Saturday, October 10, 2015

FanDuel Chronicles

As most of our tens of readers know, I have been writing a bit about FanDuel and my experience with it.  Things are getting more interesting now with regards to the service and I thought a summary post might be a good one for me to write up.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that the FanDuel "pushers" re-upped to my now empty account a buck to get me to play again.  I did, and failed as usual.  This is no doubt due to my spending (literally) 3 minutes on my picks for my fantasy team.  As with anything you get out of it what you put into it - garbage in, garbage out.

This week they not only gave me another buck, which I accepted, but entered me in a "free roll" contest to win a Mini Cooper, among other cash prizes.  With the $1 I entered a 50/50 league, where half of the contestants win.

For the "free roll" contest I did a little bit of analysis.  As of this writing there were 314,165 entries (and growing) and prizes are paid out to the top 701 entries.  By my calculations, that is the top twenty two ten thousandths of entries (.0022313 to be exact) who will come home with some sort of payout in this contest.  I may have written that incorrectly - it has been a while since I had to compute any sort of fraction that tiny.  As you can see, your chances of winning anything in this contest are slim, to say the least, even with some sort of algorithm that you may have created.  But hey, if someone is going to hand me a free lottery ticket, I am going to scratch it off.

Speaking of algorithms, setting up your own algorithm is obviously the only way to make money at the daily fantasy game.  You have to choose players based on their best possible value, and the only way to do that is to study injury charts, look at the weather, scan the wires for injury updates, and crunch numbers.  If it is fun, you probably aren't doing it right, to coin a phrase.  And you will lose if you are just picking based on "feel" or "gut".

I do feel that I received a lot of value for the $21 that I lost last year, however.  It makes watching seemingly stupid games much more exciting when real money is riding on it.  And I can see how if you wanted to set up a private league with a bunch of your buds why you would pay the 10% juice to FanDuel to use their platform.  But try to swim with the sharks and you will likely get eaten.

There are a few recent developments that are worth noting in the daily fantasy sports world.  Congressional figures are starting to look at the 2006 carve out that exempted daily fantasy in the unlawful internet gaming act.  The real issue is if this is "skill" or "luck".  It can easily be argued that online poker (which got killed) is much more skillful than daily fantasy, but the other way can also be argued as there is no random event in you picking your fantasy team - where there is a lot of random in receiving cards.  Online poker had other issues, but I want to stick to daily fantasy for this post.

Now news is coming out that some people who work for DraftKings were playing at FanDuel and vice versa - and winning a lot of money.  In particular, these employees were taking information from their websites such as the players most chosen and playing at the other daily fantasy site.  The information they used is  obviously key, especially when they could drill down to accounts that win a lot and see their lineups and copy them to play.  I wrote some time ago that something illegal would eventually take down these sites, but my prediction was money laundering (I still stand by that assertion).  Using insider information should have been a no brainer to predict.  Several states are now investigating the sites.

Of course, now the lawyers are involved.  There are several class action lawsuits being prepared against these sites.  I may join one if I get a notice.  What the heck, I will get the legal updates and maybe even gain a buck or two back if they settle.  The real winners, as we all know, will be the attorneys.

In the end, these sites got way too big, way too fast.  Seeing the mind numbing ads every commercial break during football games and their logo placements literally plastered on every square inch of every sports venue and telecast was a quick signal that things were out of control.  I can only imagine how it looked on the inside.

I still stand by my assertion that if you are playing for chump change and like some excitement that it is fun - but if you don't put the time and energy into it, you are going to lose.  I predict that these sites, once found out to be as corrupt as anything else, will be shut down.  Either that or some state will be the first to say "f it" and open up all gambling on the internet legally.  I don't see any reason why you can pick a daily fantasy team for money, but not bet the spread on a game. 


Gerry from Valpo said...

Not being the wagering type nothing surprises me. It's all rigged and that's why I choose not to play. But I have nothing against gambling and those who wish to piss away hard earned money, many of whom can least afford to.

Marcus said...

As a whole I have to say that DFS got really interesting and it really took off in the last few years. I mean you have websites like that are only dedicated to offer lineups for other websites where people actually play, it is insane.