June 15, 2013

Blink for fun and profit

There are many blog entries out there about how to make money as a trader or a industrialist.  I haven't seen one on the main means by which I've been able to fund PVP: SOMER Blink.  So what is it about a online Eve lottery that could result in profit?

The Basics
SOMER Blink is a lottery using ISK.  Like any lottery, the prize is (generally) worth more than the sum of all of the tickets that will be bought to win that prize.  In addition to the mainline lottery there are sideshows such as "promo blinks", "bonks" and "mini-bonks" and gifts at celebrations that happen every 50T in paid out prizes.  Bonks are entered using deposited ISK.  Promos and mini-bonks are entered using tokens that are given out at a rate of 1 per 1M ISK deposited.

We're going to want to consider the ratio of prize's value (easily determined on the market) to the sum of the cost of all of the tickets.  We can look at what payout we expect to get after we've paid in money to enter in the lottery.  If the EV is positive, we can make money.  If the EV is negative (the usual case), the house makes money.

Market Shifts and Market Arbitrage
SOMER changes the price of their tickets, but the market moves even faster.  This means that the EV may briefly go positive.  For instance, as of this writing Imperial Navy Energized Nano Membranes have a 10M ticket, have 8 tickets in a lottery, but have a low sell order of 99,998,660 in Dodixie - and you can generally have your prizes shipped to major systems in highsec all over New Eden.  In Jita these faction modules are only going for 64M.

Promo Blinks
Promo Blinks happen randomly offering up a prize for 1 token, with 250-350 slots available - of which you only can buy one.  These can be very rich prize.  My play in RVB for a while was funded off of the win of a Bhaalgorn, and before that an Archon.

You only can play a promo if you've played a normal blink in the previous 48 hours.  It doesn't matter what size, but if you set up a spreadsheet from the previous step (determining EV) you'll see that the cheap tickets (faction frigates and interceptors) only will return 0.50 to 0.75 ISK for every one that you play.  You can look at this as the price of playing promos for 48 hours (assuming you don't see any that are positive at the moment).  Right now if you buy an Enyo that price is 1.9M.

Let's say all you cared about was the promos (and thus tokens) so a token is straight up worth the 1M you deposit to get it.  You see a Kronos on promo with 350 slots.  The Kronos is going for about 800M.  That means your 1M ticket will bring you back 2.28M - given enough play.  As with any gambling, it's all about the long run average.

Note that promos often come in sets of four, so if you see one stick around with that refresh button.

And it's fun... and you don't have to logged into Eve
I don't have a lot of Eve playing time, which is what makes ISK-earning vocations painful for me.  But I do have lots of time I can have a browser window open during the day.  You only can deposit from the Eve client, by giving money to the SOMER.Blink corporation.

Have I been lucky with my wins?  According to SOMER's website I've deposited 458M (most of which was from winnings I sold) and I've won 2526M in prizes.  That could just be a quirk of the random number generator.  Or it may be that I've (mostly) avoided the impulsive play that costs the most money.

I haven't tried to analyze the Bonks and Mini-bonks too much, particularly because you don't know how many people will buy into them.  I play them for fun pretty consistently though.

If you get sucked into the fun of playing the games, you'll be paying money to the hardworking folks and SOMER for that entertainment.  In my opinion, you shouldn't complain about it either (see also the regular "SOMER is a SCAM!" threads on the forums).  It's just math, people.


  1. I play blink and am about 3 billion up over what I have deposited.

    I'm almost at 500 promos and have not yet won one.

    1. Wow, that's rough luck. I've probably won a half-dozen I can think of now, including some ships that I can't fly now but I decided not to sell since they hopefully aren't too far away. Of course, if I bottom out on money again they'll be right on the market.