Finding the right game for the type of player you are
I was your typical newbie on Fantasy Sports. I deposited my funds and went to selecting my teams based on what I knew (or thought I knew) about the sport and players as a fan. I only entered the contests that had huge payouts at low entry. That meant I was donating between $1 and $4 to the players that were actually cashing in those games. For some reason I seemed to always end up near the bottom of the list….. except for one time. That one time was probably the worst thing to happen to me as a daily fantasy player. No, you read that correctly. I wish I had never won in the lone contest I cashed in. Let me explain…. I did well on my second ever entry into online fantasy NBA on FanDuel. After cashing in that night I was throwing money at entries like crazy every day. From then on I could NEVER cash, but I did learn something from it. It does not matter that you are a huge sports fan, THAT does not translate to success in the fantasy realm.
After burning through my bankroll, and continuously depositing more, I came to the conclusion fantasy sports was something I was not good at. Admitting it is the first step to recovery, right? I never even came within sniffing distance of any meaningful cash in any lineup ever again on GPP. Then something happened. I found FREE PLAY on DraftKings. I started tinkering with lineups and playing daily just on the free games. A couple times I would cash in a dollar or two but there was something more profound that I got out of playing them. I noticed that after about two months of doing nothing but free games and reading the forums here on RotoGrinders , I was consistently just outside the cash but almost always in the top half of the field. I was no longer a bottom feeding noob. I was learning how to play, research, take emotion out of my decisions (probably THE hardest thing a daily player has to do) and see undervalued and overvalued players. Granted this did not make me any money but I had made a deal with myself that I would no longer throw money at this without understanding it first.
There are THREE kinds of fantasy players in my humble opinion.
THE SLOT MACHINE PLAYER : This player relies on nothing more than luck. This was me when I first started. I randomly picked players based on “ a feeling” of how they would do. No research, no knowledge of variables (playing against a good defender, blow outs, or B2B games) that affected players. These players are the equivalent in gambling to the slot player. These type players know they put money into it and hopefully the random number generator will choose them as the winner. Its literally nothing more than being in the right place at the right time with no skills required. Its the worst odds in the house and the house will always win with this type of player because it cant be sustained if they happen to actually cash in a game like I did in the beginning. There are a lot of these players in the casinos and in the daily Fantasy world.
THE HIGH ROLLER OR WHALE: This is your seasoned, well educated (or has a great program), and generally well funded player. He is the “ High Stakes Poker” player that is hedging all his bets. He is the player that max entries everything he plays to ensure he is going to win his entries back or bring the house down. He is the guy in the high roller area max betting every hand and usually playing three or four different hands each time. He has his money everywhere and has it working for him. The slot machine player is the one usually funding this guys bankroll from their losses. There are less of these type players but they are very successful at what they do. If you were to play them a single hand of poker heads up with a table limit of $10 you would have a decent chance of winning. If you tried it on a table with no limit they would just bully you into submission by making you go all in on your one and only hand while you are holding a 2 & 9 off suited and not enough left in the bankroll to fold and play another hand.
THE BLACKJACK AND CRAPS PLAYER: This is your knowledgeable player that likes to play it safe. They know that BJ and Craps are the best odds in the house even though the house STILL has the edge. These are the guys that understand that they have control over their bets. They can hit or stand on a 16 or take their bets down if they think someone is about to roll a seven. These players are like the single entry, double up, H2H, or multipliers players. They play it safer and they know they only have to beat half the field in a double up to cash money or only one other person in a H2H. They understand that in a 10,000 player field that they don’t have to play against all ten thousand, but just have to be better than 4,999 of the 10K playing. Its a safer bet. These are the guys you see sitting at the blackjack table for hours. Its not a sprint like it is for the slot type player that want to hit it big on one spin, these are the players that methodically win smaller amounts over and over again to increase their bank roll. It takes time and they have the patience to do it.
As I sit here today writing this blog and keeping my eye on the FantasyLabs and RotoGrinders updates on players, I kind of chuckle at where I was in the beginning. I was the Slot Machine type player just feeding money to the beast hoping I was in the right place at the right time then realizing GPP games are not for me. Where I am now is definitely in the Blackjack and Craps type of player where I realize I can win more often than not by accepting the fact I’m not going to hit it big on one hand but can find success in winning several smaller hands like in the double ups. In Blackjack you aren’t playing against other players, just the dealer. In double ups I’m only competing against half the people entered and that to me is just more appealing.
The secret for me was realizing I wasn’t finding the chalky play that is going to go 10X value at $3K price consistantly. It was realizing that I was playing the wrong type of game and don’t have to try and find those chalky players consistently to win. Obviously not everyone wants to win small prizes. Some people want nothing more than having the odds against them and rising above those odds to claim victory over everyone else. There is no right or wrong way to play. If you are content in not cashing out over “X” number of games and then cashing big, then GPP games are your fit. If you are a more conservative type player that wants returns daily rather than all at once then a Double Up might be your way to go.