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If you are anything like me, you were introduced to games as young child- Yahtzee, Monopoly, Go Fish- you name it we played it.  Back then, we played it for old fashioned things- pride, bragging rights, competition, FUN.  After some time, the shine of the new toy wore off.  We no longer wanted to play “just because”.  We wanted the games we played and the statements we made about sports to mean something, something worth more than JUST pride.  With the advent of poker, more specifically online Texas hold ‘em poker, all of us millennials were able to turn that monopoly money and “bragging rights” into emptied bank accounts and a new way of keeping score. It was quite a time- those who were good got newer clothes and shinier cars.  Those who weren’t (or were but stepped on one of the many landmines to success such as poor game selection, poor discipline, tilting, etc ) wound up lacking in the college savings department, or worse.  Then, in 2006, UIGEA passes and the online poker world as we knew it ceased to exist 5 short years later.  There was, however, one lasting thing that I was able to take from poker that I have been thinking about trying and thought it could bring all of the readers along for the journey.

 

The idea of turning nothing into something has always been fascinating to me.  The guy who started Chobani, Billy Beane, Steve Wynn.  When Chris Ferguson did it with poker on Full Tilt back in 2006 I was merely a Freshman at Auburn University.  As a newly minted college student, I was suddenly flush with the time required to give it a go.  My plan was to turn literally $0 into $1,000.  My testosterone filled, pubescent mind thought I was about 1/10 the player Ferguson was so I could easily attain 1/10 of his ultimate $10,000 goal.  The problem was I had it all backwards (something that would later be confirmed by Ferguson)- it was the first 1% that was the most difficult, not the last.  After nearly 8 months of playing and hours too numerous to count, I had worked my way up to $159.  It was time for me to take a shot (kind of like one of those moments in the horror movies where it’s obvious who is waiting on the other side of the door but the main character goes in anyway, am I right?!?).  I logged into a 1/2 NL Holdem Table and you can fill in the blanks on how that night, and my dreams, ended.  It was the decision making that stuck with me.  Why did I suddenly decide to put it all on the line in a game where I could lose months of work?  I felt like Matt Damon in Rounders…what just happened?  I know what you’re thinking- he’s 20, probably got drunk and donked it off one night after the bar.  Sadly there were no excuses, it happened on a Wednesday at 7:30 (doesn’t necessarily mean I couldn’t have gone to the bar earlier- it is college after all.  But trust me- stone cold sober).  I clearly didn’t lack the discipline- I had increased my bankroll from 0-$159, a significant accomplishment in itself.  I didn’t lack the skill- I was able to pay for the first 3 years of school (out of state) simply by playing poker and working at a local restaurant a few days a week.  The things I did lack were patience and game selection- two of the main reasons I see people fail in DFS generally, but especially in golf.

 

Picking players in DFS golf is HARD.  That’s why this series will focus primarily on three things: Bankroll Management, game selection, and game theory- including roster construction.  It takes a lot of TIME to successfully prognosticate which golfers will do well in a certain week (All of the TL guys will back me up on this).  For many of us, time is our most precious resource, something we don’t have in ample supply.  So, I have chosen to leave a lot of that in the capable hands of the TourLevel guys.  What we want to do is set ourselves up for success before the rosters even begin forming by selecting the right games and playing the appropriate amount of our Bankroll each week.  Golf twitter does all of you a huge disservice by only saying “reduce your exposure” this week.  If I play $100 for The Masters and I play $80 for The Players, how do I determine what to play for Colonial?  What about (gasp!) Memphis and Puerto Rico- not to mention Euro?!?  We will use specific, math based criterion in determining bankroll usage, as well as specific game selection and give evidence as to why those are optimal. In my day job, “evidence based investing” is championed by some of the largest personalities in the space.  I hope to bring something similar to the DFS community through this column.  From Free rolling to high rolling, I am looking forward to the journey with everyone.

 

Does anybody else remember those FanDuel and Draftkings commercials back in 2015 that seemingly played twice every commercial break showing how much all of these novices were “winning”?  The ones that got the DFS world under the spotlight in the first place?  This column will be the antithesis of those commercials.  No lottery tickets, no supermodels in underwear, and no empty promises.  It will, in a sentence, teach you how to Get Rich Slowly.  “Getting rich slowly” always brings the same person to mind, Warren Buffett.  The Oracle of Omaha says it best when he says,

 

“You’re dealing with a lot of silly people in the marketplace; it’s like a great big casino and everyone else is boozing. If you can stick with Pepsi, you should be O.K.

 

So what to do this week for the US Open in our quest to turn nothing into something?  There are 2 freerolls this week, one each on FanDuel and DraftKings.  FanDuel leaves much to be desired, with the top place in a field of potentially 100k being a golf trip for 2 with “an NFL Legend” and FanDuel points (which can be used for entries) paid to the remaining 299 places.  We will need to be SUPER contrarian if we want any chance in placing in this tournament.  We will need to keep our aggregate ownership below 80% (a difficult feat with 8 player teams) or so to have any chance of cashing here.  Remember, place 301 leaves you with the same payout as DFL so swing for the fences.  Conversely, DraftKings is paying out 100k in prizes, with 21,390 places cashing.   As of writing (Monday night) there are about 35k people in the field so this will likely play more like a triple up if my projections of field size are correct.  Since the goal is to get our first $1, I am ok with some chalk as a tradeoff for downside protection.  Play this closer to a cash lineup with the goal of getting out of square one.  I am looking at an aggregate ownership percentage here of around 100-120% as the safe zone.  Make sure to read @Scottimac11 article as a nice starting point for player selection.  However, the larger the field gets, the more contrarian, and lower aggregate ownership, you will need to be.  Stay tuned on twitter @twoputtbogey for field size changes and adjustments.

 

With a more mature and patient mind I thought that this would be a great opportunity to try it again, and I am happy to have all of you joining me.  Maybe its redemption, maybe its proving it to myself, or maybe it’s some type of sick gluttony for punishment but I think it’s something that people will really enjoy.  I’ve played in the Thunderdome, the FGWC and have been in the bigger contests on DK.  None of which excite me as much as being able to do something like this and prove to all the dads and small stakes grinders out there that it can be done with the right amount of patience, discipline and contest selection.

 

This journey is just getting started this week but am really excited to update my results weekly for everyone and dig into the theories at play each week moving forward.  Make sure to follow me on Twitter @twoputtbogey for more updates as the weeks wear on.  Competitive banter strongly encouraged.