DFS Bankroll Management
Sean Beazley discusses the importance of bankroll management specific to daily fantasy sports.
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Bankroll management is something all new players struggle with. Most people learn the hard way like I did. I was a big time online poker player during the poker boom back in the early 2000s.
I would make a deposit on Monday night for $100 and crush games all week, sometimes increasing my bankroll to 5-10 times my initial buy-in. Then the dreaded weekend would come. I’d hit the bars like most people in their 20s, and then come home after a long night and decide it would be a wise idea to try and crush the 15/30 game.
Most mornings, or sometimes afternoons, I woke up to $0 in my account. The .50/1 or 1/2 game I was dominating on a consistent basis was much different from playing in the 15/30 game against the sharks. I had a couple of big cashes from time to time, but the cycle was pretty vicious.
Times have changed since then. I’m married and have a three-year-old daughter, so it was very important that I learned from those mistakes if I was going to be putting money on the line again.
I have been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years — including standard, keeper, dynasty and auction leagues. The more in depth, the more I liked it. The best part of fantasy sports is the draft itself.
I had heard of sites like FanDuel but always questioned the legality of it after being burned and turned away from online poker after it became “illegal.” I was turned on to DFS by FantasyPros, and my very first daily contest was their contest on Draftstreet in 2013. I did fairly well that year and by year’s end, I had a nice little bankroll to work with.
The obvious advice I give to new players is to play within your limits and don’t chase the big payday. If you aren’t willing to deposit the next week, I only recommend putting about 10% of your bankroll on the line on most weeks. I like the 10% rule because it gives you a little cushion when you hit a funk, and believe me, you will at some point during the year.
After winning my first MLB GPP this year, I went three straight weeks where I lost 75-80% of my entries each night. If I weren’t disciplined with my money, I would have lost my entire bankroll.
Cash games should be your bread and butter. I’m playing 60-70% of my daily wager in cash games, and the rest in tournaments. This is a little more aggressive than others, but I just love tournaments.
Cash games will help you sustain your bankroll, which will allow you to keep playing those awesome GPP tournaments. If I’m in a rut in GPPs, I’ll increase my cash game percentage.
Find that magic number you are comfortable losing on a giving day. This will vary based on your bankroll. If you are losing sleep over your losses, then you need to lower that number. Losing sleep because you are mad that you played player X over player Y is completely normal, though.
Be prepared to lose. You may dominate your yearly league every year, but DFS is a whole different beast. It takes a lot of preparation and studying to be successful.
Don’t input lineups without research. Informed decisions are your best decisions.
Take advantage of freerolls. There are dozens of freerolls being offered weekly that either pay money or tickets for entries, both of which are just as good as cash in my mind. All it takes is some searching on the net or Twitter, and you will be locked and loaded.
Get the max deposit bonus a site offers. If a site only matches 100% up to $200, then deposit the full amount. If you don’t like the site, you can always withdraw your money (minus the bonus).
Too many people deposit $25-50 to “try it out” and then kick themselves when they know they could have received a higher matched bonus. The deposit bonus pays off slowly, but it’s free money.
Referring a friend is one of the easiest ways to get some free cash or entries. DraftKings, for example, gives you a free entry into their Millionaire Maker tournament for every person you refer who makes a deposit. Get creative, and get people to sign up. The commissions on top of the free entries you get add up as well.
Overlay in tournaments will also help you maintain your bankroll. The more overlay, the better odds you have of cashing. There are a ton of sharp players who pound on overlay daily and are very good at doing so.
You kind of get a feel on what contests will and will not fill. If FanDuel is running a big MLB tournament one night, there is a good chance in seeing some overlay on DraftKings in some of their larger buy-in contests because many will just chase the money on the site running the bigger payout. I monitor overlay 15-30 minutes before contests lock, and usually don’t start pounding lineups in until five minutes before lock.
Thousands of entries can be entered in the final minutes, so don’t go nuts too soon. There have been times where a large 50/50 tournament was at 60% with 5-10 minutes left and it filled to capacity.
I used my poker reference in the beginning because game selection is very important, and this holds true in DFS as well. I’d rather play 50 $1 head-to-head contests against lesser competition than to run out five $10 head-to-head contests. The higher the buy-in the better the competition is usually. Plus, there is more variance with playing 50 unique opponents.
Keep track of who you are dominating in cash games, and study their lineups. Were they just unlucky, or did they make sound decisions? Use an excel file to keep track and pounce on these people’s games when you see them.
Finally, have you ever heard the phrase, “happy wife, happy life?” This is probably the most important rule of all. Withdraw your winnings!
Take your family on a vacation with your DFS winnings, buy your kids/spouse something nice or just use the money to pay off some bills. Using your winnings to help out your family is such a rewarding feeling, especially since they have to put up with us all year long.