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4 Lessons DFS Players Can (or Should) Learn from Other Professionals

Steve Shoup

With all the tools available today – and if you didn’t do it yet, you should check these ones out – it doesn’t take much to become a good and smart Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) player.


While this is great for the development of the DFS industry and to bring new players in, those who are in since the beginning of time have already notice it also translates in one, undeniable truth: a tougher field.


The only way to succeed in DFS today is to evolve and to that ahead of the curve. To help you do that, today I decided to try to pin down some essential skills DFS players can learn from the worlds of trading, gambling, and poker.


If you are planning to stay in DFS for long, have a look at these four points and feel free to post your thoughts on the comments below.

1. The Trader’s Lesson: Follow the News


Since you are here on Fanspeak, I am going to assume you follow the news already and you know how important this is to be a winner at DFS.


In the world of finance and trading, news are everything. Being able to know where to find the right news and how to follow only the most reliable sources is the key to being able to predict market movements and trends, and to close your days in the black.


Exactly as a trader would do, good DFS players need to follow the news, to know what happens to the teams and the players at any given time, and – which is probably the harder part – to know how to identify the right sources.


To help you do that, here’s a quick exercise that Bjorn E., an analyst from Sweden-based Nordea Bank suggested me a few years ago.


  1. Take pen and paper and write down the names of the top five news outlets you read to keep yourself informed about DFS and sports.


  1. Write down the names of the authors you trust most.


  1. Write down why you trust each one of them.


If you have a hard time to remember the author’s names or to understand what makes you trust them, think twice before you base any decisions on what they say or write.


Bjorn says a trader would never invest based on news he can’t trust. So, my question is: why should you?


2. The Gambler’s Lesson: Manage Your Bankroll


Whether you play for free or for real money, as a DFS player you are always going to have a limited amount of resources available.


That’s why we love DFS. Only the smartest ones survive, provided they know how to manage their bankroll and how to attribute the correct value to every penny, credit, buck they have.


In this, DFS is exactly like gambling and DFS players are exactly like gamblers: individuals looking for ways to invest their limited resources to get the maximum possible return (and some fun, too).


A few days ago, I stumbled upon an interesting guide on how to manage a casino bankroll that I believe many wannabe serious DFS players should read.


That article shows how concepts like “Scared Money” and bet sizing apply to DFS exactly as they do to gambling.


Gamblers lose all the time, and unless you are Peter Jennings or Ryan Daut, chances are you will too. This is why, like a professional gambler, you need to be able to manage your finances in a way that makes losses sustainable.


Professional gamblers only play with the money they can afford to lose, and so should you. To say with Justin Bennet’s words: “Attempting to justify the use of rent money, your grocery budget or any funds needed to pay for living expenses as risk capital is a huge mistake.”


“As soon as you begin hoping for a particular outcome, you open the door for unwanted emotions to creep in such as fear and greed.” And the moment that happens, you are no longer in the game.


3. The Poker Player’s Lesson (1): Keep Variance in Mind


DFS is considered to be the bread-and-butter of many poker players (read: Haralabos Voulgaris) and that’s mainly because they know how to deal with variance better than anyone else.


Poker players know that their expected result and the real result of their actions are going to differ more often than they would like, and that’s why they survive by adapting to the game and switching gears every time they need.


A gambler’s approach to bankroll management and the ability to recognise and use variance are crucial skills for a poker player as much as they are for any DFS one.


Think about this scenario: a is called by an opponent who holds KK. While the first player has 80 percent chances to win the hand, he can’t discount the fact that his opponent still has 20 percent chances to come out with the winning hand.


This is variance in a nutshell. If you want to be a good DFS player, you need to be like a poker player or like a blackjack player who knows how to count cards, if this example work better for you.


You need to identify variance, to anticipate it, and to use your bankroll management skills to beat it.


4. The Poker Player’s Lesson (1): Don’t Fall in Love


Winning poker players do not have a favourite hand. They don’t get married to hands because they know every poker hand is different and they know that what made them win today might be the reason they go bust tomorrow.


Likewise, try not to get married to any players you draft. I understand it’s easy to do so – especially when you find yourself on a winning streak -, but you should try as hard as you can to keep your head cool and to reset your lineup every time you need to.


Every game is different, every situation is different, every day is a new one. Great poker players never focus on the past but they use it to build the foundations for a successful future. Learn to be like them,and your DFS results will change overnight.



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