Editor note- some elements mentioned by Vespasian at the time of writing, have since been changed- Raffles and Virtual Battles. These have been left in to still accurately show his journey from the start.
Please note I am only a few weeks into my Footstock journey and very much still a ‘newb’. Everything written is my opinion/first impressions and I could be wrong or misguided on certain points. Hopefully not, but please use comments and feedback (or get involved on the F.T.I. Forum / App version) to correct any mistakes or ask follow up questions. Thanks.
This article will discuss the following through the eyes of a newbie:
Starting the journey
Different elements within Footstock
My ongoing strategy
Footstock: Concept in brief
To date our readers are predominantly from the Football Index community; interestingly across every continent. However, we also have readers from other walks of football and trading forums, so with that in mind, a quick introduction into the main concept of Footstock for those that either know nothing, or brand it as glorified ‘TopTrumps’!
Footstock (FS) is a gambling platform based currently on the English Premier League (EPL). Within FS you build a ‘collection’ (portfolio) of player cards through either buying ‘packs’ of cards, or trading on the open market for them. Cards can then be entered into tournaments to compete for cash prizes. The cards can also be resold either to the house or to other traders on the open market.
Cards are split into 5 status categories; legend being the best through to basic being the worst. Their status can change based on form. There is a scoring matrix of player actions and those actions are averaged over a number of games to give each player a ‘points per game’ (PPG) score. The higher the score, the higher the category.
The categories have two purposes; to control how many are released to market keeping the most valuable cards rarer than the least valuable and to fulfill tournament rules. Players are also categorised by position; GK, DEF, MID and ATT. The position impacts tournament and single roulette rules.
There are several types of tournament for any match or round of matches. Each type of tournament has it’s own rules and prize pot. The rules are in place to ensure every card on the market maintains value. For instance, there are Beginner tournaments in which every entrant must submit a basic player and are limited to just basic and common players in their team. There are pro tournaments which allow all card status categories but you must submit one player from each positional category.
For more information on the basics of Footstock, listen to the 'First 20 mins' podcast found on our trading checklist. Then, read Girty's extra details in Insight 6. For more, head to Footstock's own blog which is full of information for beginners.
I have always been a football enthusiast; playing (badly), watching (season tickets spanning 20 years and several clubs!), football manager and fantasy premier league.
I have a degree in Corporate Finance and having completed a successful dissertation on making ‘abnormal gains in the stock market’ I dabbled in trading for a number of years both privately and for a company.
I’d been a prominent tactical content provider for Football Manager for several years before I delved into their sub-forums and stumbled across a Football Index advert – it was the first I’d heard of it and, as it ticked both my fascination with football and trading, it was a no brainer!
For better or worse, Football Index and Footstock are two circles that cannot (and from my perspective should not) live exclusively from one another. So I’d been aware of Footstock for a long time but focussed my energy and money into Football Index.
More recently however, more people have been reaching out and enticing me to try Footstock out. It was Westy who finally broke through by singing the virtues. The welcome sign up offer was a great way in as it didn't require a deposit and gave me plenty of players to try out the platform. There was nothing to lose!
Quick note to mention I had previously decided to sign up, but was working out of a hotel and the site requested documentation as part of the registration process. I didn’t have it to hand and it killed the moment there and then.
However, the process was extremely easy second time of asking and didn’t require any background checks or documents in advance. I’m sure if I hit certain thresholds at a later point, I will have to fill in required due diligence forms.
Starting my Footstock Journey
This will be a personal decision and preference to each individual, but my best method of learning and enjoying new products is to dive straight in. I’d heard a little about FS so wasn’t completely blind, but I intentionally avoided reading any blogs, beginner guides, videos before making my first deposit and subsequent purchases and trades. The more mistakes you make, as long as you can identify what they were and why they happened, the better it is in the long run. I find that making a mistake, or even finding a winning edge, first hand is far more use in the long term than being warned or advised in advance.
A week or so in, I did join the FS community. There is a Slack Channel with newbies and old heads alike offering help, banter, welcome and where justified- some light hearted ridicule! I’ve started following some members on the FS Twitter timeline and there is a growing forum on our very own site!
Joining the community helps me in a couple of ways. Insight into a broad range of other traders behaviours and strategies often offering up contrasting to each other or my own. Also the added immersive element; community challenges, shared victory etc. In the same way that getting a few mates around to play Fifa or Goldeneye is so much more fun than gaming alone, an online community of strangers (and frankly some odd characters) can provide added inspiration and motivation to succeed.
I’ve just begun tuning in to some of the content now that I’m familiar with the product and feel my understanding has its own foundation and will be aided, not set, by other traders. Shout out to Irishfi1 and Quinny for their Youtube content.
Different Elements to Footstock
As a new user I have decided to try out every element, to which there are many, within FS. I can tell immediately off the bat, as will most users, that some elements will be far more of a gamble than others. I accept that for my first foray, I will play the game as a ‘fish’, ‘mug’ etc. As previously stated, I like to dive in and see what works or doesn’t work first hand.
Each day (or 24 hours, haven't worked it out yet) you are allowed up to 15 spins on Stat Roulette vs the house. It’s called roulette, but it is more like Top Trumps. A card of your choice, from your collection, is matched up against a random card, of the same position of the house. A random match action i.e. clearances, is then selected and the card with the best score wins. The first 5 spins of the day cost you 49p, next 5 are 99p and the final 5 are £1.49. Total maximum cash cost per day is £14.85.
I find this element fun and so far very lucrative. I will probably play daily until cash flow becomes an issue and I hit my deposit tolerance (£5k initially).
It is luck based. However, like every gambler, I have devised a strategy anyway. I play the striker category because strikers are high value but their match action scores are generally poorer than other positions and more tightly bunched. It’s most likely confirmation bias but I feel like a £1 striker is far more likely to beat a £20+ striker… than likewise for Mid and Def.
With the prices at the top end of the market so high, you only need one good spin to make it a winning day. I only use cards I’m willing to lose and cards of low value. Losing several decent cards plus the fee to play, can end up being a costly morning's fun.
Roulette tournaments are an extension of the single stat roulette, the key difference being you play against other traders not the house. You can play 2, 4, 8, 16 or 32 card roulette. All cards go in the pot for a winner takes all scenario. The 2 and 4 card options come with additional choice of categories 1-2*, 3*, 4-5* denoting the status of player submitted.
I don’t play 2 card roulette, I tend to stick to 4 card 3* and under. I play the occasional bigger game once I have a stack of cards and don’t mind losing a handful.
At the moment the PPG for all players is static (as there are no live games which would otherwise keep changing the players scores). Therefore, the roulette has an air of predictability but also leads to a handful of ringers playing the same faces over and over again. It’s fun when you win a few hands and can be very lucrative winning the 8 card or higher i.e. stake a card worth £0-5 winning cards adding up to £100+ on 16/32 card or around £30-50 on the 8 card.
There is a rule within roulette that you cannot play the same card continuously, you have to play 3 other cards before being able to return to the original. (This rule is on a category by category basis so you can play the same card simultaneously in the 4 card, 8 card and 16 card for instance, just not in any category consecutively). The community have termed this ‘the Fred rule’ as Fred is one of the best roulette cards and some players would happily spin him on repeat all day!
You can watch the roulette on a round by round basis and it builds the anticipation as it reveals the chosen match action and then the players respective scores.
My best win to date;
James McArthur £2.07 at the time returning £116 worth of cards.
Raffles (currently not running)
I mentioned I wanted to play every facet of FS as a beginner. This is one facet I played once and only once. You can trade cards for raffle tickets and there is a daily raffle to win card packs, coupons etc. I traded many of my new ‘bonus’ cards (part of the sign up offer) for raffle tickets. I didn’t win and once I’d entered I’d all but forgotten.
The roulettes are of course total gambling but at least there is that gamblers buzz and anticipation and interaction. The raffle didn’t offer that so it’s not for me.
Virtual match tournaments
In the absence of real football, FS have brought forward their plans for virtual matches and these are live now. A match engine simulates results of chosen fixtures computing each player within a teams PPG (all their match actions) and some added element of randomness (so we cant simply calculate the results ourselves!).
The matches are played out as commentary only and can be viewed (roughly 5 minutes per game) about 20 minutes after the kick off time.
Each tournament has a set of rules and entry fee varies. Pro tournament teams can use cards of all ability and cost £15-20 per team entry, up to 5 teams per trader. Beginner tournaments are free or 50p and can only enter one team per trader consisting of basic and common cards, typically low value and accessible to every beginner (especially now you can get a starter pack that gives you 50 bonus cards to start with- you can receive this by using our link).
Fixtures and lineups are revealed a few days in advance giving you time to pick your teams knowing who will play, and where you have gaps you could go and buy the right player (or indeed use the opportunity to sell to others who may be looking to fill their teamsheets).
At this point, it’s probably useful to point out you do not lose cards entered into the match tournaments and cards do not expire! You can lose them on roulette, you can sell them or you can swap them (read more further down). Cards entered into tourneys cannot be put up for sale or entered in roulette until the tournament is finished (some time after, circa an hour or so).
I’m finding the virtuals a real buzz – the match engine is shoddy, the commentary is like something from 90’s champ manager games … but for all that it, is exciting with lucrative cash prizes and a live league table of all the entrants. Tonight my ‘B’ team snuck into the cash positions late on. The best thing is the number of places that pay out meaningful amounts. My team tonight placed 78th and still returned £37.
The concept of buying packs of cards is an idea I’ve seen not go down well in the community, albeit, mostly from those who have not yet signed up to FS.
You can buy 3 types of pack at the moment; standard £4.99, Premium £24.99 and Premium £99.99. Each pack offers a likelihood of the cards you will receive. Packs also contain coupons for tournament entries.
I’ve had some stinker packs i.e. £10 worth received in a £25 pack. However, the good packs have considerably outweighed bad packs so much so that when I first signed up and started buying them I’d almost trebled my value.
A typical £100 pack may contain maybe £70 of cards value and a number of coupons that overall surpass £100, often significantly. However, there comes a point where you have a nice stack of coupons to enter many tournaments and should focus on buying cards from the market where you rely less on luck and will get £100 of cards rather than unnecessary coupons.
The last pack I bought (today, as I write this) for £99.99 had circa £70 worth of player cards and a further £65 in coupons
FS operate an open order book system for traders to buy and sell cards from one another. FS do also offer an instant sell at a significantly lower price, but so far I’m yet to see a card without a reasonable buy order in place.
One of my key drivers to join FS was to get hands on with their order book system in preparation for it’s arrival as a mechanic within Football Index (even more prevalent after recent announcement).
My first foray into order books was as a buyer, to try and sweep up the cards I considered good for roulette. Prices are volatile and you can get a bargain, but I’ve already learned miserly low ball offers will stand small chance of success in such a growing market.
The more I get used it the more I like it and the volatility provides great opportunity for traders to make significant capital appreciation. I’ll be losing no edge in pointing out match day lineups create particular volatility; I suspect everybody notices it. The best example at the moment is when a teamsheet is announced, if there is a surprise GK or ATT in the team, their value increases significantly because many tournament rules specify you must have a GK and/or ATT. Similarly traders are keeping an eye out for which basic (1*) cards are in the lineup as the freeroll tournaments require each team to have at least one basic card.
Some examples of my buy & sell orders
Price Paid vs Current Price
Hoever £1.12 vs £1.27 (hot prospect)
Far £1.30 vs £1.40 (decent on roulette or match day tourney)
Benteke £1.31 vs £1.84 (been winning lots of single roulette vs higher priced cards)
Hendrick £1.26 vs £1.40 (solid player for next season)
Lundstram £1.48 vs £1.63 (solid first team choice at a decent side)
Mount - I’ve bid £11.50 but another trader is outbidding me currently at £11.51. I’m in no rush to chase this one, current lowest sell order is £12.89. I’d happily pay that but I have already manage to scoop some Mount up so he isn't a priority.
Mahrez – I’m significantly lower at £11.50 than current highest bid of £16.29 but Mahrez is in the current tournament. Once players are released back to us, there could be a potential drop in value. I’ll keep an eye on it, may up my offer but like Mount, I already hold several Mahrez, so I’m not desperate.
Mcneil – as a staple in the Burnley side his PPG is already good. I think he will have another strong consistent year next season and then can only get better with a likely transfer to a better side. I may up my bid here. Sellers at the moment want £14.25. I think this is fair so may have to meet it; I’ll follow this keenly in the next few days.
Traore – a legend card, playing sublimely in real life at a progressive side. I’m asking £80. The highest bid is £60.51 and another seller is willing to go to £64.98. I figure once one or two happily cash in, there will then be a significant jump as the likes of myself demand a higher fee. Particularly if Wolves lineup in an upcoming tournament.
Maddison – a must hold, but I have a handful and that £25 will buy me a pack or a handful of decent roulette players. No way I’m budging on my price, although others are selling at £22 currently.
Maguire – testing the waters. I have 3 of him, CBs aren’t the most thrilling. I’m already in the right ball park for a sale so I think this one will go through in the next day or two. I’ll keep an eye on it and maybe come down a little if I’m close to a match price.
Cards do not have an expiry date. However, if a player retires or leaves the EPL, they become invalid. Invalid cards can be ‘swapped’ for a fee.
The fee is based on the category of the card. A basic 1* card costs just 9p to swap. I don’t know much about this function as I’m yet to have an invalid card.
Strategic ideas for the future would be to ensure I don’t hold any high value basic/common cards who are likely to get relegated as I could pay to swap them only to get a lower value card in return. On the flip side however, it seems prudent to keep the very cheap cards and then swap them as they become invalid.
Great for new users – as when you hit certain milestones, you can receive rewards. Some are as basic as a free card for entering your first tournament and some will take a lot longer to achieve. The rewards are cards and discounts. Today I won a free Maddison for reaching 1000 cards.
I’ve ramped up my deposits quicker than anticipated, and I plan to surpass the original figure I had in mind. This is because I already feel the excitement around the product, particularly the matchday tournaments, but I also know what is in the pipeline.
FS will be releasing ‘virtual battles’ which will allow tournaments on demand! As soon as a lobby has enough entrants, a virtual tournament can be completed. I look forward to more details about the entry fees and prize pots.
There are also future plans to allow private tables for roulette/battles.
FS have postponed their planned release of ‘EURO’ packs and ‘Rest of the World’ packs. The intention is to have cards from outside of the EPL which will qualify for Euros, Europa League and Champions League tournaments.
The rest of the world packs will also contain some youngsters i.e. Bellingham who could be future stars. (I believe these were in the ROW packs not their own category).
I’d been using FS less than a day when the mass appeal of it resonated with me. I still have groups of friends from school and university who whatsapp every gameweek to inform me how bad my FPL captain choice is that week. The idea of being able to invite these friends to join Footstock and have regular battles or roulette games is huge! I can picture leagues and bespoke rules being setup across friend groups country wide.
There are rookie errors like picking expensive players with poor PPG for roulette or not thinking tactically about your tournament team entries etc. But the biggest mistake I’ve made so far -and made it twice!- is not checking my buy orders before depositing new money. I was caught out for having old buy orders in place for players who had dropped in value – as I deposited money, the buy orders began to get fulfilled. Lesson is to always check now and I’m already in the habit.
All subjective but I’ve had some good luck with packs and roulette, and I’ve won returns in several tournaments already. I believe I’m getting used to the order books and making reasonably savvy trades. More importantly I’ve used my first two weeks on the platform to build the basis of my future strategy.
I advise this for everyone to do for peace of mind on any new platform; make a withdrawal of some kind so you know that it is a smooth process. So another success so far, is testing the withdrawal system. Just £100 and it only took one day.
My Ongoing Strategy
I plan to deposit a total of £5k while getting used to the platform and having a play. When I reach that milestone, I’ll challenge myself to start prioritising profit over fun.
I’ll fade out the roulette and packs for more energy and time spent in the market and tournaments. I’d like to use clever trading to be able to buy and sell for profit, allowing me to start chipping away at my net deposits without damaging my ability to enter and win tournament prizes. I am well stocked in coupons so don’t need to outlay cash to enter tournaments for a long while and therefore, despite the excitement, I’ll ween myself off packs and remove that gambling element.
I’ll also begin selling off my duplicate cards, as I’ve started to do so with Maddison; it will keep me competitive in the tournaments by still owning as many players as possible, but maybe means a bit more patience and diligence with the teams I enter into tournaments.
No exit strategy in mind. When the fun stops … stop.
Couple of things to mention. There are some elements to FS which are traditional gambling with little to no skill. I can’t argue with the excitement or in my case the good value earned through these tools, but opening packs, playing roulette or entering raffles is no different to playing the ‘puggy’ at the pub or the machines at the bookies. They can be addictive.
Footstock have the typical self restraint limits and time outs but in (very quick) response to a user request, they can also exlcude you from the the gambling elements, allowing you freedom of the market and tourneys.
FS, like many startups, are very engaged with the customer base. They are listening to ideas and implementing them quickly.
The community is thriving, knowledgeable and friendly.
I am really enjoying the product so far and beyond that I feel there are a number of strategies to make good money.
Looking forward to the future development of the product, I strongly recommend anyone who hasn’t yet signed up to give Footstock a go!
I will be writing a follow up in the next few weeks discussing my strategic shift as I gain knowledge and strategical insight into Footstock. There have also been some noteworthy developments (Virtual battles are now live!) and volatility that I would like to discuss a bit more in depth.
Good luck and stay home, stay safe!
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