The DFS Accountant - Week 2
Hey everybody. My name is Keagan Scott and I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana. Over the NFL season, I’ll be covering beginner and basic strategies to help you win money on DraftKings & FanDuel. Over the last few years, I’ve finally started to win consistent money playing DFS, but it definitely wasn’t the case early on which is the exact reason I’m writing this piece. We’re going to cover all the basic strategies to help you not lose your first and second deposit as fast as they reeled you in with those 4,000 commercials. Hopefully you’ll be able to start winning money consistently and maybe even get lucky enough to hit a big jackpot. This week’s topic is going to be discussing the different game types that apply to both sites: Cash games vs GPP’s. Both have their advantages and they’re equally important to understand as one lineup might not be optimal for both game types.
There are essentially two types of tournaments you can play: Cash Games and GPP’s. Let’s take a look at both more closely to help better understand what they are and what sorts of lineups we should be creating to increase our chances of becoming profitable.
Essentially, cash games are ones that pay out a larger percentage of the field, but you don’t win as much money as you would in a GPP. Typically, you’re going to make double your entry fee in a cash game depending on which one you play (turning $5 into $10 if you finish in the top 50%). There are few different types of cash games and they are:
- Head to head
- Playing against one other person.
- In a head to head you’re going to make 1.8 times your entry fee. In a $1 buy in, if you beat your opponent you’re going to walk away with $1.80. The problem becomes if you play 100 opponents with the $1 entry fee you’re going to have to win 56 of them to become profitable because of the fee that DraftKings takes. (-$100 + ($1.80*56) = $0.80). So you’ve made 80 cents profit if you win 56 of your 100 head to head matchups and I don’t think a lot of people quite understand that. Most would think as long as you win half of them you’re fine and that’s far from true. Basically, your lineup needs to be in the 60th percentile for you to even earn a profit. Now on the other hand, let’s say you rostered Spencer Ware and Brandin Cooks last week and you’ve won 86 of your 100 matchups. If you entered at a $2 entry fee (meaning $3.60 would go to the winner) you’ve now made a profit of $109.60 (-$200 + ($3.60*86) = $109.60).
- The top 50% of entries get paid (close to double your entry fee).
- In a 10 man 50/50, the top five finishers will get paid out.
- For example, let’s say you’re in a 10 man 50/50 with a $10 entry fee. The top five finishers will each take home $18. So you’re not making as much money as you would in a double up (as you’ll see next) but you have a slightly better chance of staying in the money. 50/50’s are a lot like head to head in terms of the payout being around 1.8X your entry fee and the chances of being in the money (50% chance), but you’re playing against more than just one opponent.
- Double Ups
- Slightly less than 50% double their entry fee.
- Double ups differ from head to head and 50/50’s in regards to the payout and the chances of being in the money. In a 100 person double up with a $10 entry fee, around 45 people will get $20. So you have a slightly less chance of winning money (45% versus 50% in a 50/50) but you come away with a larger payout (2x versus 1.8x).
- Cash game tips
- If you go into DraftKings and click on head to heads, even at the $1 range you’re going to see a lot of sharp players looking to take on less experienced players. You can spot these guys by the badges next to their username. Avoid them! Also, don’t post a head to head because you’re more than likely going to be playing someone who is going to crush you. Only play a head to head if you’re joining one that isn’t posted by a shark. I tend to avoid them because of this reason.
- Take a look at the screenshot below. This is at the $1 buy in level and all of the current games posted are by guys who have a ton of experience. Again, look at the badge next to their name. Don’t play them, unless you’re feeling real lucky and don’t post a match either as one of them will scoop it up.
- Double ups are my favorite type of cash game to play because there is typically a wide range of skill with the people who are entering so you’re not facing a ton of pro’s. I like to go with the $5 and $10 double ups because of this and although there will be sharp players, there won’t be even close to as many.
- GPP stands for “Guaranteed Prize Pools” and they’re also commonly referred to as tournaments. These are vastly different from cash games meaning your lineup construction needs to be different as well. The most common GPP is the Millionaire Maker and I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercials of guys holding up giant checks spraying champagne everywhere. Although DraftKings made it seem like any regular joe could do this, you have to understand the chances of getting a huge score like that are very unlikely. Typically, you’ll see these tournaments with 200,000 to 500,000 people in it, all vying for the chance to become a millionaire.
- GPP’s are very attractive because of the high payout and life changing money, but the risk is also much higher as you’re more than likely not going to regain your entry fee. Although the chances of hitting the million are small, we can still do a lot of different things to make sure we gain our money back and possibly hit a decent sized payout. The first thing you want to do is check out each tournament and find out a couple of key tidbits of information. Below are a couple of things you want to look for if you’re going to be profitable:
- What’s the entry fee?
- Make sure you stay within your limits. Having 50 lineups in a $1 entry fee tournament is much more preferable than one lineup in a $50 entry fee tournament.
- How much is going to first?
- Usually you’ll see anywhere from 10-25% being paid to the first place winner. I like finding tournaments near 10-15 because that means the payout isn’t as top heavy and finishing seventh can still get you a large payout. As an example, this week’s millionaire maker is paying $5,000,000 in total prizes and $1,000,000 to first so 20% is going to the top finisher.
- What’s the percentage getting their money back?
- This varies a lot from tournament to tournament and I have learned that researching this and entering the best tournaments can be huge for your wallet. Finding the best chances to earn your money back, but still having a decent chance at a lot of money is a very underrated aspect of playing daily fantasy. Typically you’ll see anywhere from 20-30% getting paid out. I obviously like to enter the ones near 30.
- In this week’s millionaire maker, there are a total of 289,000 entrants and 81,475 of them will be paid out, which is 28%. Pretty solid for a millionaire maker to be honest. Having nearly a ? chance to get my money back and in the event I get lucky, possibly taking home a million dollars? As Cam Brady would say, “I’ll take those odds, any day of the week.” Note: if you don’t know who Cam Brady is, I’m not sure we can be friends.
I remember when I first started playing on DraftKings just throwing lineups together as I sat on the toilet and choosing random contests that fit my budget, hoping I hit something big. I soon lost my first deposit and learned that if I actually wanted to make money on this I needed to do some research. Not just regular research in terms of what is this player’s projection and how good is the defense he’s playing. I’m talking about researching the different contests on the site you play and making sure you’re playing your optimal lineup for each type. All contests are not created equal. I know all of you are probably smarter than the average football fan and I thought I was as well. I thought my above average football IQ would lead me to be profitable, but that was far from the case.
Choosing which game type that best fits your style and goals is a huge step in becoming profitable. Take the time to go through each contest and check out which one you feel gives you the best chance to win, measuring the payout versus the risk involved. The next big step is learning how to construct a lineup to maximize your chances of getting paid in that specific contest. A GPP lineup is much different than a cash game lineup and that’s what I’ll be going over next week as I discuss how I go about constructing lineups for each type of contest.
Thanks again and follow me on Twitter: @Keagan28.