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DFS 101

DFS Bankroll Management & Strategy

COACHS111’S Daily Fantasy Tool Kit

5 part series on why DFS is not gambling and keys to create a winning bankroll strategy

PART 1 “The Basics & Background”


What is the purpose of this article? Who would read this? Why would I read it?


The purpose of this article is to help educate people on how to create a winning bankroll management strategy to be a consistent winner. Going against your strategy is the biggest way to turn yourself into a net loser! I personally know this all too much. As a teacher and coach, I first started playing DFS and was really managing and tracking all my plays. I was very successful, often winning $20,000 to $30,000 net positive per year in the first few years. I went and started a business and had more disposable income. The first few years I stuck to my plan and strategy I put in place. I had multiple years getting six figure 1099’s (representing positive winnings). Then for the next few years I got sloppy. I started playing without a strategy or game plan and had a six-figure losing year!  I also got caught up in chasing too many high dollar satellites.  Did I suddenly not know how to play DFS?  That is not the case. In fact, I was probably an even better player. Why was I having a losing year?  The answer is POOR bankroll management.
As you are reading this article look out for ***ADVICE FROM COACH***
That is when I offer my own personal tips or strategies on the topic.

DFS is Gambling! You’re just lucky!

 Let us get this out of the way now. DFS is NOT gambling but you can gamble on DFS. What the heck does that mean? Sounds like double talking. Look at it this way, if you are recklessly playing with no system or strategies, you are in effect gambling.  Just like a QB forcing a ball into double coverage he is taking a gamble.  If you understand the game, the odds, and strategies, then combine them with a solid and consistent bankroll management strategy, it is very much a game of skill!

When looking at DraftKings average results, it shows that while DFS is not gambling technically, most players are gambling at it! In all honestly, you think you know what you are doing. You probably do not! Only 1 out of every 100 players has the skill or knowledge to not be a FISH!  In most cases it is not because they do not have the needed skills. It is because they have a lack of understanding or discipline when it comes to bankroll management and contest selection. The fact that the top 1% of players are consistently the ones winning is proof enough that it is not gambling. If that were the case, there would be a different distribution of winners.  In addition, the US government believes that it is a game of skill. While the government deems games like online poker, sports betting, and casinos a game of luck, it certifies fantasy sports as a game of skill. Not only that, but the DraftKings results back that up.

Now while the US Government certifies DFS as a game of skill, there are still a few states in which you can not play. Please see the following map showing DK eligible states.


So, if it is not gambling how do I become a part of the 1%? 


The single most important thing is not to turn a game of skill into gambling. You MUST have a strategy and bankroll management plan. Without this you might be a great player, but you are still losing.



Before we get into any actual system, (which is coming up in part two of this article series) I will give you my best and most important tip! No matter the system and style, stay consistent with the dollar amounts. If you do not do this, it becomes gambling! Just like a baseball player does not really know the dates and times he will hit his home run, even a great DFS player can not predict the exact contest he or she will finish in first. If you play five days in a row and play $100 day one, $500 day two, $200 day three, $1000 day three, $400 day four, and $100 day five, you are doing it all wrong. Sometimes slates do not allow certain types of contests. In real life it is not always that simple. The point is that when you have one very good night and one very bad night, you will not be able to predict what night each happens. If you play more one night because of a feel or because you won the night before, you ARE gambling! It is all about numbers. You should know your winning percent per contest type, slate size, and sport. Then have a plan for each type since day-to-day the same contests are not offered.  To simplify this, without a plan you are gambling on doing good the nights you play more and doing bad on the nights you play less. Since no one can predict this, you have turned yourself into a gambler.


In part two of this series on creating a solid bankroll plan, we will break down what factors to look at when creating a plan.


Closing Advice

This article series will start with the basics in part 1 and eventually end with creation of an example custom bankroll strategy in part five! If you are taking the time to read this, start thinking about how you manage your bankroll and where you have made some mistakes.

PART 2 “Terms & Factors”


What is the purpose of this article? Who would read this? Why would I read it?


In part one of this five-part series we looked at why DFS is not considered gambling, even though you can gamble on DFS, and the basic bankroll concepts. In part two of this series, we will dive into some key terms and what factors go into creating a bankroll management strategy.


As you are reading this article look out for ***ADVICE FROM COACH***
That is when I offer my own personal tips or strategies on the topic.


Why am I playing?


Before you start out into any type of strategy, you should have a goal or a reason to be playing.
There are many reasons you might be playing DFS. Some of the reasons may include:


  • Just for fun. You do not want to put a lot of time in and not have any real expectations on the results. This is what I call the slot machine or scratch off player. You enjoy playing your favorite plays and sometimes winning some money. This is also the type of player the pros love! Referring to part one of this article series, this is when DFS (which is a game of skill) becomes gambling for some!
  • Because of Friends/Marketing/Offers. You are playing because a friend invited you to a contest, or you saw some marketing, or received an offer from one of the DFS sites. In this case you probably are playing until you lose your bankroll, or maybe just for that day or offer, and then you will cash out. If you are a player that has an open account but only plays in situations like this, you also are the type of player pros love. I call this type of player the “just because” player. You are doing it a few times a year just because.  Neither the “just for fun” nor the” just because” type of player would need or use a bankroll management strategy.
  • Fun way to make some side income. This is what got me into DFS! I was teaching. In addition, I was the assistant athletic director, head varsity basketball, and head varsity baseball coach but still could use some extra money. Now this type of player generally does not have at least one of two things needed to make a full time living off DFS. You need an extreme amount of time and a large bankroll to only play DFS as your living. In this case, I had neither large amount of time nor large sums of money. This player is also defined as a player who is playing enough money that they need to earn a profit and expect to earn a profit. While they have fun doing it in most cases they can not afford to lose in the long run.

Remember from part one of this series only about 1% of players make money in the long run. So, do not make the mistake of assuming it is easy to do. You must have a plan, have discipline, and put in time and effort. Do not make a costly mistake. Start small and learn. I believe most people can learn to be the 1% if they follow the necessary steps!

  • To Make a Living. This is extremely rare but can be done. You must have a decent sized bankroll and lots of time. BUT ITS NOT THAT EASY! I love the people that say to the Mass Entry Players “well ya you only won because you had like 150 entries and covered all the combinations”. If only it was that easy anyone with the money to play 150 entries would just do that! In most cases you still must beat out tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of entries to get first place. And then you would still have had to beat all the other who played the max amount of entries.  Remember, you will have to be better than at least 99 of every 100 people to even consider this. It can be done with the correct system and hard work!


If you fall into the category of playing DFS for side income or a living, you most likely already have a bank roll management plan. If you do not, you most likely are getting lucky short term or are losing money. If you are getting a solid ROI, (Return on Investment) and have been doing so over time, then this article series is NOT for you. If you think you are good enough to fall into the category of making side income or full-time income but are losing, you may want to keep up with this five-part series!


What about the people who just play for fun?  You know what else is fun??

The question I would have for the people who just play for fun is:
Would it not be more fun if you could also make money while having fun? If you answered YES, then this five-part series is for you! You may even graduate to having fun making a side income!

Now we understand that every player except the “just because” player should have some sort of a bankroll management strategy because MONEY IS FUN! Before we get into figuring out how to start building a custom bankroll, we want to make sure that all of our beginner players understand some key terms that we will be using in sections three, four and five.


Key Bankroll Management & Other DFS Terms:


Bankroll-The amount of money a DFS player has pre-determined he/she will spend over a set period of time.


ROI “Return on Investment” – a performance measure used to evaluate the benefit your investment (bankroll) will receive or make over a certain period of time.
Example: if you expect an ROI of 30% over the course of a month and you invest $3000, your expected 30-day return would be ($3000*.30) =$900.  So, you would expect a $900 profit meaning your bankroll would be $3000 +$900 = $3900.


Expected Value (EV) – Expected value is the amount of money you can expect to win from one entry into a contest. For example, say you enter a contest with 1000 entrants, your entry fee is $1, and the top 100 entrants are paid $5. Your EV can be calculated: 100 winning entries/1000 total entrants = 10% (odds of winning) x $5 (prize to winners) = $0.50 EV.
EV is typically higher in Cash Games because your chances of winning are around 50%. To get increased EV in a contest, watch out for overlay.


Overlay – When a GPP contest does not fill to capacity, and the prizes paid exceed the entry fees taken in. For example, say you enter a $10 contest with a 5,000-entry capacity. The guaranteed payout of that contest is $90 to the top 500 entrants ($90 x 500 = $45,000), but only 4,000 entries are received. That means that the entry fees ($10 x 4,000 = $40,000) are now less than the total payout ($45,000). The difference ($5000) is the overlay. DFS sites have gotten a lot better over time about not having overlay, so you really must look out for it. Overlay increases your odds of winning a DFS contest, because you face less competition for the same amount of guaranteed prize money.


***ADVICE FROM COACH*** There is often overlay on the secondary sites like SuperDraft and Yahoo.  Generally, I only play those sites when there is overlay.  Also, at times sites like DraftKings will do promos like a no rake contest. These fill fast and I suggest you enter them early with a place holder lineup.


Rake- This is the amount the DFS company charges or makes off each contest. You can figure this out by taking the total cost of the maximum number of entries and subtracting the prize pool. What you get left will be the contest rake. This can range from 8-9% to 15-20%, so watch out for contest with lower rakes.


These are the most common terms I will be referring to as this series rolls along. I am sure I missed a few other key terms that will be defined in future articles. Now comes the fun part! In part three of this series, we will start to take a personal approach and go over the first steps to design a personal bankroll management system!

PART 3 “Coming Soon”



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