Inside The ZFC 

“The ZFC Story” by Michael Vincent Zappia

Well here it goes! I am going to stay up and type this until I am finished with the whole thing. No more procrastinating! No more, I’ll do it tomorrow. You want a plan, I’ll give you a freaking plan! This plan won’t be complete though. It certainly won’t be perfect or written very well. I failed English 101 twice in college before the professor just passed me through. The grammar will stink and I’m not correcting it so deal with it! It will change and get better and that I am sure of. But just as Disney never saw Disney World as we know it today he sure saw it in his mind's eye! So please allow me to paint a picture for you and share what’s in my mind's eye! It won’t be complete because I have brought on business partners that make everything I say and do better. Ones, who take my ideas, throw in their own and make this thing the masterpiece it has become and will become. I’m open to the fact that the person who makes this what it is meant to be isn’t even part of the team yet but he or she will be coming to the party! However the group we have is deadly. Some of the finest people I have ever associated with at this point in my life?.

First of ALL the ZFC is HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE! The possibilities are endless and if you haven’t played it or you haven’t understood it then get out of the way because it’s gonna smack you in the face sooner or later! If you're one of us, a ZFCer for life you get it…If you think it’s just a sports pick ‘em contest you missed the boat and that’s OK.

The game is genius! It’s Absolute genius. Spend some time talking to Pam Bokelmann, a very close friend of mine who not only enjoys the game but completely understands why I feel the way I do! Why? Because she is the only person that has really seen the game from the same crazy glasses I look at it from! Pam is behind the numbers. Pam is hooked on the complexity and the strategy of the game! Pam scores everyone’s picks while we have been playing it on Facebook. In 2009 and half of 2010 I literally put hundreds upon hundreds of hours into watching the thousands of different scenerios play out right in front of my face. I am still mesmerized by how simple yet absolutely not simple this game is. I can’t wait to meet the person that can figure out what the chances of submitting the same exact picks as another player would be! It changes from week to week depending on a few moving indicators but I know the number would probably shock us all!

What am I referring to? I’m referring to the ZFC formula. A simple formula that anyone could have created but they didn’t! A unitized formula that makes perfect sense and in my opinion is perfect! Perfect, perfect, perfect!!! It’s a formula that I will take the time right now to explain it to you and how it was derived. A formula that is literally days away from a registered patent pending stopping anyone else from copying it!

It would be out of chronological order if I decided to share the formula with you without setting the stage for you! So basically here is the story! A magical story that I now know God had His hands in back in August 2009!

A Story of Two Competitive Brothers and an idea

My brother David and I were sitting in my living room in Las Vegas, Nevada! It was late August I believe, maybe early September, I’m not quite sure of the exact date but he and I were getting ready to engage in yet another NFL football season. The Zappia family loves football. We are sad, almost depressed, when the Super Bowl is over and elated when the season grows closer! I am the only person in my family that tasted the NFL. I was invited to an NFL camp in the year 2000 but was released shortly afterwards. I can honestly tell you I wanted to be there for one main reason. I so wanted my family to experience the pride and joy of having a loved one and family member playing on Sundays! I failed and for years I have been dreaming of finding a way back in. I think this is it!

My brother and I were actually speaking about gambling in general and the problems associated with it. How gambling is a disease and it literally destroys families and lives. We come from a family of gamblers. Actually, we have a great grandfather that was shot and killed in a poker game which I just discovered this past year! Crazy I tell you! Actually I don’t even think my brother knows that story! He will ask me now I’m sure! We had a father that was so powerful in business and at a young age we watched him destroy his wealth with a couple of vices the devil tempted him with and gambling was one of them that took him down the wrong path! So needless to say it somewhat is in our genes.

My brother struggles slightly with gambling and although I don’t feel it has destroyed his life, I don’t believe he would agree that it helps any area of his life. I decided to share a few cents with my brother. He was living with me and I wanted to see him get ahead while he was staying with me! He didn’t have to spend a ton of money to stay with me. I wanted to help him get ahead a bit and get back into a house of his own! I didn’t want him to gamble this coming season and I wanted to try and figure out a way for him to still enjoy the games every week minus the cost of doing business with the local casinos here in Vegas!

So I decided to share my philosophy on sports wagering and the mistakes I feel most gamblers make whether he wanted to listen to me or not. First of all let’s just start out by being completely honest with each other. Very few gamblers are successful. I have known of and heard stories of truly successful professional gamblers but I’d like to see it to believe it! I am a skeptic and here’s why. Casinos don’t look the way they do because the masses are pulling money out of the joint!

A Documentation System

The first thought, topic and philosophy I shared with David was journaling his wagering and documenting the hours put into the hobby! I use the word hobby because it’s the perfect word. Hobbies cost money, they don’t make you money! I mean if I was to get serious about sports wagering I would carry a log or journal with me and I would track everything. This way at the end of the year I would know if I was profitable or not. If I did manage to win some money I then would be able to see how much money I earned an hour and from there I would ask myself if this activity was worth another 1000 hours the next season. Ya know? Most gamblers I would bet do not do this. Ha, “I would bet!” That was funny. As a matter of fact I would guess that 99% or higher just go game to game with no plan, strategy or documentation system in place and this is a recipe for disaster in my opinion.

Why would you want to ruin such a great thing?

I said “David, I am not into sports gambling as you know. I think it ruins the experience and the joy of watching the games. I mean think about it. One of my biggest pet peeves is listening to an ignorant gambler scream at the TV because he is asking the team he has money on to kick a 52 yard field goal with 30 seconds left in the game when his team is up three touchdowns just because he needs them to cover the points or the over! It’s ridiculous!"

I actually don’t even have a favorite team anymore. We were born and raised in Buffalo, New York. This should explain it all! Seriously I love the game so much and everything the game has to offer that literally being a Bills fan stressed me out to the point of depression. I remember weeks when the Bills lost, there went the rest of my Sunday. I know, I know, I’m a baby. I hear ya, but after four straight Super Bowl losses, no offense Jim Kelly, you are one of my favorite players of all time, I just couldn’t do it anymore! I couldn’t handle anything ruining my experience of enjoying the game and I’d rather not be so tied to a result of any game that I scream for foolish decisions to be made on the field or the possibility of walking around for minutes, hours, days or weeks with a sick stomach! This is why I don’t gamble on football games and I don’t have any favorite team. I simply LOVE the Game! I love it, love it, love it!

A Plan

I love the following saying and it happens to be one of my favorites. “You can’t hit a target you can’t see.” Goal setting is huge for me and quite frankly the only time I ever hit a goal is when I set one! LOL! Exactly! I asked David what is your goal? Basically how much money do you want to earn or make this year? It would be unwise to simply just bet, bet, bet and have no clue as to what number you’d like to reach! This is one of the many pitfalls when it comes to gambling in my opinion. The guy who sits down at a blackjack table ends up getting up 20 betting units and staying until he gave it all back! Have you met anyone like this before! Well most sports gamblers do the same thing. They have no definite desired goal and because of this I don’t believe they have a fighting chance! Personally even with goals I don’t think there is a fighting chance but if you document and log your play and you constantly miss the goals you reach for yourself I think it would be that much easier to walk away from this ridiculous hobby or do one of two things. Step back and realize that sports wagering isn’t exactly serving you and completely quit or set a realistic budget for this hobby so that when you lose you were willing to spend that on the hobby anyway. Having an amount of money that you can justify in your mind is OK if you lose, will do one of two things. It will not stress you out and it will help you enjoy the game for the game. The way I think we all should enjoy it!

A Strategy

The last thing we discussed that day was a strategy! I told David I think the biggest mistakes that most sports gamblers make after the actual decision to gamble is that they don’t properly weigh their picks and they play too many games. What do I mean you ask? Think about it most gamblers play for the sake of playing. They have to have action at all times. They are addicted right and the addiction destroys their chances before they even have a chance.

Anyone who studies the game of blackjack knows that in certain situations you can actually have the odds in your favor. It’s called card counting. Basically there is a sophisticated and a basic way of doing this! Although casinos have since figured out a way to minimize this ability years ago by adding decks of cards to a shoe and only playing through one half of the deck before a reshuffle, giving the educated player less of a chance to get an accurate count.

Basically, if there is a game on tonight, I’m betting it. That’s most gamblers attitudes. Even if the game they are picking, they have no opinion on, they will suddenly arrive at one and most likely wager the same amount of money that they would lay on a game they strongly believed in the outcome of. Instead of carefully choosing the right games to play, avoiding those that they don’t feel strongly about, at creating a unit value based on the strength of their belief system they just play them all and even out their money across the board. The bottom line, is if you know or believe you have the advantage increase your units and if you don’t have a clue stay the heck away or minimize your units.

So with all of these things being said and my brother in full agreement with me we decided to create a way to make the season innocent and fun for both of us! We decided to create a game based on this conversation.

I had a goal. My goal was to hopefully do two things. Distract my brother from gambling and document an innocent non gambling game so that when we studied our results at the end of the year we would prove my theory that if we put money on the games even with a goal, plan and a documentation system we would have realized gambling simply isn’t profitable or worth the time that goes into it.

OK I lied! My brother and I are pretty competitive. You know how it is between brothers. I wanted to beat my brother in some innocent game where neither of us would get hurt financially or stressed out over the outcome! I absolutely wanted bragging rights.

The Formula

With all of this being said, I went out into the garage and grabbed an easel and a huge white pad and wrote Michael and David at the top on the right side. I drew out the NFL week 1 2009 schedule on the far left side of the paper and I added all of the point spreads.

Here is basically what we agreed upon. No money bragging rights only and it works like the this:

I’d like you to meet the all important “T”

The first thing we had to do was choose a Top pick. We ended up calling this our Top or T for short and quickly did we start to create a language unique to the ZFC. Oooops! We're not there yet. I’ll get back to ZFC. We decide that the Top pick had to be worth more than any other pick. We chose a unit value of 5. So if we put a T next to a team on the schedule and we were only allowed to choose one T, then this game would cost us 5 points plus or minus. For example we said if one of us chose Buf, the Buffalo Bills, as our Top pick, (which by the way isn’t a good idea), and Buf won then he would score +5. However if we chose Buf as our T and Buf lost then you would score -5. Simple right? Cool let’s move on!

“L” stands for Lock

You’ve heard the expression, “this game is a lock,” haven’t you? The second thing we had to do was choose 4 locks. What’s a lock? A lock is a game you feel strongly about. Not as strongly as your Top pick but let’s just say the next 4 games on the schedule that you feel good about their chances of winning. (A quick note: We agreed that we would pick the games straight up, which means, we wouldn’t be using point spreads.) We created a lesser unit value for the Locks. Our locks or L’s were worth 2 points a piece, +2 or -2.

I forced him to choose a Dog

Now my brother is known as the guy who plays it safe and quite frankly I wouldn’t enjoy just watching him pick the favorites from week to week without taking any chances or risks. So I came up with the idea that every week we both were forced to pick a couple of underdogs.

An underdog is a term that means a team that is most likely to lose a contest. In Las Vegas and everywhere else in the sporting world an expert or odds maker will create a number that is referred to as a spread. The spread is basically the number that the odds makers believe a team will lose by. So, for example, let’s say that in the game between Detroit and Chicago, they believe Detroit will lose by 7 points. The 7 points would be invisibly added to Detroit’s score before the game and they essentially would start out 7 – 0. So if you wanted to bet on Chicago to win the game, Chicago would have to win by more than 7 points in order for you to win your bet! I hope that makes sense.

Therefore I forced both of us to pick an Underdog or a U. Here was the kicker. If we chose the U and the U lost the game, we would be penalized 2 points or -2. However here is one of the most interesting and strategic parts of this game. If you chose an underdog and that underdog actually defeated the odds and won that game then you would gain the points associated with that underdog. For instance, let’s say in the same example about, Detroit is predicted to lose by 7, so they are +7. You pick Detroit as your Underdog and they win, then you will earn 7 points or +7. Also one other thing to understand is the underdog must be at least a 3 point underdog for you to choose them. So +3 or higher is an acceptable underdog choice in our game.

I have two Dogs Joee and Luigi

I have 2 dogs Josephine and Luigi therefore the ZFC must have two! I still was afraid one underdog wouldn’t be enough. So we added a second demand that we must every week select a second team that was not favored to win. We called this pick a Stretch. You have probably heard this before in sports, “that team is a stretch to win”.

The Stretch or S was a slightly different pick and had a different weight to it. The Stretch had to be a team that was an Underdog as well, but your stretch pick only needed to be +1 or higher. The scoring for the S is simple. If you pick your stretch and they win, you will earn 2 points or +2. However if they lose you would only lose 1 point or -1. The reason being, we decided that we didn’t feel like we should be punished as much for choosing a second underdog. So if we lost we’d keep the cost to a minimum.

Pick your nose with a rubber hose

The remaining games on the schedule we simply referred to as Picks or P’s. The picks were like I said in our conversation above. The games you weren’t too sure of and if you were going to bet on them you’d do one of two things. One, stay away completely! Two, place a minimum wager on them! So we decided to make the remaining picks worth only 1 point each or +1 -1.

David and I went back and forth for a few hours that day. We wanted to make sure that we chose the right formula for this game to be competitive and fun and we wanted to be absolutely sure that the unit values we assigned to the games gave the game a correct balance. Well I will tell you this after almost 2 plus years of playing the game. We believe we nailed it. We believe that the unit values and the weight to these picks in correlation to the other picks is the best we could have made it.

We believe whole heartedly that we have created a phenomenon in gaming. Yeah I get it! We are crazy. Well then so are another 70 people that have been submitting their picks week in and week out. We haven’t intentionally marketed this yet. We are literally a week or two from launching the official website which we believe will rock the world! It will take time for this game to catch fire I’m sure but with the people we have behind this game and the talent that is at our disposal the sky is the limit! Everyone we’ve introduced to this game thus far has loved it. I hope you will too!!


Michael Vincent Zappia

Getting Ready To Launch!!

As we move closer to our Football Launch the excitement is building! In just a couple weeks you will be able to play the ZFC for FREE at Just remember football is only the beginning. As we launch football with only a few weeks remaining in the season we are gearing up at the same time to launch our winter sports as well, including basketball and hockey. Watch for banner ads as we get closer to the launch of all the ZFC Sport Challenges.


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