DFS Strategy Advice – Contest Selection and Bankroll Management
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017
By Fuego Steve
Today I will be discussing contest selection and how to maximize and manage your bankroll. For your bankroll, set a number you are comfortable being able to invest in a given time period. You can do it yearly, monthly, per sports season, or weekly. Once you have that number, you can determine how much you should spend on one day or a weekend of NFL. Most people do not put more than 5 to 10% of their total bankroll in play. Let’s say you have a $1000 bankroll. You should only play up to $100 at a time. Next, you need to decide where am I going to be putting that money. In other words, which contests will you enter. Some people follow the 80/20 rule. This means you should put 80% of your play in cash games (head to heads, double ups, and 50/50s), and 20% in tournaments, known as GPPs (guaranteed prize pool). Using the $100 example means only $20 goes in to tournaments. This can be hard to do without good discipline. Even if you have the discipline to stick to this rule, which tournaments do you put the $20? One of the hardest things to do in DFS is not enter those big GPPs with five or six figure payouts to first place. I am not saying you can’t play those contests, but that is not where you are going to be making most of your money. Even if you have the ability and the means to max enter 150 lineups, the odds of winning are extremely small with 10,000 or 100,000 entrants. If you are like me, you may not want to grind out cash games and focus mainly on tournaments. I am going to show you the best way to maximize your allotted tournament bankroll. And if you really don’t want to play cash games at all, there are other options to be able to cash on a consistent basis.
First, enter single-entry, 3-max and 5-max tournaments. DraftKings has some good 20 max GPPs as well, and Fanduel is starting to follow suit. No one can enter 50 or 150 lineups and therefore, it evens the playing field. In some of these contests you can still win thousands of dollars. Let’s do the simple math. If you put one entry in a 150-max tournament, you have 1/150 or 0.0067% of entries that are allowed. Even if you put just one entry in the 20-max, that number jumps to 1/20 or 0.05%. And if you put one entry in the 3-max, you have 1/3 or 33% of the max entries allowed. You can see the odds increase exponentially the lower you go. I suggest playing as many of these contests as you can before going after the big multi entry GPPs. I will enter all the single entries I can before putting entries in the 150-max contests. The 3-max tournaments are great if you like to do more than one lineup, but don’t have the money to play the 150-max.
Second, enter tournaments with as little entrants as possible. In some cases, this means playing higher dollar tournaments if you can afford them. Instead of putting in 10 $3 lineups in a contest, put one lineup in a $25 GPP. For example, in the beginning of the MLB season I was entering a lot of lineups in the $3 to $4 Squeeze on Fanduel. Let’s say I played 50 lineups, I still must beat 16,850 entries to win it all. In addition, these contests are top heavy so if you don’t place in the top five for example, the payouts really drop. I decided to change my strategy and switched over to playing the $100 Homerun. These are normally 65-150 entry field tournaments, with only 2-4 max entries. I have had great success playing in these GPPs even when only entering one lineup. You can’t win $10,000, but you can win $1500-$2500 having to only beat 100 people, as opposed to 17,000. Even to win $1500 in the large field GPP, you still have to finish ahead of nearly 17,000 entrants as opposed to 100. You don’t need to spend $100 a contest either to make money. There are plenty of lower dollar, small entry field tournaments you can enter. Sticking with Fanduel, here are some good NFL contests they offer;
The $5 Small Spike single entry has 470 entries. First place pays $250.
The $10 Small Scramble single entry has 352 entries. First place pays out $400.
The $25 Small Sweep single entry has only 94 entrants and pays out $400 to first place.
These are some examples of single entry, lower field tournaments where you can still get 10x to 40x ROI (return on investment). This is much more appealing to some than just being able to double their money. Yet, it is closer to a cash game as you can’t win those big payouts. However, stick with these and you can start to build that bankroll. As your bankroll grows, your contest selection can change if you want. Here is an example from this week’s Primetime slate.
My Primetime slate lineup was in contests for a total of $179. I put $100 in a small Blitz contest that paid out $800 to first. I entered $5, $10 and $25 small single entry contests. I then sprinkled in a couple $2, 10-max contests and played the $5 Small Rush. I tossed it in a $1 satellite to next week’s millionaire and just in case I hit the nuts, threw it in the $25 Bomb and $4 Showdown, which are multi entry contests. I came in 38th of 2,353 and 1,657th of 88,235 in the two big multi entry GPPS winning a total of $165. Not too bad, however, my total winnings off the $179 was $1,695. So where did I make my money? Obviously, from the single entry and small field contests. The $100 Blitz had only 17 entries and the $25 single entry only had 94 entries. I ended up winning them both. Besides those two wins totaling $1200, I came in 2nd of 235 in the $10, 3rd of 235 in the Small Rush and 16th of 705 in the $5 single entry. I made 10x ROI and cleared over $1500, not a bad night. After a while of winning like this you will be able to start entering the larger field GPPs if you choose and not blow your whole bankroll.
In summary, the goal is to be able to keep playing and build that bankroll. Does it really matter if you win $10,000 in one day or over a year? Once you have a large enough bankroll, you will be able to enter higher dollar contests and multi entry large field GPPs. Or, you may just be happy winning on a consistent basis. It took me a long time to understand bankroll management and I am still learning. Remember, the lower entry field tournaments you can get in, the better chance you have to win. We all like dreaming about that big payday and $100,000. But the truth is, without max entering, it is more of a pipe dream. Make good decisions with your contest selection. Don’t spend more than your allotted percent of your bankroll.