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Daily Fantasy Sports: Tips and Strategies to Help You Have Fun and Succeed

Basic Daily Fantasy Sports Strategic Advice For Poker Players


I recall my first experience opening up a daily fantasy sports site. I was simultaneously in my own personal heaven and completely overwhelmed with no idea what to do or where to start.

My goal here is to provide you with some basic daily fantasy sports strategic advice so you can have a more relaxing and enjoyable experience your first time around and make some money. Card Player readers who want to try daily fantasy sports get a free chance to win $1 million at DraftKings.

Establishing and Managing a Bankroll

The term “bankroll management” is popular in the poker world and is absolutely applicable to daily fantasy sports. In fact, it is the single most important thing you should learn when beginning daily fantasy sports to ensure yourself a fun and possibly profitable experience.

Daily fantasy sports is a game of skill that has a large element of luck. So in order to prevent yourself from being wiped out of the game, you need to play within your means and not put too much of your bankroll on the line on a given day or weekend.

Just like poker, no matter how well you play, you need to account for luck and the certainty that you are not going to win every session or every day. My rule is to never put more than about 15 percent of my bankroll into play on any given day. At least while you learn the ropes, using smart bankroll management and playing within your means is the way to go, from both a financial and enjoyment standpoint.

Games to Play

There are a myriad of contest options to choose from when playing daily fantasy sports. I’m going to go through each of them so you can learn about some general strategy and shorthand lingo for each.

H2H – Head 2 Head – This is exactly as it sounds. You put up $5, as does your opponent. The site takes its rake and you guys battle it out for the rest. Your goal when building lineups for this game type is to eliminate as much risk as possible when choosing your players. So players like Peyton Manning or Lebron James are generally some of the strongest plays in this type of game. The reason is that they perform at a high level nearly every time out. They’re consistent. That consistency doesn’t come cheap though, as their salaries are going to be among the highest on the site in their respective sports.

50/50 – In these contests, the strategy is the same as the head 2 head contests. The difference is, these are large field contests where the top half of the field simply doubles their money. If 100 players enter, it doesn’t matter if you finish in 1st place or 50th place, you’ve doubled your money. Finish 51st, and you are the bubble boy.

GPP – Guaranteed Prize Pools – Here we have the sexy contests. GPPs are the equivalent of multi-table poker tournaments. Buy in for $27, beat 92,000 people, and win yourself $1 million. Or, buy in for $0.25, beat a few thousand people, and win yourself $45 if that’s more your speed. The point is, these are hands down the most exciting way to play daily fantasy sports. Because who doesn’t love a chance to profit exponentially on a small buy-in? These are, however, the highest risk form of daily fantasy sports in terms of frequency of cashing, just as multi-table tournaments are the highest risk form of poker. You need to play even smaller portions of your bankroll in these contests, because the times you finish in the money can be few and far between. The goal of lineup construction is to increase your volatility in these contests. So instead of maximizing safety, you’re looking to maximize upside with each spot in your lineup. When you spend a ton on someone like Peyton Manning in a GPP, it’s hard to fill out your roster with other players who can perform at the elite levels needed to win a GPP. This isn’t to say you can’t use Manning in a GPP, just that he might not be your best option, all things considered.

How to Tackle Daily Fantasy Sports

As a new player, the best thing you can do is to make an initial determination of how much you’re comfortable playing with and deposit that amount. This can be your initial bankroll. After making a deposit, and Card Player offers great deposit bonuses, it’s time to enter some contests. My advice would be to only put about 10-15 percent of your bankroll at risk on a given night. This will give you time to learn the game without wiping out your bankroll if you run into some bad luck. If you plan to play some GPPs, and let’s be honest, you will, I’d advise to play an even smaller percentage (1-3 percent) of your bankroll in these tournaments because of their inherent variance. Regardless of the amount you deposit, be it $20 or $5,000, by following this kind of structure when playing, you will give yourself a strong chance to learn the ropes and enjoy yourself while not putting your entire deposit at risk.

Best of luck!

Any questions? Find me on Twitter @IanJ300 and I’d be happy to give my best answer. Come back next week for more strategy talk.

Card Player readers who want to try daily fantasy sports get a free chance to win $1 million at DraftKings. Open an account today and get a free $27 ticket to the DraftKings NFL $2.2 Millionaire Maker.