Why I Stopped Playing Cash Games

Yesterday was it I told myself. No more cash games for me. I am done. As I set those last cash lineups in MLB yesterday I kind of felt relieved. Moving forward my focus will be solely on GPP’s.

Okay let me take a step back. First most of my entries have been in GPP’s since the restart (I had this same conversation with myself about a year ago) have been in GPP’s. I have been doing pretty well and more than doubled my bankroll on DK since making this my primary focus. But almost every day as I construct those GPP builds I would start to see a cash lineup come into play. I get tempted and throw a few entries in. Sometimes I do hit the cash line but it seems more often than not I don’t do well in those contests. Why? Well I think I know the reasons.

Let’s go even further back. In 2014 I started playing DFS casually. The allure of spending $20 on a Sunday football slate that could possibly win me a million dollars peaked my interest. I know football and fantasy sports I thought to myself. One entry, $20 bucks a week sounds like fun and you never know. Well it turns out I didn’t know as much as I thought and each week aside from the sporadic min cash I was dropping $20 with my lineup usually dead by 1:15 eastern time.

There has to be a better way to do this I thought. And when I started to do my homework I quickly learned about cash games. I put some time and research into it and did pretty well on a very small bankroll. DFS became enjoyable as a hobby and frankly it didn’t take me much time to put together solid cash lineups.

Just as II started to find my niche DFS was taken away in NY. There was a break and when it came back I jumped right back into cash games. But this time upped the ante a little. Now I started to struggle. I also learned more about contest selection in GPP’s and started to selectively pursue some GPP contests (single entry, 3 max, etc) No more chasing the million dollars but focusing more on contest selection where I felt I could realistically build a bankroll.

Where before I may have been 80/20 in favor of cash I was tilting 50/50 and sometimes 40/60 in favor of GPP’s. And it seemed, though admittedly I wasn’t tracking it, that I was losing more often than not in cash.

In 2017 I hit my first GPP in MLB. It was a $4 contest that netted me $1500 (owe a big thank to Nick Castellanos for that).

That really got me thinking about what am I still doing toiling around in cash when if at best (and it was not going at best) I could grind out a few bucks in profit. It didn’t seem worth the time investment. But then again I thought I did it in 2014 and 2015 so it was possible. Maybe just bad luck?

Anyway this gets me to one of the main reasons I am ending my cash game forays and going strictly to GPP’s. The field is simply sharper. Back in 2014 and 2015 while I was still learning DFS I did have success I think because well many others were also learning. Cash games could be won even if our lineups back then weren’t necessarily optimal or even close to optimal.

I notice today even in low dollar cash games just how sharp and on top of it most players are. And I am now the one, given my GPP mindset, who seems to be setting the less optimal lineups in these contests. I got away with it many years ago but can’t any longer.

The next reason goes along with the first and is something I am sure many of us have experienced. Before I say anything further this is nothing against the rules but the use of optimizers have made players considerably sharper and also generally fall on similar builds.

Like I said nothing wrong with this. Its all well defined in the rules. But it drives me crazy at times. An example of this was earlier this year I was in I think a 1300 hundred person single entry GPP in MLB. I was within the top 300 or so (can’t remember exactly but already had the win checked off) and it was getting near the end. Someone hit a homer toward the end of a late game and well I watched the train pass me by. Frustrating and that kind of swing doesn’t happen as drastically it seems in GPP’s.

Finally and I have touched on this before in this article my mindset is one of a GPP players. I am looking for those low owned under the radar plays and for reasons to veer off chalk. That mindset of mine does not go away when setting cash game lineups. Hence why I didn’t have the 80% chalk player who hit the homerun.

Full disclosure in that I had stopped playing cash already in NBA and it only was a small part of my bankroll in sports like MLB, NHL and MMA. But I am now solely concentrating on GPP’s. It seems to be more enjoyable and fits my mindset much better than cash games. I am not sure how many others who play DFS on a daily basis have also sworn off cash games. I am sure I am not alone in this thinking though and how I will be managing my bankroll going forward in DFS contests.


  • rockstar1234

    I feel like I could’ve written this article myself. Seriously, your experience mirrors my own very closely. I was more 90/10 cash in the earlier days though. Started with a free $5 from a now defunct site called DraftDay and built up a decent bankroll slowly but surely on the back of cash games for 4 seasons. ROI was off the charts. Then finally hit on an NHL gpp for $1500. Was thinking about putting thousands more into my account and really treating it like an investment of sorts. But right as I was hitting my stride, life interfered and I had to step away for a couple seasons. Alas…

    Anyway, you’re totally right. When I came back the first thing I noticed was the field had simply gotten MUCH sharper. Probably due in large part to the growth of websites like RG, frankly. I remember this site back in 2013. It’s come a loooong way.

    So yeah it’s 100% GPP for me now too. Especially in baseball, which is such a high variance sport to begin with.

  • mandrzejewski

    • Ranked #79

      RG Tiered Ranking

    Thanks. One thing I didn’t mention is the swings can be difficult at times. I was still dabbling in cash earlier this year but mostly focused on GPP’s. I had back to back days in February with some good hits. I was feeling very good and then after that second hit had a dry spell of a little more than two months. And that felt like a long two months. But I came back in April when MLB began which is a sweet spot of mine. I guess you really need that “mind” set to play GPP only and understand there will be dry spells. Of course bankroll management is extremely crucial as well.

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