Daily fantasy sports, otherwise known as DFS, is an up and
coming market in the world of online gambling. It’s going to be
incredibly popular, particularly in the United States. This is
largely due to the simplicity of the games and the legality of
the hobby. Displaced poker players and frustrated sports bettors
are just two of the markets this niche caters to. Players of
season long fantasy sports are also getting involved.
Smart players can find plenty of opportunities to profit from
daily fantasy sports but there is a learning curve. No one
becomes a professional sports bettor or poker player overnight
and the same rules apply with daily fantasy sports too.
The purpose of this page is to provide some advice for
beginners that will help them shorten the learning curve.
Several aspects of daily fantasy sports can be a challenge when
bettors aren’t properly prepared for them, so that’s why our
advice will help make sure that everyone is properly prepared.
Just remember that no matter how many daily fantasy sports
beginner tips you read, nothing is going to get you up to speed
as fast as actually getting in the ring. Our best tip is
therefore simply to get started as soon as possible. Sports fans
will especially appreciate just how fun this hobby can be.
Choose the Right DFS Site
An important part of getting the most out of playing daily
fantasy sports is using the best sites. Thankfully pretty much
all the available options are good places to play but there are
few that are especially high quality. Please take a look at our
top ranked daily fantasy sites to find out where we recommend
Please bear in mind that it’s unnecessary to limit yourself
to playing at just one site and there are actually some
advantages to using multiple sites. We also suggest that bettors
select which sites they’re going to use, according to what’s right for them. If you want to play fantasy golf as well as
fantasy football, for example, there’s no point in signing up
somewhere that doesn’t offer golf contests. In the same
respects, if your goal is to win the biggest prizes, then it
doesn’t make much sense to sign up with a smaller site that only
has small field contests.
Take Advantage of Bonuses
Most daily fantasy sports sites offer a 100% sign up bonus
for new customers. That means you’ll double the size of your
bankroll just by signing up. In many ways, this can be too good
to be true, so please make sure to pay attention to the fine
print in order to benefit from this bonus.
Specifically, it’s worth noting that the maximum deposit
bonus amount varies from one site to another. Site A, for
example, might offer a maximum of $200. When depositing more
than $200, there’s no additional bonus on the excess. Site B,
however, might offer a maximum of $600. Here’s why this matters.
Let’s say that the bettor decided he had $800 to play with
and deposited all of it to Site A; he would only receive $200 in
However, if that same bettor deposited his entire bankroll of
$800 to Site B, then he’d receive a more pleasant total of $600
in bonus money.
The most profitable approach he could have taken would have
been to deposit $200 to site A AND $600 to site B, earning a
hefty sum of $800 in bonus money!
With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to get maximum value
from the bonuses available at daily fantasy sites and it’s
definitely a goal to keep in mind. If you’re serious about
trying to win money, then always be on the lookout for
opportunities to maximize your expected value.
There’s another piece of fine print that bettors need to
understand about these bonuses. They’re not released into your
account immediately, but rather in stages as you take part in
real money contests. Read the terms and conditions for bonus
offers carefully and then be sure to do what you need to do in
order to get the maximum amount of money possible.
Remember the Salary Cap
Most season-long fantasy leagues don’t use a salary cap. The
draft is generally an almost all-day affair where participants
take turns selecting players, as once a player is drafted he’s
no longer available to the rest of the participants. The
differences in that set-up and the set-up that the daily fantasy
systems use couldn’t be more substantial.
One of the advantages to the daily fantasy sports hobby is
speed, as it doesn’t take long to set up a line-up. It’s
necessary to keep line-ups within a budget though, as they can’t
exceed the stipulated salary cap. Each player’s “salary” is
determined via algorithms that are unique to each site. These
algorithms take into account the player’s previous performance
and his projected performance.
Winning at daily fantasy sports requires finding value that
others miss. Bettors need to learn how to calculate how many
points per dollar a player might earn. This is a skill most
people don’t develop when learning how to play season-long
We’ve written a strategy article
explaining how to find value when drafting fantasy sports teams.
This contains a lot of useful advice for getting the most bang
for your buck.
Experiment with Different Types of Contests
You might be getting involved in daily fantasy sports for
nothing more than the entertainment value. If that’s the case,
please be sure to try the different types of contests available.
Decide which ones you like based on how much fun you had, and
then play more of those in the future.
On the other hand, you might be determined to make a profit
from your new hobby. In that case, focusing more on the cash
games might be the sensible route. You could focus mostly on
head-to-head games, for example, which are played against a
single opponent with the winner taking the prize pool. These are
games with relatively low payouts and low variance. A skilled
player can easily win more than half of these games
consistently. Players who play a lot of these types of contests
are called grinders.
Alternatively, you might be the type of person who’s looking
for a big score. If that’s the case, you’ll love the games with
the tournament format. There’s less chance of winning, but there
are much bigger cash prizes to be won. For example, you might
play in a contest with 1000 people, but only the players with
the top 100 scores get paid out. On top of that, the prizes are
staggered based on how high you scored. First place might pay
twice as much as second place, for example.
It’s almost impossible to know
which contests suit your specific temperament and goals until
you’ve tried them all. It’s advisable to understand how each
type works first, so we recommend reading our article on the
different types of daily fantasy sports contests.
Manage Your Bankroll Effectively
One of the crucial components of any gambling strategy is
effective bankroll management. The first step in this is
deciding how much to invest into a bankroll for the hobby. This
money needs to be earmarked for fantasy sports ONLY and should
be money that you’re happy to lose/spend. For obvious reasons,
don’t use rent or grocery money for this.
The main point of bankroll management, even for overall
winning players, is essentially to avoid going broke. This means
not putting your entire bankroll on the line on a single
contest. There’s always a chance of losing and with all your
money on one contest it’s very easy to go broke. Even with half
of your bankroll on one contest and the other half on another
contest, there’s still too much risk involved.
The bankroll requirements for daily fantasy sports vary based
on what kinds of contests you like to play. If you play mostly
cash games, where 50% of the players get paid out, you should
enter contests where you can afford at least ten entry fees.
Twenty is even better. That means if you have $1,000 in your
account, you might participate in 10 contests for $100 each but
20 contests for $50 each would be preferable.
When playing mostly tournaments, you need to account for the
increased difficulty in walking away a winner. It would be ideal
to have 40 to 80 times the entry fee in your bankroll. So with
$1,000, you’re looking at playing in the $25 and/or $10 entry
fee tournaments instead.
Remember, the goal is to avoid going broke. But if you’re a
losing player, no amount of effective bankroll management will
help. There are strategies available that will turn you into a
long term winner.
Get Ready for the Commissions
If you’re a sports bettor, you’re probably familiar with the
term vig or vigorish. Also known as juice, this is the
commission that sportsbooks and bookmakers charge their
customers. It’s basically how they make money. Daily fantasy
sports sites have to make money too, so they charge commissions.
If you’re not much of a sports bettor,
or just don’t really understand what the vig is, there’s an
article in our sports betting guide that would be interesting to
read. Inside we’ve written about all the different ways in which
bookmakers make money.
The commissions in daily fantasy sports are a little higher
than in traditional sports betting. Here’s the difference.
When you bet with a sportsbook, you bet $110 and lose the
entire amount when you lose. If you win, you get your $110 back
plus $100 profit. If you win 50% of the time, you’ll be losing
an average of $5 per bet because of the vig that the sportsbook
In daily fantasy sports, if a bettor risks $100, then their
opponent will also risk $100. The site keeps 10% of that, so
whoever wins gets $180 in prize money. If you win 50% of the
time, you’ll be losing an average of $10 per bet.
What the above shows us is that the commissions are basically
twice as high in daily fantasy sports, which causes some people
to believe that their commission is too high. We don’t think
that’s the case though, especially not for Americans. The pros
of playing an entirely legal game and being able to use
legitimate deposit and withdrawal methods far outweigh the cons
of paying a slightly higher commission.
Here’s another point in favor of daily fantasy sports. You’re
betting against other people in daily fantasy sports, many of
whom might not be as good at picking a winning roster as you
are. When betting against a bookmaker, the people on the other
end of the bet are almost certainly more knowledgeable than you
are. If they’re not, then you’re one of the exceptional sports
bettors and this entire page is probably not applicable for your
So, yeah, playing daily fantasy sports means paying extra
fees in commissions but that’s okay in our view.
Specialize and Focus
It’s difficult to be an expert at a lot of different things.
If you have dozens of goals and can’t focus on them all, you’ll
likely fail at achieving them. If you specialize, though, you
can focus on just one or two goals, and have every chance of
To win at daily fantasy sports, you’re going to have to be
considerably more skilled than the competition. That requires
developing a lot of knowledge and insight into the relevant
sports. If you focus and specialize on just one sport to begin
with, then you’re much more likely to find some success. Two
sports might be okay as well.
However, once you start trying to master fantasy sports for
three or four different sports, you’ll almost certainly start
losing the ability to get an edge. It’s unlikely that any
beginner is going to be able to master the intricacies of that
many sports at once. So our advice is to just focus on one at
The Vegas Lines Are Your Friends
No one in the world is better at calculating how the games
are going to turn out each week than the sportsbooks in Las
Vegas. This information can be used to your advantage when
playing daily fantasy sports if you know what to look out for.
For example, one of the most common bets offered by a Vegas
sportsbook is the over/under. It’s a bet that a game will go
over a certain number of points or under that number of points.
Theoretically, there’s approximately a 50% chance of winning
such a bet.
Suppose a game has an over/under bet of 47. For a bet on the
over to win, the teams would have to have a combined score of 46
or less. For a bet on the under to win, there would have to be a
combined score of at least 48 or better.
The games with the high over/under bets are the teams which
are expected to score the most points. Stacking players from
both sides of those games is one way to use the Vegas line to
make a decision about your line-up.
Combining that information with the point spread to determine
if that’s worthwhile or not is certainly a smart approach. If,
for example, the spread is only 3 points, then it’s clear that
Vegas expects that game to have almost the same number of points
on each side and still have a high scoring game. It would,
therefore, make sense to pick players from both teams. On the
other hand, if one team is favored by 14 points in that
situation, it might not want be such a good idea to stack
players from both sides of that game.
Make friends with the Vegas lines. There are all kinds of
ways to use that information to help you get an edge at daily
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
You’re new to the hobby. So what? Everyone was new at one
time. Everyone’s had losing streaks. It’s not the end of the
world. By following our advice about not risking money you need
for something else, like the rent for example, then losing at
fantasy sports isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s just part
of the learning process.
Repeating the same mistakes is something else entirely but,
even then, beating yourself up accomplishes nothing. Take the
following attitude to heart: no shame, no blame. There’s no need
to be ashamed if you have some bad luck and there’s no need to
blame yourself. As long as you’re learning and improving, then
there’s no reason not to be content.
In fact, maintaining this attitude will help you become a
winner in the long run. Calm people make better decisions and
Have Fun & Gamble Responsibly
Daily fantasy sports are a lot of fun and that’s really all
that matters for most people that play them. Unless you’re
determined to be a pro and make a living from them, you really
should focus on just having fun. Winning money is enjoyable of
course, but try not to let that become the main priority. Even
if you do go down the route of playing professionally, it’s
still important to enjoy playing. No-one should have a career
that they hate.
It should also be noted that one of the tell-tale signs of
gambling addiction is continuing to wager even when you’re not
enjoying yourself any more. That’s compulsion in action and it’s
ugly. So here’s a simple but vital piece of advice.
When you stop having fun, stop playing daily fantasy sports.
You can always pick the hobby up again later, after taking a
break, to see if it was just a mood swing on your part. Everyone
needs a break from something once in a while, even when it’s
something that they love. However, please get help if you
believe an addiction to gambling is a possibility. Don’t ruin
your life and the lives of your family members.
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