Saturday, October 28, 2023

Normal Service Has Been Resumed As Soon As Possible

This week's games and odds are visible once again. The underlying problem was that I started adding college basketball odds to the database, and having two teams with the same name (Georgia Bulldogs in college football and Georgia Bulldogs in college basketball) broke an underlying function.

While I'm on the topic of dysfunction, I should apologize for the bad quality of the season so far. This website wasn't anywhere close to being ready for football season, like I thought it was. Even just rebuilding the functionality of the old proved to be more difficult than expected, because of all the automation and new features. (Like support for multiple sports, even though I'm not offering anything other than football yet.)

I haven't been compiling/posting weekly results, because every weekend has been an attempt to get code work done. I've been afraid to go through the backlog of emailed picks, though I do have them all saved. There won't be any permanent record kept for the 2023 PYU season, and the few of you who participated in the HA season. I owe you guys better than that. Let me make it up to you.

Monday, September 11, 2023

The "In Play" Limit

I'm still processing the results for last weekend. I'm sorry it's late, but I had some complicated entries to process. One of which speaks to the new "In Play" rule, and is a good example of how it can be used.

In lieu of the old "250 or 25% of your total per week" limit, the new limit is that you can have 250 points or 25% of your winnings In Play at any given time. In Play means only that a wajer has been placed, and not resolved yet. You can actually play a lot more than 250 in a weekend, based on the timing of the games. One player made this play:

  • 75 units on three 11 AM games
  • 25 units on one PM game
  • 25 units on one 2 PM game
  • 115 units on four 2:30 PM games
This brings him to 240, which is close the max, but then:
  • The 11 AM games end, freeing 75 units, making his In Play 165.

Once a wajer is resolved, those units are no longer In Play and may be wajered again. For a single game, the wajer is resolved when it ends; for parlays, it is resolved when one play within the parlay loses, or all games in the parlay are complete. Which happens here:

  • 25 units on one 3 PM game, making his In Play 190.
  • The 1:00 game ends, freeing 25 units and making his In Play 165.
  • 50 units on two 5 PM games, making his In Play 215.
  • The 2:00 game ends, freeing 25 units and making his In Play 190.
  • The 2:30 games end, freeing 115 units and making his In Play 75.
  • 100 units on four 6:00 or 6:30 games, making his In Play 175.
  • The 3 PM game ends, making his In Play 150.
  • Two more wajers for 50 in later games, making his In Play 200 at the end of the night.
So he wajered a total of 540 in a day, without ever being over 250 at any given time.

When the website is finished (which it almost is, I swear), all of this will happen automatically. Games, and plays made on them, will be resolved every 15 minutes or so. Your In Play total will be kept current, and you'll be told what it is each time you make a play.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Dun Dun da Dunnnn!

Big news: Wajerleague's NFL-based game, which I have dubbed Heavy Action, is now live. It's called that because of this:


Did you even know that had a name? Now you do.

Like PYU (college football), you'll have to email your HA (pro football) picks for the time being. In keeping with the development ethos if "it doesn't just need to work, it needs to work right". 

The promised pro football Futures page isn't available yet, but good news: unlike past PYU seasons that had futures, pro football futures bets can be made all season! Or at least as long as any real-life sports books offer them. WJL offerings are based on real-life ones.

On a related note, I made the splash text a joke about the website still being in Beta. The good news is that once everything's finished and perfect, it'll be easy to add new contests. NBA, NHL, and college basketball are all planned, as well as daily and other non-sport-specific contests. Stay tuned. And tell your friends. The more the merrier.

Monday, September 4, 2023

PYU Week 1 Results

Hello players! As promised, here is the old-style weekly results blog post. Remember the season is not broken into weeks anymore, so there's no need to wait for the Clemson-Duke game to play out.

The standings are at the main page, and there's a separate blog post explaining those in detail, so I won't repeat that here.

The biggest winner in Week 1 was eDogg, who had 3 parlay hits:

  • 50 units on Stanford -3, Kansas -20.5 (at 2.058), won 196.450
  • 25 units on Old Dominion/Virginia Tech over 48, Tulane -6.5 (at 2.058), won 98.225
  • 15 units on UL Monroe +9, Houston -2, won 54.660
Before we go any further, I should explain how the parlay payouts work now. Previously, it was a flat 2.6 -to-1 for a two-way win and 6-to-1 for a three-way. Now, you can include money lines in parlays, and it's possible for point spread and over-under bets to pay other than 1.909 (-110). How is the payout determined?

In the new "decimal odds" or "European odds" system, you multiply the payouts for the two (or three) winnings bets to get the for the total parlay. Let's look at the UL Monroe/Houston parlay. Both pay 1.909, so the payoff is 1.909 x 1.909 which round to 3.644 (we go to three decimal places.) 15 x 3.644 is exactly 54.66. Bear in mind this includes the return of the original bet, where the old accounting didn't. So it now pays 2.644 to 1 instead of 2.6 to 1.

The other two parlay wins are a little different because one of the games had a higher payout. The Kansas and Tulane games paid better than usual, 2.058. 2.058 x 1.909 = 3.929, making the a parlay win a little more favorable. Money lines would be accounted for in the same way.

Other big wins were by BowlingNinjas, who nailed the Colorado outright win over TCU for 101.06 (20 x 5.053) and dsidwell, who leaned on Miami to cover against... er, Miami.

I won't be previewing the Week 2 games here, because the Play page will be constantly updated. It usually takes a day or two for odds to start trickling in, but the big games - and important games well into the season - have lines already, and you can play them whenever you want. You can already see next week's big games, because those tend to attract lines early.

Under the contest's new rules, there's no minimum requirements, so don't worry if you didn't play Week 1. You can jump in any time until October 15. Contests will close a little more than halfway through the regular season.

Other news items:
  • You'll have to keep emailing picks for now, but I'm working on a way to make this a lot easier, until the full online submission is working. Trust me, it'll be worth it. Stand by for updates.
  • I apologize that the website isn't as ready as it usually is. But there are reasons for this. The new website was a complete rebuild from scratch, with a lot of new features added. And, my ambitions have given me a mindset of "make it right", not just "make it work." The old was held together with a lot of duct tape; I'm trying to actually fix problems now. And I find I often have to backtrack, to make an underlying function work better before I can do the greater thing I want.
  • I have upgraded the site's aesthetics. You can see I'm going for kind of a Nintendo/retro arcade feel, with more modern looks where it makes sense. I'm pleased with it. I think it's showing a personality.
  • You might have noticed it's all a little... cartoony. That's by design. I wanted to reframe the whole concept of online play-money sports gambling in a more lighthearted way, rather than duplicating it in form and function. I'm trying to keep the realism, but make the overall tone more playful.
  • If you want to fine-tune your username, please let me know. Usernames can't have numbers for reasons I'll explain later, so if your name had a number in it I truncated it. I can also do a password reset. There will also be online pages for all of this, and more.
  • Standings won't be final or count for anything until the end of the season, so don't be too discouraged if you have a bad rank at the moment, or too enthused if you have a good one.
  • In moving to the new platform, I also dropped the line shopping system. Formerly, PYU offered the best -110 lines available. Now we collect data from over 25 different real-life sports books, and calculate our own consensus line from that. We also calculate a consensus payout, so some games will have better or worse payouts. These are indicated on the Play screen, next to the point spread/total, in a different font.
  • I know there's a lot of minor layout problems right now, but that's the lowest priority on my bug list.
  • You can download the raw data! Go to and you can see a JSON file of all the current offers, ready for easy importing into any tool. This is updated as the offers are. So if you're a spreadsheet guy, knock yourself out. There will also be JSON reports of other stuff you might want to know, likew 
  • The picks page (now called "Play") has a single "last updated" message to tell you when the last update occurred. This applies to the entire page; there's no reason to maintain an update time for each individual bet like there used to be.
  • I will no longer be a player in the contest. Since I'm sort of "going public" now, it could come off as a little untoward. Besides, I always wanted to be a game show host.
  • And hey, anyone who wants to play can! I'm no longer making it difficult for non-USF fans, so invite your friends if you want to. Have them use the "contact" link to send me an email and I'll set them up.
  • The login still doesn't do anything yet, but hold on to it, because it will soon.
Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, errors you spotted, please let me know! I appreciate everyone's enthusiasm and patience so far. I'll keep working to give you the best experience I can. 

First-Ever Standings Posted!

The first-ever standings in the new scoring system have been posted. 

The WINNINGS column is your score, but it is rounded down to the nearest 1/8. Your dashboard will have your exact total, but the public-facing score is rounded. This is so you won't know exactly how far ahead or behind you are. And, so you don't spend your time calculating wajers to three decimal places.

BANKROLL shows how much of your bankroll you still have left, in the new bankroll/winnings system. Once you spend your bankroll, you may make additional plays out of your winnings if you wish, but losses will actually lower your score. In other words, the initial 1000 units is free to play and there's no benefit to hoarding it.

IN PLAY shows how many units you have tied up in future plays, though no one has any at the moment. Wajers on future games aren't shown until the game starts, but this field will show if you have any future wajers entered. 

This is how the standings will work for each contest, and for Wajerleague as a whole:

Tier Earned By Symbol Hall of Fame Points
W First Place 🏆 100
S Top 3% 30-60
A Top 10% 🏅 10-20
B Top third 📃 3-5
C Any other finish 😐 1-2
D Bottom sixth 🥄 minus-3 to minus-5
F Last Place 🦨 minus-20

I previously posted a byzantine list of different awards with different levels for each. It occurred to me that the scheme aligned nicely with the Tier List, so I switched to that, only adding an extra class for being in first place overall.

There is no A tier right now, because there aren't enough entrants yet to have anyone in the top 10% beyond the #1 player. You only get the best tier you qualify for.

Remember, Protect Your Unit is now one of many competitions in the new Wajerleague fake sports gambling universe. There will be a number of Hall of Fame Points awarded for your overall performance in the contest, and those points will count towards the overall grand total standings. This  points award will be adjusted by how important each contest is, how many people entered, and by your score in the contest. I'll explain the details when we're a little further along.

There are also three bots, recognizable by the underscores in their names. They make random selections on any game that is also played by a human player. Their totals look incomplete, which would be bug #56,128 at the moment. I'll fix it.

Remember, only the standing at the end of the season counts. So being in last place (or first place) right now doesn't mean much. I just thought it was a good idea to begin showing the new standings format.

The next thing I need to get working is the report of wajers people made. This will be public information once the game has started. The report will be grouped by game, so when a game goes live you'll be able to see who benefits or loses from each result. With the automatic score updates, another forthcoming improvement, you'll be able to follow the scoreboard live.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Arcade Fire

You will soon notice some style changes on the website. I'm going for a retro video game aesthetic. The dark, bold color choices you've seen so far were already a part of that. They're inspired by various "retro 8bit gaming" color palettes you can find floating around the internet. I'm aiming more specifically for early 1980s arcade machines. Think Galaga

This is part of my efforts to give Wajerleague a different style than real-money sports gambling websites have. When I first built Protect Your Unit, the aim was to be as realistic as possible, which I think it did very well. But with this new project, I want to keep the realistic gameplay, but make the graphics more game-like.

Check this out:

This is a brand new product from Arcade1Up, a company that makes retro arcade cabinets for the home.  I have one, and it's great. This is also a brand new product line for them; it's a home slot machine.

If you've been in a casino in the last 20 years, you've seen a real Wheel Of Fortune slot machine. They're in any place that has slot machines at all, just like Addams Family is in any place that had pinball machines at all.

I bring it up because this "Casinocade" device offers for slot machines what does for sports gambling: the opportunity to play a realistic casino game, against a worldwide online leader board, with no real money involved. Except that Wajerleague doesn't take up in space in your home and cost $600.

In all the time I've spent building Wajerleague this year, there's one question I've asked myself more than any other: "Is this a stupid idea?" was a website I built to run a small sports gambling contest I could have run with Google Sheets. I started this project because I thought there was a larger audience for what that silly little website became to a lot of people. The fact that a company created and built this product, tells me I'm not the only one who believes in this idea.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Battle Bots and Meaningful Names

One new change will be the introduction of bots - automated players that make random choices, win and lose points, and occupy a place in the standings.

There are currently three bots: Marvin, Hal, and Art U. No bonus points for guessing what inspired each of their names. Marvin always plays the money line; Hal always plays the point spread; and Art U always plays over/under. They bet 1 unit on each game that is available. There will be more bots in the future; I've got an idea for a very annoying one, but I don't want to unleash it on the world yet.

Speaking of names, they all have an underscore at the start and end, like _Marvin_. This is to indicate that they are bots. And it's why doesn't allow underscores in usernames; they signify bots. 

The site also doesn't allow numbers in usernames, for three reasons:

1. Names with numbers in them are reserved for a future purpose, which I won't reveal yet.

2. L33t5p33k sucks.

3. It's bad for the narrative. Names should be, well, names - things a real person would call his or herself. In the pre-Wajerleague days, I used to enjoy writing little summaries of the action. It's fun to write "Larry  moved into first place" or "TigersNut made an unfortunate play on Baylor." They're fun to write and read. But I cringed every time I had to write something like "5k1pd00d won 178.4 units." Try processing that in your head. It's confusing. Numbers should represent values, and nothing else.

Because I'm big on narrative. A play-money sports betting web game isn't a novel concept. What is novel - and what surprised me about running this contest in the Daily Stampede days - is the little community that formed. PYU has long had little rivalries, running gags, and other very human experiences - none of which were directed by me. 

If anything, players didn't do what we wanted them to. The idea of "spite bets" never really caught on, even though it was an explicit rule. And, we even made up a convention for spite bets. It was to wager 1.01 units, which looked a bit like "LOL". This had a little success, and also helped in that it expressed its meaning. It was impossible to tell if a small bet meant you were taking a flyer on a longshot, or if you thought the favorite was so bad they might actually lose outright. Or both.

Normal Service Has Been Resumed As Soon As Possible

This week's games and odds are visible once again. The underlying problem was that I started adding college basketball odds to the datab...