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Extra Cash-Game Thoughts

JM Tohline (JMToWin)

JM Tohline (Tuh-lean) – DFS alias JMToWin – is a novelist and a DFS player who specializes in high-stakes MLB and NFL tourneys, with a strategy geared toward single-entry play in multi-entry tourneys. He joined the DFS scene at the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, and has since won five DFS championship seats and two separate trips to the Bahamas. His tendency to type a lot of words leads to a corresponding tendency to divulge all his DFS thoughts, strategies, and secrets…which is exactly what he does in his RotoGrinders articles and RotoAcademy courses. You can find JM on Twitter at JMToWin.

I’d love to tell you it’s “easy.” I’d love to say, “Really, don’t overthink things in cash games. Make the smart picks, and you’ll do well.” I’d love to make it sound as though it’s really all as simple as that. But the truth is —

Oh, wait. What? You’re telling me it really is as easy as that?

How about that.

You see, one of the big mistakes people tend to make in cash games is that they overthink things way too much.

Pause for a station announcement:

Read this even if you already know what “cash games” are, as I’m also telling you exactly what I mean when I mention cash games and discuss “cash game strategy.”

“Cash games” are generally defined as contests with a flat payout structure, where — for example — the top half of the field wins 80 percent over their entry fee (which accounts for the money taken out by the site; so a $100 50/50 contest would return $180 to all who finish in the top 50 percent of the field), or where the top 45 percent of the field doubles their entry fee (with the “money being taken out by the site,” in this instance, being removed from the field of players, rather than being removed from the payout you receive; so a $100 double-up would pay out $200 to roughly the top 45 percent of the field), or in which you play someone head-to-head, or in which the top 1/3 of the field gets paid out, or even in which the top 20 percent of the field gets paid out at a flat rate — where finishing “in the top 19 percent” or “finishing in the top 1 percent” will have the exact same payout. When I mention “cash games” and “cash game strategy,” however, it should be noted that I am primarily talking about true “half of the field” contests — such as 50/50’s and double-ups (or even head-to-heads). When I tell you to “not overthink things,” I am speaking about exactly these types of contests. I am telling you, “Hey, you only have to beat about half the field. Why are you scouring the Earth for the under-the-radar guy no one else will possibly be considering?”

A final note here: when you play head-to-heads, please — for the love of all that is good and holy — don’t just play one person for your entire head-to-head budget for the week! If you have $50 budgeted for head-to-heads, for example, don’t just set up a head-to-head contest against someone for $50 and hope it works out. Instead, use that same $50 to enter 50 different $1 head-to-heads! You see, the value of cash games is the fact that you only have to beat half the field. You don’t have to have a great week; you just have to have a week that is “good enough,” and you’ll win money. But if you sink your entire head-to-head budget into a single contest, you remove this benefit — the primary benefit — of cash games! Let’s say you put up a score that would finish in the top 80 percent of the field in most large-field cash games that week; if this is the case, you can safely assume you would also win about 80 percent of your head-to-heads. But what if you are only playing a single head-to-head for all your money? And what if that person against whom you are competing puts up a “top 10 percent score,” compared to your “top 20 percent score”? You see? Sinking all your money into a single head-to-head feels great when it works out, sure. But it completely removes all the benefits that cash games offer.

So, there. When I speak of “cash games,” I am speaking of 50/50’s, double-ups, and head-to-heads — provided these “head-to-heads” are being entered on a large scale, rather than being entered in an “all my money into a couple head-to-heads” manner.

Now, back to our feature presentation

Once you know the NFL as well as you should, and once you understand how to properly evaluate players at each position, cash games should be easy! You should not have to labor for days over who you want to play; instead, you should aim to diagnose the most obvious, safe, high-upside plays at each position, then stick these guys in your roster — and leave that roster the heck alone!

The easiest path to success in cash games is simply capitalizing on the mistakes others make.

I’ll say that again:

The easiest path to success in cash games is simply capitalizing on the mistakes others make.

In other words: make the most intelligent, most obvious plays yourself — starting with an All-Value Team filled with safety and upside, then moving up at strategic spots where you can increase the “safety” and “upside” of your team even further — and allow this team to put up a solid score, and to capitalize on all the strange, off-the-wall, “what the heck were they thinking?” plays that other people make.

It turns out, it really is as easy as that.

About the Author

  • JM Tohline (JMToWin)

  • JM Tohline (Tuh-lean) – DFS alias JMToWin – is a novelist and a DFS player who specializes in high-stakes MLB and NFL tourneys, with a strategy geared toward single-entry play in multi-entry tourneys. He joined the DFS scene at the beginning of the 2014 MLB season, and has since won five DFS championship seats and two separate trips to the Bahamas. His tendency to type a lot of words leads to a corresponding tendency to divulge all his DFS thoughts, strategies, and secrets…which is exactly what he does in his RotoGrinders articles and RotoAcademy courses. You can find JM on Twitter at JMToWin.

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