“One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider. “ -Sky Masterson, ‘Guys and Dolls’
(DISCLAIMER: This is an article on discipline. As a gift, if you get to the end, you will be rewarded with the greatest scene from all of cinema.)
One of the wonderful things about gambling is how reliable it is. No matter what, over a long enough period of time, the odds are always stacked against you. What that means is, over a long enough period of time, you will lose. Ominous, I know. But, Daily Fantasy sites like Draft Kings or Fan Dual are not technically gambling. They are technically, in the eyes of the law, a ‘skill game.’ This distinction makes them legal for online betting on a state by state basis.
“In the United States, the legality of DFS has been determined on a state-by-state basis based on local gambling laws and other rulings. The federal (UIEGA) contains language dictating that fantasy sports are not considered an unlawful wager under the act; however, the act only prohibits the electronic transfer of funds from unlawful gambling as defined under state laws.” –Wikipedia (a totally acceptable source to quote from…) Act Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement
Now just to be clear, it is my opinion that daily fantasy site are ABSOLUTELY GAMBLING ARE YOU KIDDING ME ITS OBVIOUSLY GAMBLING and with that said I do have some advice to expound should you participate in DFS for football specifically. That advice is this ‘The House always wins.’
Q: How does this apply to DFS gamers?
A: Become the house.
1) Know all the rules.
Because this is a game that requires actual real-world money, you want to make sure you know exactly how to play before you pay. Know the number of places paid. Know the games you’re allowed to pick from. Know the number of entrants. KNOW EVERYTHING YOU CAN.
“Ipsa Scientia Potestas Es, Bitches.” –Sir Francis Bacon
2) Be more conservative in more conservative games.
This is really the meat and potatoes of this article. If you want to make money playing DFS you need to know how to be smarter than the next person over. Because you are playing against actual people, here is what I recommend. Pick a 50/50 game where the top half of players get payouts. By doing this, you only need to place in the top half to win money. Now, pick players with a very high reliability rating. Who regularly puts up acceptable numbers. Who is a ‘High Floor’ player that shows up every week. What you’re doing here is drafting a team that will, more often than not, put up decent numbers. The way this ends up making you money is that your assuming that at least half of the humans you’re playing against are not going to do this. They are going to take shots on players they think will blow up one week. They are going to bet on a hunch or a gut feeling and more often than not they are going to lose. This is because of one simple rule about gambling:
GUT FEELINGS DON’T AFFECT THE ODDS.
What a gut feeling is is a trick. You, once upon a time, placed a bet on a gut feeling and you won! What happened next is your brain told you that if you take a chance on your gambling intuition you can win big. Because you are special, and your intuition is guided by angels. Because you are the center of the universe and the main character of life.
AND YOU ARE! But this doesn’t affect the odds of gambling…
So, become the house. Be more conservative with your picks than the other guy. Pick players who get points every week and let them guess who is going to explode one week. Because, more often than not, they will lose that bet. Which means you win in a 50/50 game. Let them beat themselves. Be more disciplined than them. Become the house.
3) Don’t play in big contests.
This one is kind of a tough subject to write about. The appeal of DFS is that you might become a millionaire. I’m telling you that you won’t. Not by playing in Millionaire makers at least. I know that daily fantasy sports sites don’t want me to say this but neither you, nor anyone you know, will ever win 1 million dollars by gambling. Odds are you will never meet anyone in your lifetime who wins 1 million dollars gambling. Statisticians have put the average number of people we meet in our lifetimes at around ten thousand. Assume each one of them plays 10 DFS games in their lifetime and it would take you ten of your own lifetimes to meet any one of them.
All this to make my point, DON’T PLAY IN BIG CONTESTS. That said, here is how to win money in big contests:
4) Don’t be conservative at all in big contests.
It is literally the exact opposite of rule 2 (The only rule you should follow) and it is the only way to win money in big contests (which you won’t). Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Pick the most outrageous team possible. Because it doesn’t really matter. There is no rhyme or reason to who gets 300 yards and 5 TDs in a game. Sure, you could consult a statistician and aggregate all the possible player combinations to find the best possible team. But it won’t be that team. Because that’s not how maths works…
This Meme Literally Never Gets Old
So you’ve made it this far and for that, you get a reward. You love football. You love it so much that you feel empowered with your knowledge of it. You feel you might be able to leverage your knowledge and your love of football into some money. You absolutely can do this as long as you don’t divert away from your real-world knowledge of football. So what do you know? You know this year, Leonard Fornette has 6 touchdowns in six games. You know Kareem Hunt is getting almost 100 yards from scrimmage in every game. You know that Tom Brady is still the GOAT.
So don’t get fancy. You don’t win money by getting fancy. We all remember what happened to Gunner Stahl when he decided to be all fancy and go Glove side. Don’t be fancy, be scrupulous.
Thank you for reading! I know it wasn’t the most uplifting article because being told to gain discipline is tough. As a reward, here is the greatest scene in all of cinema, Gunner Stahl, trying to be fancy…