Starting Out: How Much to Play
Going along with my previous lesson on getting your bankroll started is a related topic — how much do I play on a given night? No topic gives people more difficulty on a day-to-day basis than this one. If I have a balance on $1,000, do I play $100 in a day? $200? More? While there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question, there are some principles you can use to guide your decisions.
Principle #1 – START SMALL
While this concept may seem straight forward, it’s actually one that a lot of new players ignore. I can’t even count the times I’ve seen a new player try to go up against a highly ranked player for $55 or $109. A lot of new players think “Hey, I know sports! This is easy! I can take these guys!” This line of thinking is a recipe for disaster. If you want to test yourself against a really good player, play that person for $5 or $10. Don’t jump directly into the high stakes.
Principle #2 – KEEP TRACK OF YOUR RESULTS
It doesn’t matter how you do this. Use excel, use a pen and paper, use a calculator, use an abacus, just use something to track your results. Simple gain/loss calculations broken down by type of game or number of opponents are invaluable tools to gauge your success. If you are more advanced with mathematics, calculating return on investment is another tool you can use.
Principle #3 – ONCE ESTABLISHED, APPLY KELLY CRITERION METHODS
If you are unfamiliar with the Kelly Criterion, read this before continuing. There will also be a more in-depth discussion about the Kelly Criterion in the PHD program of GrindersU.
Once you are an estalished player, you can take your bankroll, ROI, win rate percentage, and other data you have collected to figure out how much to play on a given day. There are several Kelly Criterion calculators on the web to assist with your calculations. This tool is an advanced one, but it will prove invaluable if you plan to become a high-volume grinder.
Principle #4 – PLAY WHAT YOU’RE COMFORTABLE WITH
My rule of thumb is that if I can’t watch the games without being stressed out, I’m playing too much. Let’s face it, part of the reason we all play daily fantasy sports is because we love watching sports. If this starts to take the fun out of that for you, cut back on the amount you’re playing and enjoy the games!
If you follow these principles, you’ll be on the pathway to success with managing your bankroll — and having fun — while playing daily fantasy sports. Good luck!
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Surviving Hot and Cold Streaks