Insight 6: Beginner meets veteran. Trading on Footstock by Westy and Girty

The beginner - Westy:

I joined Footstock back in February 20. I was interested in seeing how it worked and if it could compete with Football Index. I used to be a big FPL addict spending hours selecting my initial squad and then the weekly line ups and captains; there are elements similar to FPL but with more immediate reward versus the workplace kitty at the end of the season. I also like the fact it is a trading market rather than football betting. We are passionate about platforms that allow you to try and make money through football knowledge without risking your whole stake on a one off bet!

You can have fun on the games and gambles on the packs involved on Footstock (trying to beat market value), but that side does not interest me so much. A responsible aspect of Footstock is that you can exclude yourself from those parts if you wish to totally avoid the gambling games element.

The market was appealing as a place to practice order books (get ready for them on Football Index), but now they are not just for practice but a serious contender of where my money will go to try and grow! The fact that your cards do not have expiry dates is very appealing for a long-term trader like me.

Admittedly, initially I found Footstock very hard to get in to. Luckily, the customer service is by far the best I have ever experienced! And on top of this, the twitter and slack communities for Footstock are full of people willing to help beginners. Twitter accounts Girty (@Girty_), Footstock Chat (@FootstockChat) and even the chiefs of Footstock were all very helpful and patient! One of the most useful things was Girty doing a podcast (Your first 20 minutes on Footstock) that clearly explained the platform bit by bit. I listened to this with the platform loaded and followed the guidance- I highly recommend all new users do the same! It is available on our trading checklist for Footstock (we will be updating this part of our site with more resources soon- keep an eye out!).

I started off small and started to learn the ropes but then football went away. If anything though, the COVID lockdown dip didn’t last long and in fact proved a bit of a market turning point with the excellent idea of running virtual fixtures- a way to get your football fix and use your players. Players suddenly regained value and there was some footy to get involved in!


I have been trading very differently to how I trade on Football Index. As I have started off small, I have been trading in the lower end of the market and tried my luck on a few packs; overall, I think the packs did beat market value. I am currently sat at an ROI of 158% (I track my portfolio and player trading on the FTI trading log available here).


The way it is going, I will soon be starting to invest a bit more and try to prime my collection to compete in the tournaments for the cash prizes. Those of us using the Football Trading Insights forum have witnessed @Dronnygraz doing very well in these! If you'd like to join, and mostly use a mobile device, we advise using the app version available here.

Going forwards, I will continue to trade on both Footstock and Football Index. They are very different and can complement a general ‘Football’ category of your wider investment portfolio. Lots will have benefited from, or jealously heard about, being an early investor on Football Index, I see this as a chance to get in early on Footstock- yes there is risk involved, but the possible rewards outweigh them for me.

I asked Girty to give us all a bit more information expanding from his podcast- a veteran’s viewpoint with a bit more guidance to anyone considering trying it (use the generous trial offer of 50 bonus players and tournament coupons- plenty to get going with and trial the platform for free!).


Many thanks to Girty for this! Having listened to the podcast already, I have found this further explanation very useful!

Girty’s guide:


This guide will be the natural next step once you’ve listened to the podcast as I’ll be going a little more into the details & covering a few areas we overlooked in the pod.


The home page - First thing first when you open the Footstock App or WebApp, you’ll see 6 ‘Tiles’:



I will focus on explaining the Market and Shop tiles here, as there is more support available on the others already elsewhere (see note at end). The market and packs are what most new traders are currently asking about. The other functions which are found on the left hand menu are fairly self explanatory if you’ve used other gambling apps, i.e Transaction History, ‘Tell a friend’, Deposit, Withdraw etc.


Market


I find the easiest place to start is the market because it’s the first place a user will naturally go to build their collection. It is also the foundation for the platform and uses an ‘Order Book’ trading system which may take a little getting used to if you haven’t seen them before.


The orderbook system is effectively a market made solely by the users of the platform. Footstock themselves have little to no interaction with the market and prices seen for either buying or selling are purely dictated by us, the users; for example if nobody wants to sell a Bruno Fernandes below £100, then you either need to pay up or find another way to try and get a Bruno (which we’ll cover later in Packs).


When scrolling through the market, you will see prices on a player. These prices are the lowest price someone is currently willing to sell that card. If you then click on a particular card, you can see a little more information such as the ‘Sell Price’ which is the highest bid somebody has placed to buy that particular card and the ‘Last Sale Price’ which is, as you probably already know, a record of what price the last completed transaction was for.



When hoping to buy a card, you can either pay the current price to instantly receive that card or you can bid lower and hope somebody decides to sell the card cheaper at some point. If your bid is lower than the current ‘sell price’ (the current highest bidder), then you will also need to wait for the bid to either be accepted or removed otherwise they will receive the next sold card.


At the bottom of the page you can also see a tab called ‘My Orders’.



If you click this, you will be able to see your current active buy & sell orders. There is also some functionality to help you manage these orders, the main ones being the following buttons:



Best - If you select an order and choose the ‘Best’ option, this will automatically adjust your current bid to place you 1p ahead of the current higher bidder. This is a very common method of trying to pick up a bargain through ‘1p races’. As this is a very popular tool, you can often find yourself being outbid by 1p too, so be sure to check back regularly unless you are unwilling to raise your bid.


Match - This button will adjust you bid to match the current order which will create an instant transaction to either buy or sell a player. Be careful if you have multiples of the same player selected as with the current setup we do not know what the ‘2nd in line’ offer is, it could be substantially higher/lower and your order will still match it if you have the cash in your balance.


Adjust (looks like a pencil) - This will allow you to manually set a new price on your order, this is most useful when you would like to adjust multiple orders to a new price without having to update them individually, you just select the cards you want to adjust and type in the new price.


Adjust % (Pencil with %) - The % tool is similar to the above however this adjusts the price +/- a specific percent. This is extremely handful for when I want to increase all buy orders on players at the same time even though they are at various prices. I can simply select all cards, and use this option to raise orders by 5%


A final point on this page is the visual of a green/orange tick next to each order, a green tick signals that you are front of the queue to either buy or sell whereas an orange tick symbolises that somebody else has a more competitive order ahead of you.

Star rating.


If we go back to the market page now, we can talk about the general structure.


Prices shown from 5pm 19/05/20

When you first open the market, the players will be sorted in ‘Star Rating’, these begin at 1 star and max at 5 stars with the following breakdown:


5 Star - Legendary - 5 Cards only

4 Star - Epic - 25 Cards only

3 Star - Rare - 50 Cards only

2 Star - Uncommon - 250 Cards only

1 Star - Common - The rest


We will cover why these star ratings are important later, in the Packs section.


After these 5 categories, the cards are then arranged in order of PPG, from top to bottom. PPG = Point Per Game. PPG is an average score that player has achieve on the Footstock scoring matrix in their last ‘x’ number of games, with a maximum of 19 games included.



In general, higher PPG = better performances. When average PPG is calculated, Footstock do not take into account scores for matches where the player was injured however they do score zero points if they are dropped or suspended for a given match. You may notice players in different categories where the PPG should mean they are a higher rating than they are; this is because PPG is updated after each round of fixtures whereas Star Ratings are adjusted on the first Monday of the month only.


The last things to consider are: that in order to reduce volatility, cards can only move up or down one star rating per month, regardless of PPG, and new players joining are manually assigned a star rating by Footstock and will not be automatically moved until a minimum of 4 games have been registered.


If you so choose, you can also filter/sort the market by criteria such as; Price, Club, Position etc. There are also filters which allow you view specific types of cards in ‘special’ circumstances. These are:


Only Available - This defaults to active and only shows you card where there is an active seller, in the event a card is not available on the market, you can deselect this option to find the card and place a bid in the event a holder decides to sell at a later date.


Only Inactive - This defaults as unselected. Inactive cards are those of players no longer playing in the Premier League. Some users will still want to buy these cards as they never actually expire, so if the player does return to the EPL or if Footstock expands it will then become ‘Active’ again. Supply and demand for these cards is generally a lot lower than active cards. Inactives cannot be found in the current Footstock packs

One extra function Footstock added to Inactive cards was the ability to swap them. For a fee you can swap your inactive for a random active card. The fees range from 9p for a 1 star up to £9.99 for a legendary card. The only exception is that a Legendary card has a chance of being replaced with an Epic or Legendary card, this was added to ensure the Legendary cards remain very rare.


Not Owned - This filter is fairly self explanatory, when selected you will only see cards on the market which you do not own already.


Only Active - As above if you deselect this filter, Inactive will also show on the market.


Below these filters you also have the more standard filters for position & card category. Lastly, we also have a search bar at the top, this can be used to search for either specific players or teams.

What drives the market?

How do I know what to pay for a card?


When deciding what to pay for a card on the market it is very important to understand the value of the card to you, rather than just assuming the card is worth the price someone else is willing to sell for. When trying to estimate the value the first thing you need to consider is the cards on Footstock never expire.


For me there are then 2 primary things to consider:


  • Pack Rarity - this is how likely that card can be found in a pack. For instance, if a card if very likely to be found in a £5 pack then you obviously wouldn’t want to pay £100. On the other hand, if even a £100 pack only has a very slim chance of issuing the cards of that category, then maybe you should think twice about accepting a very low offer to sell that card. It can take a little while for these pack rarities to filter through as the star ratings change, so don’t expect a sudden jump in prices on the morning a card moved from 3 star to 4 star.


  • Value to the individual - This may even be more important than the above as it’s what the card is worth even if nobody else ever wanted to buy it of you again. This is basically ‘How much can this card win me?’, this can be from Tournaments, Roulette, Virtual battles or any other ways of using the card. For instance, there is no point buying 5 x Bruno Fernandes for £1000 if you are only entering beginner tournaments; firstly because the top cards aren’t eligible for these tournaments and currently there aren’t enough ‘no limit freerolls’ to utilise all the Bruno’s so you’re unlikely to win back the money you paid for the player.


At the end of the day, prices can go up or down but eventually every card will be worth zero when they retire (this is the case on Footstock, Football Index & even real life transfers!) so it’s all about putting them to work before that happens!


As a final point, you can of course profit by trading on the market but you’re very much at the mercy of other people's opinion of the specific cards ‘value’. So in some cases, even if you are correct about how good a player is, you may not be able to sell them for profit if others don’t wake up to it.

The Shop Tab (Packs)


As I alluded to above, there are various types of packs on Footstock and from time to time the Footstock team why freshen them up. As I type this there are 3 packs currently available in the ‘Shop’ they cost £4.99, £24.99 & £99.99 for EPL Standard, Premium and Exclusive packs respectively.



All packs currently contain the following; Cards, Tournament Coupons & Deposit Bonuses if you are very lucky. As you can imagine, the more you pay for the packs the more likely you are to receive high value content.


A few personal points I think should be considered when buying packs:


  • Know the risk - Check the details on each of the packs vs the market prices and understand what a you are likely to receive. In some cases, even a very good pack may give you cards which are cheap on the market if, for a given reason, someone is willing to sell cheaply.


  • Understand that coupons account for a proportion of the pack value, but they aren’t free cash. Coupons can only be used to enter tournaments, so if you would have entered the tournaments anyway, this is great and is virtually the same as cash. However, if you receive a bunch of Pro tournament coupons but your collection isn’t equipped to compete, you could very well be throwing the coupons down the drain, in which case you may as well have not won them in the first place


  • Understand what you are after - Even if you receive a great group of players, they may be more of the same cards you already hold, in which case you will need to go to the market to sell and reinvest the money in other players anyway.


Finally, a comment about the potential of packs. If you are very lucky, you can be rewarded tremendously from packs in a way which feels like winning the ‘Jackpot’. I have recently seen £99.99 packs which include £500+ worth of tournament coupons plus the players!


Thanks for reading. I hope this helps!

To find out more, there are articles and guides by Girty and other Footstock traders on the official Footstock blog. (e.g. learn about The Art of Footstock Roulette- https://www.blog.footstock.com/footstock-101-the-art-of-roulette/).

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