the food. Once one pirate in that room finishes his 10 course meal, around 2:15pm, the race is over until tomorrow.
Now, these pirates are pretty ostentatious (seriously, every day a race to eat a 10 course meal at 2:15pm at a restaurant? Who wouldn't notice?), so it's hard not to stop and stare. Regular restaurant patrons as we are, we want to get in on some of the action. So, we place bets on the pirates. We have rules, though! We have only 10 bets to make, and we can bet on one pirate per room in each bet. We can bet on all five rooms every day, so we can have up to five pirates in each bet. More pirates in a bet means more profit. However, for each bet, all the pirates in that one specific bet have to win (added profit means added risk).
Okay, so now that you have the general idea, it's time understand the actual pages laid out in front of you. At the top of the page, you see when the next match ends. It's always the next day at 2:00pm NST. At the bottom, you can link to the high score table, and the rules, and your scores, like any game. There are 9 links on the page. I'll describe what each one means to you:
Pirates – This is the page you start out on. On this page, you see a table that will summarize our pirates for us. In the first column, you have the pirates themselves. You can click on each pirate and it will take you to their stats page that tells you their allergies, favourites, wins, losses, strength, and weight, most of which is summarized on the first page already. Next, we have the strength and weight columns. Now, alone those numbers don't mean anything to us, but they will play a role in determining those odds later. Stronger pirates mean better odds. Imagine arm wrestling with a pro wrestler. He has higher strength, so his odds of winning are better. The same works here! Wins and Losses should be pretty obvious to you. Wins are the number of times a pirate won and losses are the number of times they lost. The percentage is the amount of wins over losses.
Courses – This is the complete list of foods that the restaurant has in any given day. Click on the food to see its type of food so you can determine if it is a favorite or an allergy for any pirate.
Place a Bet – This is obviously where the action happens. Under the elderly looking Kacheek is a message with how many neopoints you are allowed to bet per day. This changes daily as your account ages because it is 50 neopoints plus two neopoints per day that you have had your account. So, these older accounts will be making more money in this game. Now, in the table, you have the arenas on the left hand side with a check box and a drop down box with the pirates in each arena on the right. Next to each pirate is the ratio of the odds that the pirate has for the day (this may change!). This ratio is factored by that strength and the amount of favorites and allergies of all four of those pirates. A 2:1 means a pirate has a 1 out of 2 chance of winning. A 13:1 means the pirate has 1 out of 13 chances are winning. We'll discuss how to pick later. To actually make a selection, you want to click the arena you want to bet in (don't forget to do this or you'll mess up your bet!) and then choose the pirate in the drop down box that you want. Scroll to the bottom, and enter the amount you want to bet (0 up to your maximum bet amount). It will automatically calculate the possible winnings for you.
Current bets – When you make bets, the ones you made that day will be highlighted on this page. These bets are pending, so we don't know if we have won or lost yet. You can have up to 10 on this page.
Collect winnings – After 2:15 when the round ends, this is where we go! If we have any winning bets, it will be displayed on this page to collect. If there are none, it will say "you have no winning bets!" If you didn't collect one day, they will still be on that page for a period of 8 days.
Bet History – This is how we can see how we are doing in Food Club. We get a table with four columns. Column one lists the number of bets we placed. Column two is the bet total which is the total amount of neopoints we spent on betting. Column three is the win total, which is how much we won, including our initial bet back. Column four is the difference; the win total minus the bet total, so we can see how much we net profited. If that number is green, we're ahead! If it's red, you need to study some more.
Next Round – This page is the details of what we can see on the place a bet page. The four pirates listed and the foods they'll be eating. You need to click on the arena you want to see each arena.
Previous Round – Click each arena in this page to see the winner of the last round.
Leave – Pretty self explanatory, takes you away from the Food Club.
Reading the Odds
Okay, so now you know how to navigate the game, let's get into the actual betting. So, with a number of arenas and odds to choose from, how do we know what our ten bets should be? We need to make educated decisions to decide which pirates will be the best. Now, we go to the how to bet page, and we can see those odds. Compare the odds within those arenas. Odds will range between 2:1 all the way up to 13:1. A pirate with 2:1 odds has a one out of 2 chance of winning. A pirate with 13:1 has a 1 out of 13 chance of winning. Now, obviously, a 1 out of 2 chance is significantly better than 1 out of 13 chances of winning. So we can expect that pirates with lower odds will tend to win more than those pirates with the higher odds.
So, how are those odds determined? Well, to determine those odds, the game compares the relative strengths, favourites, and allergies of the four pirates within each arena. Stronger pirates tend to have lower odds than weaker pirates. However, pirates with a lot of favourite foods tend to also have lower odds than pirates with a lot of allergies. So, in a perfect world, those 2:1 pirates will be the ones that are the strongest and have a lot of favourites and no allergies. The pirates with those 13:1 odds are going to be weaker pirates with no favourites and lots of allergies. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen every day. There will be days where pirates will have, maybe, a low strength, but high amounts of favourites and low amount of allergies. So, we need to pay attention to those factors as well by checking out the foods they are eating in the Next Round page.
So now that we understand how the odds are determined, we need to compare the odds. As I said earlier, lower odds are better odds. So, when we look through these arenas, we are first looking for a "clear cut winner". These are arenas that have one really good looking pirate, while the rest of the pirates are not so strong looking, and more long shots. Now, ideally, this would be a strong pirate with a lot of favourites and minimal allergies with 2:1 odds, against three 13:1 pirates with weak strengths and a lot of allergies and minimal favourites. Some days, this happens.
More than likely. though, we are going to get a lot of varied odds: sometimes there is more than one pirate in the arena with 2:1, sometimes there are none, some days we'll see a 2:1, a 3:1, and then a 9:1, and 13:1. With infinite number of possibilities, we need to examine those strengths and food adjustments more quickly.
Now, we aren't going to find a clear cut winner in every category, or this game would be too easy. So after you decide which pirates are definitely those clear cut winners, you want to consider which pirates you think you can eliminate. These are pirates you don't think that you need to bet on. Likely these are higher odd pirates, but not always.
Okay, now we know the odds and it's time to make our bets! Now, we need to choose those arenas we want to work with. Ideally, you want to have one to two pirates, sometimes three, in each arena that you think have a chance of winning, while eliminating the rest. Too many pirates will lessen our profit potential and leave our bets open for more losses. Too few pirates will leave us with lower profit potentials. Now, we don't want to make our bets too risky, because more risk means more potential for loss, so I recommend sticking with 3 arenas. If the odds are better, you might want to use a few more, but three is a good number to start out with for now.
Now, we want to use those one to two pirates in those arenas we picked, to try to make as many possible combos as possible. Our goal here is to cover all potential possibilities of combos those pirates could make for winning. Easy, right? However, there is a catch! All of those bets have to total higher than 10:1! We are making 10 bets, so we need each bet to be over 10:1 (10 times the amount of 1 bet) to make back what we put in.
How do we make our bets over 10:1? Simply multiply the odds of the pirates in your bet to figure it out. Say we are using three arenas, the first arena has a 2:1 pirate; the second arena has a 4:1 pirate, and the third arena also has a 2:1 pirate in it. Now, those pirates are all going to be together in one bet, so we multiply the 2 times 4 times 2 and get 16. So our bet will have a total of 16:1. That's over 10:1. So if we won with that bet, we would end up with 10:1 to make up for what we bet, and an extra 6:1 of extra money. That's over 50% profit!
Now, there will be many times where you are using three 2:1 bets. So the bet will total 8:1. (2:1 times 2:1 time 2:1 totals 8:1). What do we do there? Now, if the odds are good, you might consider using another arena. Mind you, that adds potential risk to the bet so make sure you cover other possibilities. For less easy odds, we can make that 8:1 bet, but then also make a 4:1 bet using two of those original three pirates that we used. Why is that? Because, if that 8:1 bet wins, we are using two of those same three pirates in this 4:1 bet, so it also has to hit. That 8:1 and the 4:1 add together to give us a 12:1 which satisfies the over 10:1 rule. Now, doing it this way will sacrifice one of your 10 bets obviously, so plan accordingly.
Now, you've made all of the bets you wanted, and covered all of the possibilities you had. Not always, but hopefully, you have bets left over! If this is the case, we can have more fun with these bets. Any spare bets you have left over can be used in two ways:
Method 1 – Safeties. Safeties are pirates that we don't think have a chance of winning, but we are going to cover him anyways just in case to be safe, hence the name. 13:1s make great safeties because they are always over 10:1, and can save your booty sometimes.
Method 2 - Multipliers. Now, this way is slightly riskier, but more fun. This is similar to that 8:1/4:1 idea that I listed earlier. We tend to use this option when the odds are better. We use those pirates that we used in our original bets in different ways, by taking out a pirate so that way multiple bets end up winning.
So, for these two reasons, you always want to use all 10 of your bets.
Going For a Trophy
Now that you're comfortable with how to bet, let's discuss getting a trophy. Getting a trophy is super confusing in this game even for the regular betters. Trophies are obtained by getting on the high score board by collecting the most neopoints at one time. So to get your best shot, you want to not collect for a few days at a time. We are allowed to not collect for 8 rounds in a row. After the eighth round, any bets that are older than 8 rounds will disappear. So you need to really keep track of this if you decide to hold your bets. Now, this means 8 Neopian rounds, so regardless if you win or lose, bet or don't bet, you only get that many days. As you can see, betters with older accounts have a better shot at winning because they can bet and win more at one time.
Hopefully this enlightened you to the ways of betting. To really get a full experience, join the Food Club boards located in the Games boards where people share advice, bets, and ideas.