A Poker Player's Transition to DFS

Comparing Apples to Apples

Daily Fantasy Sports owes most of its existence to the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or UIGEA because it both simultaneously made it virtually impossible for poker sites to carry USA customers while providing a ruling that fantasy sports was not considered gambling or unlawful.

Over time this has led to a slow but steady pace of former internet poker players transferring their talents over to the daily fantasy sports scene. This movement has brought about the boom of new up-and-coming DFS sites trying to appeal to the ever increasing customer base.
I began playing online poker the day I saw Chris Moneymaker win the 2003 WSOP on ESPN. Back then there was only a handful of sites and a decent amount of players. Throughout the years I have seen the insane growth online poker endured and believe there are some comparisons to be made with the DFS scene.

The DFS industry is at the same stage online poker was right before Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP: not too popular but definitely attracting more and more players every day. I think it is a matter of time before something like the NFL’s attempt at mimicking DraftDay’s $1 Million Perfect Lineup promotion this coming NFL season will really bring awareness to and popularize Daily Fantasy Sports much like ESPN’s broadcasting of the WSOP did to online poker.

My Personal Transition

I played poker online for about 8 years. Most of this consisted early on of playing freerolls because withdrawals and the like were very sketchy. This made me very skeptical of the whole process so I decide to not personally risk anything except perhaps my time. Playing freerolls allowed me to aggressively download as many poker sites that I could find because it was of no risk to me. I spent nearly every day playing freerolls and continuing to learn the game of poker as I went along.

It wasn’t until about 5 years of playing that I finally trusted a poker site (ironically Full Tilt) enough to add my bank account and feel free to deposit and withdraw with ease. This was the part of my poker career that really took off and I won about $7,000 in 1 week. I decided to take all my winnings to Vegas to complete my lifelong poker fantasy of playing in the WSOP. I played a total of 3 events and never made it to a Day 2. The people I saw there that I once idolized on TV turned out to be very sad souls. I left Vegas with a much more negative view on poker and never really played much the following 2 years. Lucky for me this meant that I had virtually no money online when the sites banned USA players.

I learned about Daily Fantasy Sports from an ad on 2+2, a popular poker forum. It was an ad for DraftDay which was a brand new site at the time. DraftDay connects extremely well with online poker because its creators are also the creators of popular poker strategy site CardRunners. The transition from online poker to daily fantasy sports, especially on a newly created site with poker minds, was extremely seamless. Their tournaments, payout structures, and the overall feel was exactly like that of the online poker clients.

A Comparison of Poker and DFS

In the 7 months or so I have been playing DFS I have slowly but surely gotten the hang of it and have been able to compare my experience to that of online poker. Some obvious similarities and differences have become apparent.


Both conduct tournament buyins, payouts, structure, and amount of entries in a very similar way. For people who used to grind huge multiplayer tournaments the transition to DFS should not be a difficult one to grasp.

A person needs to play just as much before they can “master” the craft. Just like it took a lot of time playing, reading about, and getting used to online poker, DFS is no different in anyway. The learning curves of both these games are very close in time and effort from my experience.

It is possible to beat both games through skill. While luck plays a huge role in both of these games there is no doubt that skill is important. If that wasn’t the case then poker would not have people like Durrrrr and Phil Galfond, and DFS would not have people like beermakersfan and kaiseroll.


With online poker you could find a game any time of the day, whether it be a cash game or tournament. With DFS there are specific time windows where there are absolutely no games and other times when many games happen at the same time. Also there really is no cash game version of DFS, it all seems to be tournament style.

Once a DFS tournament starts you do not have to keep playing. Unlike in poker where you sit and play for hours on end, with DFS you make your roster and let it go. There is one site that does things a little different and that is ProfanitySports. On their site you can change players up until their game starts so to me it provides a much closer feel to online poker. You have to pay attention the whole time for injuries and can use strategy in head to head games because once you see some of your opponent’s players you can adjust your roster accordingly to best defeat their team.

DFS payout methods are much easier and trustworthy. My favorite difference between online poker and daily fantasy sports is that I am much more confident with the deposit/withdrawal process than I ever was with online poker. Because DFS specifically was deemed legal the sites have been able to freely except payments and payouts on PayPal. It is extremely fast and easy to get money on a DFS site without the fear we all used to have of never getting our money back from poker sites.

You cannot bluff in DFS. This might be the biggest difference of all and it really does take away an edge that most successful online poker players used to have. The only strategy to regain this edge is to keep up on injuries to the very second, memorize all of the relevant statistics, and have a general feel of how to make a quality fantasy team.

This is my first blog and I would really like to hear any feedback on how to improve my future posts. I am a big fan of critical analysis so don’t be afraid to really tell me how it is.

Thanks and until next time…

keep grinding.

About the Author

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