Sunday, August 27, 2017

DFS Bankroll Management - It's Not How Much You Make, It's How Much You Keep

Daily Fantasy Bankroll Management is one of the most important elements to the overall picture of becoming a successful daily fantasy sports player. If you want to be successful, not just in the short term but in the long term, it is a skill that you need to master. You can argue that it is as important, if not more important than picking players.

So What Is A Bankroll in Daily Fantasy Sports?

A bankroll is a specific amount of money that you have set aside for the purpose of playing daily fantasy sports. Since there are no guarantees when it comes to the performance of athletes on a sporting field of play, your bankroll needs to be an amount of money that you will feel comfortable losing if you are not successful at winning daily fantasy sports contests.

A bankroll is not necessarily the amount of money that you have deposited into your fantasy sports account. You might have more money outside of your account that you would feel comfortable playing with. You also might not feel comfortable playing with the entire amount that is in your account.

The first step to successful bankroll management is deciding how much your bankroll is.

When you first get started playing daily fantasy sports​ you determine how much money you are willing to play with. So for instance, if you decide that $25 is the amount of money that you are willing to risk playing DFS (daily fantasy sports) that is the amount that makes up your bankroll.

Once you know what your bankroll is, the next step is to decide on what percentage of your bankroll you are willing to risk. The more conservative you are, the lower the percentage you should play. The more aggressive you are, the higher the percentage you should play.

While it would be nice to win every single night, that is not the reality. This is especially true if you are going to be playing in what are known as Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments.

GPP tournaments are large tournaments with thousands of participants where the largest amount of the prize pool goes to the teams that finish towards the top of the standings. Winning one of these tournaments can result in significant profits for you. The downside is even if you are a good player you are only going to finish at the top of these tournaments only a hand full of times during the year.

Examples of DFS Bankroll Management Percentages

So let's take a look at some examples and see the differences in what your bankroll looks like depending on your percentages.

Let's say you have 3 players. Each player has a bankroll of $100. Let's call them Jack, John and Jill

Jack is going to play 20% of his bankroll every night.

John is going to play 10% of his bankroll every night.

Jill is going to play 5% of her bankroll every night.

In this example, let's assume that each player has a really bad week and loses all of their money every night for 7 straight nights. Let's see what their bankroll looks like at the end of night 7. For illustration purposes, I will round up to the nearest dollar

Jack at 20%
  • Night 1: $100 - $20 = $80
  • Night 2: $80 - $16 = $64
  • Night 3: $64 - $13 =  $51
  • Night 4: $51 - $10 = $41
  • Night 5: $41 - $8 = $33
  • Night 6: $33 - $7 = $26
  • Night 7: $26 - $5 = $21

John at 10%
  • Night 1: $100 - $10 = $90
  • Night 2: $90 - $9 = $81
  • Night 3: $81 - $8 = $73
  • Night 4: $73 - $7 = $66
  • Night 5: $66 - $7 = $59
  • Night 6: $59 - $6 = $53
  • Night 7: $53 - $5 = $48

Jill at 5%
  • Night 1: $100 - $5 = $95
  • Night 2: $95 - $5 = $90
  • Night 3: $90 - $5 = $85
  • Night 4: $85 - $4 = $81
  • Night 5: $81 - $4 = $77
  • Night 6: $77 - $4 = $73
  • Night 7: $73 - $4 = $69

So at the end of 7 nights, Jack is down to $21, John is down to $48 and Jill is down to $69.

Now let's say on the 8th night, they all have a good night and they make 5 times their entry fees. Let's see where they would be at:

Jack: $21 - $4 = $17 + $20 = $37
John: $48 - $5 = $43 + $25 = $68
Jill: $69 - $3 = $66 + $15 = $81

At the end of night 8, Jill who played the smallest percentage now has the highest bankroll. Why? Because she had more cash available when she had her good night than the others had because they lost more during their bad nights.

Factors to consider when determining your daily fantasy sports bankroll percentage:

For me I use different bankroll percentages based upon the sport that I am playing and the contests that I am playing in. Here are some of the factors that I consider when determining my bankroll percentage:
  • How often is the sport played? For sports that are played daily (i.e. MLB, NBA, NHL) all things being equal, I will play a lower percentage of my bankroll compared to sports that are played weekly (i.e. NFL, GOLF, MMA, NAS). This is because for the daily sports you are going to play those sports more often than the weekly sports and as such, you are going to risk more due to a higher frequency of play.
  • What are the percentage of participants that cash in the type of contests that I like to play in? For contests that a higher percentage of players cash (i.e. Head to Head, 50/50, Double Up) I will play a higher percentage of my bankroll compared to contests that a lower percentage of players cash (i.e. Triple Ups, 3-Mans, Leagues, GPPs)
  • What is my ROI (return on investment) on the types of contests that I am playing? Over time as you play you will accumulate enough results to determine what your ROI is. If you do a good job at tracking you can even break it down by sport and/or by contest type. So for me, sports and/or contest types that I have a higher ROI on, I will be willing to play a larger percentage of my bankroll compared to sports and/or contest types that I have a lower ROI on.

Based on these three factors, I have determined a bankroll percentage that I am willing to play. From there, I budget a percentage of that percentage by contest type. For example I play 3% of my bankroll every night on DraftKings Classic MLB games. Out of that 3%, 40% goes to 3 man games, 25% goes to single entry GPP games, 15% goes to leagues, 10% goes to multi entry GPP contests, 5% goes to triple up contests and 5% goes to satellites.

By customizing my bankroll based on these three factors this gives me the ability to minimize my losses. I play less money on the sports and/or contest types I'm not good at and more money on the sports and/or contest types that I am good at.

The end result?

While 90% of DFS players have lost more than they have won, I am in the top 10% of DFS players who have won more than I have lost. I have been lifetime profitable since 2015 and because I cashed out my gains and have a bankroll that contains only money that I have won, it would take a losing streak of epic proportions for me to ever get to the point where I am no longer lifetime profitable at DFS. That's the power of having a strong bankroll management strategy.

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