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How I Won Big Playing NBA Daily Fantasy Sports Contests

The Thrill Of The Big Score When Everything Falls Into Place


You can play NBA daily fantasy sports contests nearly every night of the week on both DraftKings and FanDuel.

“Honey, tonight could be the night."

Staying Optimistic Despite Numerous Close Calls

I must have said these words to my wife 100 times or so over the last year and half since I started playing daily fantasy sports. Any time my players started off hot I would get home from playing poker and tell her that I thought I had a shot to finally break through with a big score in DFS. I’d say the words and follow them up with a couple hours of excitedly sweating games. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that I didn’t have the right combination of players in my lineup to lock in a big win. The $27 Crossover contest on DraftKings, for example, offers great value and is a lot of fun with a $100,000 prize pool. I would get close to the top spot, but always fell just a bit short.

Guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) in DFS are similar to multi-table poker tournaments. They’re top heavy and you simply don’t win them very often because everything has to go pretty much perfectly for you to come out on top. Of course, you could always simultaneously play 50/50s to slowly grow your bankroll while trying to make the big score. When I would tell my wife that this could be the night, I was referring to the possibility of one of my lineups being good enough to take down one of the GPPs.

Keep in mind, I’m a small-stakes grinder in DFS. That’s how I built a poker bankroll and that’s how I always intended to build a DFS bankroll. So the idea of winning even a $5 buy-in tournament that paid $700 or $1,500 to the winner was very alluring to me. Although, it’s not a large sum in the grand scheme of things, the boost to my DFS bankroll would be enormous. The feeling of accomplishment would be even better.

“Honey, tonight’s the night, I can feel it.”

Putting It All Together

This is what I said to my wife last Tuesday night as my NBA teams were looking really good when I got home around 7:30. She failed to catch the slight difference in what I said. She laughed like she always does and poked fun at me because she thought it was going to end with me winning $84 and being frustrated that I failed once again to land the big score. I had other plans though.

A couple of my players had strong performances earlier in the night and were not highly owned among the field. Also, not one player in my lineup had been a dud thus far. To top it off, I had three players of my nine-player lineup remaining and there were only two games left on the night. I was already pushing into the top 25 or so in the 1,000 player fields and I was in the top 500 of a 57,000+ entry tournament.

The points just kept flowing. All three of my players were having strong performances and I was climbing the leader boards quickly. My entry fees for the night were $128. The first time I showed my wife the update screen I was winning something like $240. She said “whoop dee doo," but I knew we still had a whole half of basketball to be played in two different games, and I was already in striking distance of the leaders.

A Happy Accident

For NBA DFS I typically enter multiple tournaments but use only one lineup in all of them. Earlier in the night I had three different lineups I liked but decided to use only two. At some point I realized that my best lineup accidentally had two entries in ‘The Shot’, which is a FanDuel NBA tourney with a $2 buyin and 57,400 or so people. This turned out to be pretty lucky, since that lineup had a chance to win it all. I could be looking at a first and second-place finish with the same lineup.

The next time I showed my wife the update screen, it said $450. She still wasn’t excited but I was pretty sure if things went even decently we’d start to see some exponential growth. When it reached $700 after a simple layup I realized we were in for a treat and turned the game on to watch. Every time one of my guys did anything, a rebound, an assist, anything at all, my winnings would go up. $1,200… $1,800… $2,300… Oh, boy.

Toward the end of the Toronto game, the number had climbed to over $8,800 with about 5 seconds left. Sacramento made a bucket with 1.6 seconds remaining to cut the lead to four points. Game over… or so I thought. But wait, one of my players, Kyle Lowry, caught the in-bounds pass, and they fouled him! Lowry went up and nailed both free throws like a champion which was enough to net me an extra $4,500!

Finally Getting The Big Score

I ended up winning multiple tournaments that I entered. I also finished second and third place in ‘The Shot’ with the same lineup to profit $5,996 on my $4 investment in that tournament. All told, I won about $13,500 on the night from a $128 investment. It was completely thrilling watching those games and winning that amount of money. It was also extremely satisfying to know that all of the hard work and effort I’ve devoted to daily fantasy sports over the last year and a half finally resulted in me coming out on top.

For about 30 seconds after I showed my wife the final tally, she stood there, jaw on the floor. You best believe I gloated to her about it some. That night, actually was, THE night!

Find me on Twitter @IanJ300 with any DFS questions.

If you think you are ready to play, check out our Daily Fantasy Sports page. Card Player readers eligible for deposit bonuses of 100 percent on a number of the best DFS sites around.

You can play NBA DFS contest nearly every day of the week on both DraftKings and FanDuel. For just $2, you can compete for your share of $50,000 in the Layup contest on DraftKings. Or you can step it up to a $27 buy-in in the Crossover and score big with a $100,000 prize pool. At FanDuel, $2 gets you entry into the $125,000 Shot contest and $25 gets you a shot at $300,000 in the Super Slam.



over 6 years ago

why not just play 50/50 leagues and have a good mix of the two.