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  • Cal

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    With the ChipotleAddict/Papagates issues reaching a boiling point I think it’s critical to get more organized about how it is handled on RotoGrinders, and hopefully the broader DFS community.

    Note that this thread will be heavily moderated in order to stay on a narrow focus. If you’d like to discuss broader issues, post in Awoo’s thread here. Know that I believe Awoo’s thread is full of misinformation and false narratives, which is why I’m creating this clean, focused thread you’re reading now.

    Here are the four main points I want to make:

    1. After multiple calls with Martin Crowley (papagates) and Matt Kalish (Co-Founder of Draftkings), I am further convinced that the two brothers are not violating DraftKings terms. The two brothers built a model together. They work from the same source data. Some days they interpret and act on the data very similarly, other days very differently. While this produces the optics problem, it is not collusion, even if they are splitting funds. It only becomes collusion if they are working together to align their lineups to circumvent entry limits. Read Luke’s article here that dives into 14 slates of data on that. If you think that rules should be changed, you’re not alone. It’s a very complex issue, but it’s one we can more effectively discuss without the cheating/DK turning blind eye claims.

    2. Regardless of whether they are violating terms or not, the optics of this situation are bad. It drives players away and it produces the narrative that DraftKings turns a blind eye while high volume players cheat. That cheating narrative clouds the issue, making it impossible to have a productive, constructive conversation about how to improve the optics and ecosystem issues.

    3. Many people that believe CA/PG are being unfairly treated have asked me why we don’t lock or delete Awoo’s thread. My answer is that locking that thread now will hurt this issue, not help it. Too many smart people believe they are cheating. We need to have a focused, transparent discussion to change the narrative, not simply shut down opinions. I think Crain’s post in Awoo’s thread is wrong but I also don’t know if I’ve ever seen that many “upvotes” on a RotoGrinders thread.

    4. Nearly everyone involved in this could have handled it better to prevent the cheating narrative to get to this point. I could have diverted resources to analyzing the spreadsheets so that we could have a data driven conversation instead of one supported by circumstantial evidence. PG/CA could have been more transparent and involved in the conversation when it started during NFL season. DraftKings could have been a lot more communicative about what is/is not allowed in the Community Guidelines. Fanduel could get into this conversation. Crain could have realized that, as a major influencer, he should dig into the data and be certain about his claims before making such a harsh post.

    I want to address this so that we can move focus to a constructive conversation about how to deal with the optics and other legit concerns that players have with this situation. I want PG/CA to not be referred to as cheaters by the broader community. I want people to know that DraftKings Compliance team is very aware of this and not turning a blind eye. I want the broader DFS community to be on the same page about the DK Community Guidelines and what constitutes collusion. In order to get there, we need to address the question of “Are they cheating?” There are lots of smart people and influencers that believe they are cheating, so this is going to require looking at the data and having focused, constructive conversation.

    I hope this thread and Luke’s article on the front page get us there, but we can go beyond that if needed. Again, this thread will be heavily moderated. Stay on the subject of “Are PG/CA violating terms.” If you’re not clear what is/is not allowed by DraftKings Community Guidelines, you’re not alone. Feel free to ask for clarification. DraftKings cannot comment on any individual cases but they should be able to comment in this thread to clarify what is/is not allowed. PapaGates will also be posting here if you want to ask him about his process.

  • KlairVoyant

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    https://www.draftkings.com/lp/community-guidelines

  • jjwd

    Well done Cal!

  • mannmicj

    I believe a thorough investigation should take place within DK and FD. Results should be very public. If they are found to be violating the terms of use the ban should be swift and permanent in my opinion. There is a huge trust issue in the industry and full transparency is the only way to help rebuild that trust.

  • psualum

    I think DK getting more involved is going to be a big boost to this conversation. I think one of the reasons that people have decided they are cheaters is that their complaints at least appear to fall on deaf ears from DK/FD, thus creating the illusion they only care about their rake that day. It will be refreshing to actually hear some voice from the DK Compliance team on issues like this, so at least we know they care about the message being sent to them by their players.

    Also adjacently related, i think the 20 max limit on the $4 buyin GPP’s is a huge positive. I, probably like many players, cannot afford to max out 150 entries on a daily basis, but 20 is well within my limit on sports where I feel i am good enough to compete. I understand that leads to smaller prize pools but I’d rather have a real shot to win 10k or 7500 then a pipe dream at 50k. It also puts to bed any claims because there is no point in colluding your way up to 40 entries, the advantage is not great enough. Looking forward to hearing from the DK compliance team on this thread.

  • Cal

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    @mannmicj said...

    I believe a thorough investigation should take place within DK and FD. Results should be very public. If they are found to be violating the terms of use the ban should be swift and permanent in my opinion. There is a huge trust issue in the industry and full transparency is the only way to help rebuild that trust.

    DraftKings has already done the investigation. The controversy was so big last time that the Wall Street Journal wrote about it. They cleared PG/CA. Much of the community does not accept it, instead saying they turn a blind eye while the brothers generate site fees.

    This thread is all about addressing that narrative and getting the community on the same page about what is and is not allowed by the DraftKings Community Guidelines, and answering the question “are they cheating?” From there I’d love to have a conversation about improvements to the Guidelines. In this current environment of confusion and accusations I don’t believe it’s possible.

  • Cal

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    @psualum said...

    I think DK getting more involved is going to be a big boost to this conversation. I think one of the reasons that people have decided they are cheaters is that their complaints at least appear to fall on deaf ears from DK/FD, thus creating the illusion they only care about their rake that day. It will be refreshing to actually hear some voice from the DK Compliance team on issues like this, so at least we know they care about the message being sent to them by their players.

    Agree. DK reps used to be able to discuss issues freely on this forum. As they’ve grown and as the industry has faced various legal challenges, that is no longer easy for them. They made it clear they cannot comment on specific cases but they do want to be more involved. I think the best thing they can do is clarify what is/is not allowed by the Community Guidelines. If anyone has questions on that as it related to the CA/PG situation, please ask them here.

  • mannmicj

    @Cal said...

    DraftKings has already done the investigation. The controversy was so big last time that the Wall Street Journal wrote about it. They cleared PG/CA. Much of the community does not accept it, instead saying they turn a blind eye while the brothers generate site fees.

    Thanks for the update on the DK investigation. Luckily, I stop playing on DK some time ago. Maybe FD will do their own investigation just to cover ALL basis.

  • Cal

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    For the data oriented crowd, which is most of us on a DFS forum, would love to hear if you think there’s more that needs to be done to expand Luke’s analysis.

  • Stewburtx8

    • 2012 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    I think the biggest fault in all of this clearly falls on DraftKings. The Community Guidelines may have had good intentions, but in my opinion it is WAAAY too vague and seems like it was written by someone who was like well these guys do this but we can’t ban that, but these guys do not do this so let’s take a stand on that, but let’s allow this because we can’t police it, but we can ban this because it looks like we police it…and so on. Also, I think 5 different people could read it and all come away with different takes on what is allowed and not allowed. The thing is, WE all said this when it was rolled out. There was a huge thread here if I recall. DraftKings did absolutely nothing to further clarify things. I think you (Cal) have tried to clarify things from your discussion with them, but why the hell have they not updated their Community Guidelines or made any statements on the matter? They continue to always just let issues linger. They are certainly not proactive or even reactive in my opinion. They are just not active.

    As someone who has been around this industry for a long time, it is incredibly frustrating to watch a company that simply just does not understand how to deal with “issues” or how the optics of a situation affects them and the industry (i.e. Robins investing in RotoQL). Get ahead of things for once. Clear things up before they become big. Hell, try to clear things up before it becomes a 14+ page thread on this site. Before it becomes an article in the Wall Street Journal. Even if they refuse to comment here, I am positive they read it. If they don’t, they are really foolish. Just make a statement for once. I feel like legally they have backed themselves into a corner on everything and now are afraid to say anything. But to me, that just makes it worse. Just my opinion.

  • SamENole

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    I contributed to some of the misinformation in the other thread and reached out to papagates to apologize. I should’ve done my homework before posting what I did.

  • fighton2016

    Cal,

    I don’t post often. But I could not help it with this. My key point I want to make is:

    1. Having the ability to enter more lineups into a contest is an advantage. It is why DK and FD have reduced the amount you can enter in over time. This is the only advantage that someone can have in the game. We all have access through our brains or wallets for fun optimizers that spit out the optimized lineup so we can all come up with the same optimized lineup. However, we can not all enter the same amount of lineups. Therefore, this whole argument comes down to whether or not PG/CA optimize their 300 LUs

    Luke in his article today posted maybe the worst piece of evidence ever to negate this theory in the chart showing how often they overlap. I want to change up the table a little to show you how bad it is:
    Date Overlap % Overlap
    4/24 0 0
    4/23 1 0.66%
    4/22 2 1.33%
    4/21 1 0.66%
    4/20 4 2.67%

    This is a small sample size of his post but i dont know how to add pictures to this of my excel sheet. But lets all think a little about this. They have the same algorithm. They have the same source data. They have probably close to the same projections. And at MOST they have 3-4% of the same LINEUPS. If we all think about the different optimizers out there and took 2 random people from them every day, do you think they would only be 3-4% the same? No, I bet they would be 20-30%. If they have 0, 1, or 2 of the same every now and again and 15-20 of the same the majority of the time, i would truly believe there is no information being past, but at such low levels, it is almost certain that there is information being passed.

    And to the first argument someone is going to have that why not have 0 overlap all the time. well think about how everyone read that post and was like “oh, 1 or 2 overlaps”, its not collusion and not digging deeper. I could easily see them trying to overlap a little in order to maximize profits in the long run.

    *Edit: after i finished writing this, i checked back over to Luke’s article and Draped basically addressed this point as well so I want to congratulate him on beating me to the punch

  • Immaculate

    “. . . While this produces the optics problem, it is not collusion, even if they are splitting funds.”

    Is this true? If so, I find it absolutely astonishing, that two accounts would be allowed to use different approaches with max lineups (all 3×3 stacks for one person, all 4×4 stacks for the other, for example, or maybe you use mostly NL players, I’ll take AL, or I’ll take the odd number player rankings, you take the even numbered) and then be able to split the winnings and have it all considered legal by the DFS company. Simply astonishing.

  • fishcakeking

    FCK

    To be constructive you cant be myopic. The question posed by Cal and researched in Lukes article “Are pappa and chipotle colluding/cheating now?”

    To properly examine the impact of this you must also ask

    “Have Chipotle and Papa colluded/cheated in the past?” – hence must look at much more data
    “Are they sharing winnings?”
    “How many other teams are suspected of this tactic?” – “Did Duat and makeitrain collude to win PGA MM?”
    “Are the rules/guidelines purposely made in a way they can be circumvented?”

    Two smart players could set up base guidelines for building their lineups that would allow them to collude without doing so on a daily a basis. Setting up methods for lineup construction that would be difficult to reverse engineer.

    Example could be:
    Never uses full cap or ends with an odd number.
    Never use a center in the utility spot.

    Once they are outed they change never to rarely.

    I’m not saying these guys are 100% cheating, but the data being used to defend them is thin.
    If they want to clear themselves release both of their 1099s and tax returns. That is the only way anybody should believe them. The rest is just heresay.

    FCK

  • draped

    @fighton2016 said...

    *Edit: after i finished writing this, i checked back over to Luke’s article and Draped basically addressed this point as well so I want to congratulate him on beating me to the punch

    I think Luke did a great job of trying to actually use data to prove/disprove claims about the brothers, which is WAY better than all the speculation from everyone. With that being said, the way in which he analyzed the situation just made it all worse IMO. The way he analyzed the overlaps and the ownership percentages makes it seem to me as though he had a confirmation bias before even doing the study. The data that he provides does not prove his conclusion, which just adds to the bad optics of the whole situation.

    I’m going to download some of these results and provide them in a way that I believe better shows the situation. One thing about any analysis of lineups though:

    - It probably will end in nothing proving PG/CA to have cheated, because its almost impossible to do that given the current DK Guidelines. IMO the real issue is not that PG/CA may be working together in some way to gain an advantage, the issue (if there is one) is that there are ways to work together within the rules and still gain an advantage. Any kind of analysis of their lineups will NOT result in hard evidence. There is no way to tell for sure if the results of the data is just coincidence or collusion.

    So why would I do it? Because I think if I could present some data in a way that is clear and concise, then it may get rid of some of the false accusations from both sides.

  • Messiah717

    I don’t think there’s anyway to 100% say they cheat just like I don’t think there’s anyway to 100% say they don’t. I think they use the guidelines and how they’re written to their advantage and they’re not the only ones. If they both built a model together and both use that model together that certainly to me falls into the grey area of possibly violating at least DK’s guidelines. It would also lead one to conclude that’s why they end up with similar lineups. Their model likely settles on the same cores to build around which they’re both clearly going to use. Then it’s a matter of differentiating around that core for their multiple lineups. That could very well be by use of the same model as well. What we can’t prove is what coordination goes on to get these lineups entered to maximize profits and so they have as little overlap as possible.

  • fighton2016

    @draped said...

    I think Luke did a great job of trying to actually use data to prove/disprove claims about the brothers, which is WAY better than all the speculation from everyone. With that being said, the way in which he analyzed the situation just made it all worse IMO. The way he analyzed the overlaps and the ownership percentages makes it seem to me as though he had a confirmation bias before even doing the study. The data that he provides does not prove his conclusion, which just adds to the bad optics of the whole situation.

    I’m going to download some of these results and provide them in a way that I believe better shows the situation. One thing about any analysis of lineups though:

    - It probably will end in nothing proving PG/CA to have cheated, because its almost impossible to do that given the current DK Guidelines. IMO the real issue is not that PG/CA may be working together in some way to gain an advantage, the issue (if there is one) is that there are ways to work together within the rules and still gain an advantage. Any kind of analysis of their lineups will NOT result in hard evidence. There is no way to tell for sure if the results of the data is just coincidence or collusion.

    So why would I do it? Because I think if I could present some data in a way that is clear and concise, then it may get rid of some of the false accusations from both sides.

    I fully agree on the confirmation bias. Luke basically laid out the data and said that it supported him, when in fact it looks even worse.

    If i was doing this and had the tools that some of the people on these sites have, I would take data from people who use the same algorithms or optimizers and daily take 2 random people from the sample and compare it to the difference between CA/PG and then over time do an A/B test or something more statistically advanced. Like i said in my post, I would make the argument that most people using the same algo will have 10-15% of the same lineups and therefore, them falling way short of that is extremely suspicious to me

  • Razzle11

    @fighton2016 said...

    I fully agree on the confirmation bias. Luke basically laid out the data and said that it supported him, when in fact it looks even worse.

    If i was doing this and had the tools that some of the people on these sites have, I would take data from people who use the same algorithms or optimizers and daily take 2 random people from the sample and compare it to the difference between CA/PG and then over time do an A/B test or something more statistically advanced. Like i said in my post, I would make the argument that most people using the same algo will have 10-15% of the same lineups and therefore, them falling way short of that is extremely suspicious to me

    say that they do that and the 2 randoms they choose fall with 4% overlap…what are you going to say in response to that? that it was just a random, small sample and they should choose two more?

    On the other hand, if they do that and on that slate the two they pick have an 18% overlay, what are you going to say to that? You will come out firing saying see, I told you..it makes it obvious PG/CA are cheating

  • fighton2016

    @Razzle11 said...

    say that they do that and the 2 randoms they choose fall with 4% overlap…what are you going to say in response to that? that it was just a random, small sample and they should choose two more?

    On the other hand, if they do that and on that slate the two they pick have an 18% overlay, what are you going to say to that? You will come out firing saying see, I told you..it makes it obvious PG/CA are cheating

    Why are you putting words into my mouth? If it comes back that it is 4% and the null hypothesis is correct, I would agree with Cal and Luke that there is no cheating going on. It is also why you do it over a long run and get a long run average. They may overlap 18% once and overlap 0 or 1% 20 times and that average comes down really quickly.

  • Razzle11

    @draped said...

    I think Luke did a great job of trying to actually use data to prove/disprove claims about the brothers, which is WAY better than all the speculation from everyone. With that being said, the way in which he analyzed the situation just made it all worse IMO. The way he analyzed the overlaps and the ownership percentages makes it seem to me as though he had a confirmation bias before even doing the study. The data that he provides does not prove his conclusion, which just adds to the bad optics of the whole situation.

    I’m going to download some of these results and provide them in a way that I believe better shows the situation. One thing about any analysis of lineups though:

    - It probably will end in nothing proving PG/CA to have cheated, because its almost impossible to do that given the current DK Guidelines. IMO the real issue is not that PG/CA may be working together in some way to gain an advantage, the issue (if there is one) is that there are ways to work together within the rules and still gain an advantage. Any kind of analysis of their lineups will NOT result in hard evidence. There is no way to tell for sure if the results of the data is just coincidence or collusion.

    So why would I do it? Because I think if I could present some data in a way that is clear and concise, then it may get rid of some of the false accusations from both sides.

    Here is where this is a lose-lose debate from what I can see…..

    The article came out to show barely any overlap over the sample size used and right away you think that is a bad thing and proves the other way and not the way the article intended. So now you believe they use 150 entries each to get a wide spread ownership %…..

    What if the article showed they had a 20-25% and up ownership overlap, then youd say they are using the 150 each to get a shot at more combinations with who they have projected the highest….

    People are going to play both sides of it and can spin it to say its a bad thing, negative look etc.

  • B_Edelman

    Here’s my thoughts:

    1. Based on the provided information it appears that PG/CA did not violate the TOS/CG.
    2. A large amount of DFS players and RG members believe that PG/CA are acting in a way that either is or should be against the rules.
    3. A large amount of RG members believe that the CGs are insufficient or unclear.

    So based on this it appears that the solution is that the CGs need to be changed to clear up this situation. How does the community want them changed so that we don’t have to worry about this anymore?

  • Razzle11

    @fighton2016 said...

    Why are you putting words into my mouth? If it comes back that it is 4% and the null hypothesis is correct, I would agree with Cal and Luke that there is no cheating going on. It is also why you do it over a long run and get a long run average. They may overlap 18% once and overlap 0 or 1% 20 times and that average comes down really quickly.

    My apologies. I have just seen a lot of comments within all these CA/PG threads that try to play both sides and spin all responses into a negative because people have just made up their mind. It turns things into a lose-lose situation when trying to prove it. At this point, even with DK having cleared them, people still believe they are cheating the system. No matter what investigation is done, people have their mind made up and turn it to conspiracies etc.

    I havent read the CG’s, is it against site rules to swap tournament %s with somebody?

  • TheImmortalGoud

    This is for Draftkings. Let’s say that two people are working together to make 150 individual teams per person, none of the teams happen to overlap, and they end up with the following ownership percentages on players:

    Person A | Person B

    Player 1 88% | Player 1 85.3%
    Player 2 78.7% | Player 2 78%
    Player 3 69.3% | Player 3 73.3%
    Player 4 64% | Player 4 57.3%
    Player 5 45.3% | Player 5 43.3%

    Would Draftkings consider this collusion/circumventing of entry limits?

  • JonBales

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    Thanks for starting this thread, Cal. I just wanted to chime in quickly that I think it’s really easy to sometimes see patterns where none exist, then interpret future evidence in a manner that matches what you think you already know. DFS players probably know this better than anyone; it’s so easy to let your worldview affect how you analyze data, and much more difficult to let data continually shape your opinions.

    I also think there’s probably a logical fallacy with some of the arguments I’ve seen that’s something like “If CA/PG collude, their lineups will look like X. Their lineups looked like X. Therefore, they colluded.” That’s akin to saying, “If it’s sunny outside, I will sweat. I did sweat. Therefore, it was sunny outside.” There are of course other reasons I could sweat, and other reasons CA/PG could have relatively similar lineups (such as sharing a model/projections, which is something I’d say 99.9% of DFS players have done and continue to do).

    I don’t think it’s really fair to attack anyone until we have evidence far, far stronger than anything I’ve seen. As far as DK commenting or releasing data, I don’t think it’s really out of the ordinary that they’d be hesitant to release data on individual players.

  • Cal

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    @B_Edelman said...

    Here’s my thoughts:

    1. Based on the provided information it appears that PG/CA did not violate the TOS/CG.
    2. A large amount of DFS players and RG members believe that PG/CA are acting in a way that either is or should be against the rules.
    3. A large amount of RG members believe that the CGs are insufficient or unclear.

    So based on this it appears that the solution is that the CGs need to be changed to clear up this situation. How does the community want them changed so that we don’t have to worry about this anymore?

    Well said. I’d like to make this the next phase of the discussion, though. Let’s focus on your #1 since there is still so much disagreement and confusion there.

  • Cal

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    @SamENole said...

    I contributed to some of the misinformation in the other thread and reached out to papagates to apologize. I should’ve done my homework before posting what I did.

    Thanks for posting this Matt. The circumstantial evidence is damning so there are a ton of people that felt the same as you. And no one wants to do the homework – huge thanks to Luke Louison for doing the homework for his article, I know it took him many hours.

    There are a lot more slates and a lot more homework that can be done, too. I’m not sure on how it should be approached but talking with people smarter than me about it today.

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