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One of the F.T.I. forum members, MrWh1te, is currently doing a challenge of £500 into Footstock (FS) and £500 into Football Index (FI). The challenge is to see which site makes the most profit within six months- you can follow this on Twitter here.
MrWh1te has always stood out as a trader that loves the maths involved in trading- he doesn't disappoint with this article! There are lots of similarities with this strategy and my own current FS plan, but I never thought of calculating all the margins involved. The calculations shown in this article show decent ROIs can be achieved with a low risk method of ticking off the rewards- especially if you target them and trade to a plan. I am a long way off the 5000 reward, but I have found the reward system quite motivating and have received good cards from the ones I have completed so far. MrWh1te has opened my eyes to the tactic of not cashing in your rewards straight away...I hadn't thought of trying to time using them when players may have moved categories! So read on to find out about his strategy and maybe pick up some tips to trading in the lower end on Footstock!
Many thanks to MrWh1te for sending this in to us!
The 5000 players reward plan
Many people have been asking for my thought process behind buying up all the cheap end of the market, to gain the 5000 card reward. Here is my reasoning behind it.
First of all, a bit about my history. I have made money through many gambling platforms, with a focus on small outlays, small repeated wins and the use of bonus funds to make a profit. I focus mainly on percentage, rather than pounds and pence and this forms the basis of all my betting exploits. It gives me clarity in what I am doing and why. 5p is nothing, but 25%- that is a different matter, and often 5p is 25%.
It is this that forms my thinking and decision making in FS.
Please note, for the duration of this challenge I am using a base rate of 20p per card and it is from here that I will work my calculations of profit. I will always use highest spend percentage for expenditure and lowest for income percentage; this ensures my target profit is always low and I am able to beat it consistently.
I am giving each low card a value of 20p (please note: this price moves. When I started 3 weeks ago, it was closer to 15p and by the time you read this, it could be 25p. This will be for you to decide). It is the price I give to every card based on:
Current buy/sell prices.
The fact that when they go inactive they can be exchanged (this is a huge opposite effect to FI, where I would always focus on the top end of the market and never the bottom).
New FS initiatives.
My aim- make as much money as I can. Starting with buying 5000 cards and a modest outlay.
A new user has a unique way to get a boost to their bankroll on FS and that is with the rewards. As you hit different milestones, you achieve different rewards. These are cumulative, so for 5000 cards, you would have gained 14 common cards, 13 rare cards, 2 epic and 1 legendary. This is key to this part of the challenge. My focus is on the 2 epic and 1 legendary cards; these are the ones that I track for profit margins.
I did start with £500 and was happy with this, as part of the challenge I am running with FI. However, with the new matching engine from FI, the sudden ‘drop’ in prices and the raffle being removed on FS, I quickly decided to double this to £1000 on each site to take advantage of both.
From this base card of 20p x 5000 cards, we get a card cost of £1000. This is my top cost. All cards were bought from 19p down. Each 1p drop sounds tiny, but is in effect 5%. For each 1p I shave off the 20p cost, I make an extra 5%. Therefore a card costing 17p (of which I have a lot) gives me 15% profit when sold on.
At the time of completion, the following prices were observed:
These percentages are subject to change of course, based on the price the reward is completed.
For my 1st epic card I gained a £13.00 card, at 1.3%.
For my legendary card I gained a £124 card (wahoo!) at 12.4%
I am saving my third epic for when KDB moves down to epic. But it is currently at 13.7% bonus which is a huge bonus in my eyes. It could have been as high as 70% bonus (Two TAA and a Bruno) or as low as 7.5%. 7.5% as the lowest possible bonus is again, highly acceptable.
Now I have accumulated 5000 cards, and gained my bonus, the hard part really does start and this is the sell-off. I have 50-120 of quite a lot of cards and extracting the most out of what I have gathered is where the skill is going to come to the front.
I do have some rules here too:
No card is to be sold for less than 20p. This ensures a minimum 5% gain on every card, and up to 50% on some. Most cards were bought for 17p, giving a 15% profit margin. This is a minimum.
Research heavy and cards that could become inactive are kept for the trade. 20p card + 9p cost = 29p. This is way above the average cost of a basic card. It is the inactive swap that keeps the base cost of a card at 20p, without which they will be worth nothing.
Cards of players who could become good players to be kept.
I expect this process to take the best part of 5 months, it won’t be quick, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it for the profits.
The same model can be applied through the rewards, as you move through basic, rare cards. Set a base price and calculate accordingly.
This process focuses purely on the figures and very little football knowledge is required.
I see this as fairly low risk. A player getting injured or leaving a team will not impact negatively at all because the card is already as low as it can go.
Following this strategy you will see huge swings in your portfolio collection and this is the biggest hurdle. Seeing a £200 drop (20%) in one day and then keep falling can lead you to give up. If you follow this strategy, you must see it through, or it will end up very costly. For instance, below here is a picture of the bottom end of my collection.
You will note the instant sell price in the corner. I have over 100 players now with an instant sell price of less than 20p. Five days ago, my lowest instant sell price was 20p. So it looks like a lot of loss and can be scary to look at.
Five days later and prices at the bottom of my portfolio are back up to 20p!
You need to understand this. Say you have a player worth 50p. Someone buys him for 60p and you are +20% in the collection, but then someone sells him for 40p and you are -20% on the original 50p or -33% on the 60p high. The card is still worth 50p but how it is recorded makes the swings look huge. So a few sells by others, below your last buy price, can start showing as huge losses on your collection.
Ironically, if I have a player at 20p and then I buy him at a lower price, it lowers the cost of my collection. For instance, I have a 20p player and 18p in cash = 38p. I buy the same player for 18p and it marks both players at 18p x 2 = 36p. I have lost 2p (or 10%) on the collection value. But the base card is still 20p x 2 = 40p and I have actually gained 10%. I believe this is something FS need to fix although I do not know how they will.
Seeing your port dive £150 in a matter of hours will leave you doubting yourself so you have to be very confident with your figures.
Changes to the terms and conditions. The raffle is an example to a change that can have an effect on card prices. In this case, the raffle was holding the cards at a higher base price, as there were less on the market because people were putting them into the raffle. Removal of the raffle flooded the market and dropped prices significantly. Remember, it isn’t a 5p drop but a 25% drop. Painful! A change in the rewards could be devastating to a collection.
You have to be very adaptable. This means being around when key things happen and being prepared to change plans and percentages if needed. In the example of the raffle, I was able to deposit more and buy up cheaper to increase my profit if they replace it with something else.
Time- This is a very time heavy strategy! I bought 5000 cards in 18 days and I was online and buying, setting orders, researching for 12 hours a day in that time. I have written hundreds, if not thousands, of calculations to fine tune my profits. And that was the easy bit. The sell-off will take a lot longer and be a lot harder, I would say at least 5 months.
Each time another person joins the site and takes on this strategy, it hurts your profit margin. Each time you outbid each other, your hurt each other. By the time you read this, this strategy may not even work for that reason alone. It works because it isn’t common and it isn’t common because it is hard to do.
I will be moving towards selling off and getting a collection geared towards the many tournaments, and making those coupons my next +EV adventure. Small consistent rewards, I am acting as an unofficial market maker. It is hard but it can be worth it.
I would like to remind you that I would not suggest anyone use this strategy unless they have significant experience in trading and are willing to put in the hours. The reason for this article is to inform people as to why I do it and what I hope to get from it.
I look forward to answering any questions you may have and I thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope it helps you in some way.
I have followed Mr Wh1te’s journey from its inception and will continue to do so until it’s conclusion. Within the article Mr Wh1te eludes to his challenge (worth following @challenge_FIS on Twitter), I did not anticipate this strategical approach to Footstock. It is different, it is long winded… but the Maths and calculations behind it cannot be ignored. It’s a thorough approach and one I think, and hope, will succeed.
It is the unique nature of Footstock that gives every card value and no absolute loss of value, because retired or invalid cards become inactive and can be swapped for a low fee (meaning even if you don’t want to pay more fees, someone else will, so they will want to buy your inactive cards).
The removal of raffles will no doubt have made things harder in the short term for this strategy, but Footstock actively keep an eye on the market and have since adjusted the price and contents of its packs to keep the market trading side well balanced. Couple this with the fact that Footstock’s tournament rules categorise players and levels, there will always be demand for cheap players.
Note: Players are categorised into 5 levels Basic, Common, Rare, Epic, Legend… and tournaments are split into Pro, Amateur and Beginner; for beginner tournaments every entrant must enter a basic player and cannot enter anyone above common. This means the ‘bad’ cards aren’t so bad, because they aren’t competing against the best cards, they are competing at their own level.
I too have a keen eye on the rewards available and in a similar manner have worked out the cost of reaching them. I haven’t yet achieved the 5000, but it’s within sight.
Slightly differently to Mr White however, I wanted to target tournaments as early as possible – so I’ve much more of a balance in the value of cards in my collection.
Maybe one idea for those inspired by Mr White, but not willing to go the whole hog, is to pay a little more (£) and be selective in which cheap cards you buy (young for cap ap, first team/rotational basic options who have high worth in beginner tournaments). The rewards are still great and when completed, you have less work to sell them all off.
One last comment from me; the idea of profit vs time. It gets mentioned a lot and of course it is important. But the side of it that doesn’t get mentioned is that it’s only relevant if you would otherwise be monetising or maximising that time on something else if you weren’t busy trading on Footstock. It’s something that’s been levelled at me on occasion for certain strategies I employ, “yeah but how much time did you spend, whats your profit per hour?” What people don’t realise is I am also working simultaneously during work hours, or if on personal time it’s while watching TV or sitting in the garden having a beer! It’s never (or rarely) at the cost of a more enjoyable or lucrative option… Footstock is a hobby, gambling is a hobby, when the fun stops stop.
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