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Matt Smith Goes From Top Poker Pro To Daily Fantasy Sports Millionaire

Floridian Shakes Off Black Friday and Finds New Lucrative Career Playing Daily Fantasy Sports

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Matt Smith at the WSOPMatt Smith had an excellent summer at the World Series of Poker, making two final tables and running deep in the main event to cash for a total of more than $110,000. In total, the former online poker specialist who goes by the name “SamENole” has earned more than $500,000 in live poker tournaments and another $1.15 million online.

Needless to say, Smith is a very good poker player. But what’s scary is that he might be an even better Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) player.

Last year, Smith made headlines when he outlasted a field of 92,400 entries to win the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest, earning a $1 million payday.

Since then, he’s only solidified himself as one of the top DFS players in the game today. He recently got back from a VIP trip that included a $12,500 buy-in contest for 20 top players, a stay at a five-star hotel and a suite at the NFL opening night game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough, Massachusetts along with a private jet to Miami Beach the next day for a party at the Fontainebleu Hotel.

Card Player caught up with Smith to talk about his new lucrative career playing DFS.

Card Player: You were one of the original online poker pros. What got you into playing DFS?

Matt Smith: I was playing season long fantasy sports for years and one of my friends in my league told me about FanDuel. I put in a couple hundred dollars and didn’t win right away, but eventually I got the hang of it and did fairly well. Then I started trying other sites like DraftDay and DraftKings.

CP: Did you immediately recognize that there was a lot of money to be made or did it start as just a hobby?

MS: At first, it was just a hobby. After Black Friday I was kind of scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. I ended up just grinding $2-$5 and $5-$10 at the Hard Rock, playing DFS on the side. Then I started to win more consistently and it kind of took over as my main job.

CP: It seems like DFS advertisements are on during every commercial break, especially during live sporting events. It’s like a DFS boom.

MS: There are a lot of similarities between what is going on in the DFS world and what happened during the Moneymaker boom. There’s a lot of money to be made right now and it definitely reminds me of the early days of online poker.

CP: There are plenty of former online poker players who have successfully made the transition to DFS. What makes poker players so good at it?

MS: It’s tough to explain, but there are some reasons why poker players make good DFS players. Managing a bankroll is a very important skill to have, so poker players will have that advantage when they first start playing. Even just knowing the numbers, which most poker players do, will help just because DFS is all about knowing and being able to somewhat predict the stats.

CP: Do you have any complicated programs that help you set your lineups?

MS: I don’t do any of that stuff. For cash games such as 50/50s or heads-up, I’ll generally spend an hour or so doing my research to construct the best lineup possible. But for tournaments, it’s much quicker. Because you are playing against a lot of players, you generally just want to find a way to be contrarian. You want a solid lineup, but you also want a couple of guys who nobody is drafting that you think are going to have a big day.

CP: Are you playing more DFS or poker these days?

MS: Right now, I’m probably spending about 80 percent of my working time on DFS. Basically the only poker I’m playing these days is at the World Series of Poker and occasionally at the local casino. Maybe once every couple of weeks or so I’ll go to the Hard Rock and play.

CP: How did winning that $1 million prize change your life?

MS: After Black Friday, it was just a grind to get by. I mean, I was doing alright but I wasn’t getting rich or anything. So that score definitely took a lot of the pressure off. Not having to worry about going on a bad run or going bust is a great feeling.


If you want 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.