Parimutuel Wagering in Car Wars
by Jeff David George
HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, March 2000
Following the example of San Francisco's Cow Palace (see this issue's Newswatch), most autoduelling arenas today offer their spectators the opportunity to bet on their favorite duellists. The availability of parimutuel betting at arenas has attracted the autoduelling fan out of his living room and back into the grandstand, re-establishing duelling as the popular stadium sport it was in the mid '20s.
In practice, wagering on autodueling is
very similar to betting on horse races during the previous
century. Each arena publishes a daily dueling form, which
presents the contestants in each event, their vehicle, their
finish position in recent duelling events, and their chance of
winning the event -- their odds. Wagerers may place bets from the
opening of the day's schedule until "post time" --
sixty seconds prior to the starting gun in most arenas. After the
winner has been determined, wagerers may cash winning tickets for
a portion of the "pot" -- all the money wagered on
The Duelling Form
Upon arriving at the arena, a wagerer will pick up a copy of the day's Duelling Form, which presents all the pertinent information about each entrant in each "event," or duel. Many arenas make the next day's form available just after the next-to-last event of each day, giving the regular patron a few extra hours to study the form. In addition to information on the day's events, the form will also include features about autodueling, such as interviews, technology reports, regional AADA standings and so forth.
Each event is described on a separate page of the form. At the top of the page, the event itself is described -- division, victory conditions, prizes, and any special restrictions. Then the entrants are listed, in order of gate number. The listing on each entrant tells the vehicle's number, the name of the driver, gunner (if any), and their major sponsor, the entrant's performance in his last three duels, and his odds, as determined by the track's handicappers. A sample page appears below.
The sample Duelling Form page shows the third event on March 17, at the Double Drum Arena in Waco. It will be a Division 15 duel, the winner being the driver who racks up the most kills. The condition of his own vehicle at the end of the duel is unimportant; all that matters is the number of "death blows" he is able to deliver. The "purse," or prize, for the event is $12,500.
Fresno Gomez, driving a Crane Warhawk for the Sauza Bottling Company, and Arizona Joe Donaldson, driving a Kane Flame Warrior for Kane, are the favorites, both going off at three-to-two odds. Not favored to win, but still a solid competitor, is Fast Marty Brophy, driving a Republic Xenon for Republic Motors. Able Sean Ables, driving a Trinity Blastmaster for Eddy's Garage, is really out-classed at 7 to 1.
Looking more closely at Arizona Joe Donaldson, the local duellist with the best odds, we can tell that he is driving a Kane Flame Warrior for Kane Motors. Under Last Three Outings, we see that he competed on March 3. The second line under that date reads "4/2 + 1," which means that out of four entrants, Joe placed second, and finished with one kill to his credit. The last line reads, "2DBD15," indicating that the event was the second of the day here at the Double Drum, and was a Division 15 duel. (Every arena has a three-letter code for use in the Dueling Form. See p. 19.)
Let's assume that Fast Marty managed to pull off the win, taking out both Arizona Joe and Able Sean after Joe knocked out Fresno. Everyone who bet on Marty will be holding a winning ticket, which can be cashed in once the win has been confirmed -- usually a three-to-five-minute wait while judges determine that the duel proceeded legally. Each ticket will be worth $1 plus Marty's odds, for every $1 wagered. Thus, a $2 bet on Marty will pay $8 -- you get your original $2, plus winnings of $6! Isn't gambling fun?
The next time Marty duels, his performance today will be added to his "Last Three Outings" in the Dueling form, and his February 12 duel will disappear. His performance for today will appear as:
No doubt Marty will have better odds to
win next time!
To determine a PC duellist's odds in an arena event, his Prestige and his performance in his last three outings are compared to those of all the other entrants in the event. To find the odds for each contestant, follow these steps:
1. Determine each duellist's current Prestige. Record this number.
2. Find the total value of his last three outings -- his LTO total, if you will. To do this, divide his finish position in each of his last three events into the number of entrants in those events, then add his "kills" in the event. This can be done easily by treating the second line on each of his "Last Three Outings" listings as an algebraic equation (entrants/finish position + kills = LTO value). The LTO value of any event held in the same arena as today's event, or at the same division level as today's event, is doubled; if the event was in both the same arena and division as today's, its LTO value is tripled. Add the total LTO value for the duellist's last three events to his Prestige.
3. Add one die to the total from Step 2 to find the duellist's Odds Value, or OV. (If the duellist has Prestige 26-50, roll two dice; if his Prestige is 50+, roll three dice.) This step represents the random factor of handicapper opinion in determining odds.
4. Add the OV of all duellists entered in the event to find the total OV for the event.
5. Reduce total OV for the event by 10% -- the arena's cut -- and then divide each duellist's individual OV into this number, rounding down to the nearest whole number. (Exception: if the result is less than 5, round down to the nearest half. For example, 4.67 rounds down to 4.5, or 9/2, not 4).
6. Subtract one from the result of Step
5. The result will be the duellist's odds in this event.
As an example, let's find Arizona Joe Donaldson's odds for the third event at the Double Drum on March 17:
1. Arizona Joe's current Prestige is 37.
2. To find his LTO value, we work the "equations" given under Last Three Outings in the Duelling Form:
4/2 + 1 = 3
February 23 6/l + 3 = 9
February 16 6/3 + 1 = 3
Since Joe's February 16 duel took place in the Double Drum -- same as today's event -- the value of that event is doubled, to 6. His March 3 outing not only took place in the Drum, but also was a division 15 event, just like today's, so the value of that event is tripled, to 9. Thus, adding up Joe's last three outings, we get 9 + 9 + 6 = 24. Adding this number to his Prestige gives us 61.
3. Next we add the roll of a die -- two dice, actually, since Joe has Prestige 37 -- to reflect the whim of the handicappers. The dice come up 2 and 4, bringing Joe's final OV up to 67.
4. Adding up the total OV for all participants gives a total OV 201 for the event. (Fast Marty has a Prestige of 22, Fresno a 41, and Able Sean a 5, if you want to check the math.)
5. Subtracting the arena's 10% cut, the total OV drops to 181. Dividing 67 into 181 gives a result of just over 2.7, which rounds down to 2.5 or 5/2.
6. Subtracting one from the result of Step 5 -- 5/2 -- gives us Joe's odds: 3/2, or three to two. Thus, if Joe had won the event, everyone who bet on him would receive their wager back, plus another $3 for every $2 they bet.
Win, Place or Show
It is also possible to bet on a duellist to "place" -- finish second or better -- or to "show" -- finish third or better -- but the payoff is considerably smaller. For simplicity's sake, assume that a bet to place pays 2/3 of the amount the same bet to win would pay, while a bet to show pays half what a bet to win would pay. Thus, if you bet on a duellist with 6-to-l odds to place and he finished either fast or second, you would receive winnings at 4 to 1. If you had bet the same duellist to show, and he finished first, second or third, you would receive winnings at 3 to 1.
Most arenas offer wagers to place only
on events with five or more entrants, and bets to show only on
events with seven or more entrants.
In accordance with AADA parimutuel wagering regulations, it is illegal for a duellist, his relatives, sponsors, teammates, coaches, mechanics, vehicle designers or other business associates to wager against that duellist. This is due to the relative ease with which a duellist can "throw" an event, often taking out important competition in the process, leaving the path open for a long-odds duellist to win unfairly.
Also part of these rules is the
regulation that has become known as the "Team-Ticket
Rule." In any parimutuel event in which two duellists
representing the same team, sponsor, designer, mechanic or coach
compete, those two duellists constitute a single entry for the
purposes of wagering and prize division. When determining the
odds for a team ticket, simply total the prestige and LTO values
for all entries on the ticket, roll a number of dice appropriate
for the most Prestigious individual on the ticket, and divide
this result into the total OV for the event. The resulting odds
apply to the ticket as a whole; if any member of the ticket wins,
then wagers placed on the team pay, regardless of the placings of
the other members of the ticket.
Parimutuel wagering in Car Wars naturally offers the most to an extended campaign in which each character or team has only limited funds, since characters may supplement their earnings by bets on themselves or their friends and teammates. Corporations and sponsors may also wager on duels.
If the referee knows in advance what
character or characters each player will be running in an arena,
he can make up the daily Duelling Form in advance, and distribute
it among the players before the event begins. Characters have
until post time -- one minute before the event begins -- to place
any legal wagers they wish. If they wish to place illegal wagers,
they should consult with the campaign referee privately to
arrange the bets through suitably covert channels.
Every AADA-sanctioned arena
is assigned a three-letter code by the APWC. Although this code
is intended for use in Duelling Forms, it is often used as an
abbreviation for the arena in various AADA documents. Some of the
better known codes:
|AIR||The Airship||Jefferson City, MO|
|ALC||Aladdin's Castle||Las Vegas, NV|
|ALL||Allentown Autoduel Arena||Allentown, PA|
|ARC||Arches Autoduel Park||Moab, DS|
|ARL||Airlie Arena||Wilmington, NC|
|ARM||Armadillo Autodueling Arena||Austin, TX|
|BER||Berkeley Auto Coliseum||Berkeley, CA|
|BUF||Buffalo Municipal Coliseum||Buffalo, NY|
|CAN||Candlestick Park||San Francisco, CA|
|COW||Cow Palace||San Francisco, CA|
|DBD||Double Drum||Waco, TX|
|DMB||Dumbarton Slalom||Oakland, CA|
|HMR||Hammer Downs||Detroit, MI|
|JOU||Baltimore Joustduel Arena||Baltimore, MD|
|MUS||Muskogee Fairgrounds||Muskogee, OK|
|NBO||New Boston Autoduel Arena||Boston, MA|
|OMI||Omni Coliseum||Atlanta, GA|
|ORI||Oriole Beach Dueling Center||Pensacola, FL|
|OZK||Ozark Off-Road Autoduel Arena||Fayetteville, AR|
|POR||Portland Car Arena||Portland, MA|
|RBB||Rainbow Bay Blast Furnace||Biloxi, MS|
|RET||Retama Duel Center||San Antonio, TX|
|VER||Verdun Downs||Helena, MT|