[ Rouleur Derby ]

Rouleur Derby Report No. 1

Friday, February 26, 2010

In this week's Rouleur Derby Report:

1. Welcome!

2. This weekend's action

3. About those payouts

4. Next week



Thanks, all, for making this a successful test-run of Rouleur Derby. It's been fascinating to watch the bets roll in, and some of you cleverly found some hidden kinks in the system.

I expect to send out a Rouleur Derby Report once a week, probably on Fridays to preview the weekend's action.

Speaking of which ...


I don't know if I've ever been this excited for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (nee Volk). It's looking like a rainy weekend in Flanders. Who will prove themselves to be the finest mudder?

There are some surprising deals still available at this moment.

For OHN, past winner Nick Nuyens is showing 75:1 and chronic runnner-up Leif Hoste shows 55:1. Only nine non-Belgians have ever won this race, so the 1.5:1 payout for that proposition seems high. Maybe that's because three of those winners have come in the past nine years?

For Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Philippe Gilbert and Heinrich Haussler are still rated as slight underdogs. That may change. (Note that Gilbert is strangely missing from CyclingNews' K-B-K start list. If he is DNS, he will be scratched, and bets on him will be refunded and all payouts adjusted accordingly.)

K-B-K has seen less activity than OHN, but people may be waiting to see how things shake out Saturday. I'll try to verify Saturday's results quickly so that players can plow their winnings into Sunday's action.

You may notice that there are many more winners available for OHN than for K-B-K. I expect there will be a sweet spot for how many contenders to list; there may be some experimentation to find that sweet spot. Is it more fun to choose from 20 contenders, some of whom have really long odds? (Marcus Burghardt at 176:1!?) Or is it better to choose from just five or six -- plus "Other" -- with smaller payouts? You will have to let me know.


Payouts are in constant flux based on where players are wagering their points.

There has been some confusion about which payout number matter. Answer: Winners earn the FINAL payout, not the payout shown when they placed their wager. This keeps it a zero-sum game: Winners collectively win as many points as have been collectively lost. That's important, because it makes it a contest of players vs. players, not players vs. The House. (Truth be told, The House knows less about pro cycling than it lets on, so that contest would not be very competitive.)

Early in each game, payouts may shift wildly. I've added a feature to preview the new payouts, so you're not totally surprised by any changes. I also recommend keeping your bets small the farther from race day you are. Indeed, there is some advantage in waiting until the final hours or days before a race. This will give you the most stable payouts and best information.

(If you've ever been to the horse track, you've noticed the stampedes of people up the aisles in the final minutes before each race.)

Payouts will also become more stable as we get more players. With only a few hundred points in play, each bet can have great consequence on payouts. But as the game grows, the pools will get larger and the payouts more stable and more accurate -- which is why you should tell all your friends about how much fun Rouleur Derby is.

Some have suggested that Rouleur Derby pay the payout listed at bet-time, not race-time. I've meditated on this and concluded that this would have negative ramifications on the game and the point economy. The only way to do it would be to set the game up as a futures exchange, with players trading their fantasy futures with other players (www.intrade.com is an example of this). For now I'm sticking with the parimutuel, which I feel will has the most potential for fun and interesting game theory.


Several exciting things will happen next week:

A. We will have a winner from the weekend's races, whom we will admire and celebrate.

B. Accounts will be reset, with everyone returning to 100 points. So far the system is holding up, so I don't see a need for another test run. Thus, starting Monday, every point counts! We will crown a champion after the World Championships in September.

C. I'll roll out propositions for Paris-Nice. Since this is a stage race, there is even greater possibility to fun, and it should preview the fun to be had during the grand tours. Expect an array of straight-up propositions, including GC winner, but also some fun side bets, such as head-to-head match-ups.

D. Rouleur Derby will be open to the general public and other riff-raff. Feel free to tell all your friends, teammate and Twitter followers. The more players we get, the more realistic the game play and the more fun it will be for everyone.

Thanks again, and good luck this weekend.