Principles of Becoming the Best in DFS: Part 3

Life has a lot of guided principles. These are just a few that guide mine in DFS. As a reminder, I’m not a DFS Pro. With a full time career and family, I do not have time to deploy enough effort to make a run at becoming a professional DFS player. I do however make regular withdrawals from multiple sites, been to a live final, and haven’t redeposited since my initial jump into DFS. I consider DFS a supplementary income stream that I take seriously. I believe given the time, I would have no issue making the transition to full time pro. You can take what I write with a grain of salt as it’s my own perspective on how to be successful at DFS.

Principle 5: Embrace Failure. Have you ever noticed these line up sellers on twitter that pop up every day never tweet a loss? Sup fam, took a beating yesterday taking dead last in every contest. DM me for rates cause I got a feeling tonight! They don’t because it’s bad for business. I don’t either, but I also rarely post wins unless I get berated into it. Although if you want to see some of my horrible $0 nights, just DM me in slack and I’ll link you as many as you can stomach. Here’s the truth behind DFS that providers won’t touch: You’re going to lose often and especially if you play mass multi-entry tournaments.

My win rate for tournaments where I maxed entries in tournaments for the 2017-2018 NFL season was 17%. That means I lost 83% of the time. More often than not, I was losing. Let that sink in for a few minutes. Does it mean I’m terrible at DFS? Should I pack it in and quit? The answer is no on both accounts. I actually had a banner year in profitability during this NFL season going to a live final and taking down six different smaller contests (toot that horn baby!). My personal success in tournaments is because of how I embrace failure.

“Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something” (Adventure Time). No one wins all the time. A lot of people taking losing way too personal though. Failure is just an opportunity to learn. A book I read recently called “Sometimes you Win, and Sometimes you Learn” by John C Maxwell put it perfectly;

“I always try to remember that I am a work in progress. When I maintain that perspective, I realize that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to have it all together. I don’t need to try to have all the answers. And I don’t need to learn everything in a day. When I make a mistake, it’s not because I’m a failure or worthless. I just didn’t do something right because I still haven’t improved enough in some part of the process. And that motivates me to keep growing and improving. If I don’t know something, it’s an opportunity to try to improve in a new area.”

This basically wraps in most of my previous two articles in a nice little bow. Failing is an opportunity to get better, suck a little less, and learn more about yourself.

Framing will set you free. Do you participate in the nightly TILT in slack when someone gets ejected, hurt, or fouled out? How about when someone doesn’t end up playing for no reason other than he’s hung over from partying all last night. It’s frustrating. Some nights, down right infuriating. Man I remember when I was in the $1500 entry on Fan Duel and had rostered a late scratch. Remember when I was bitching about it in Slack? Probably not because I never mentioned it to anyone that I had over $10,000 in entries that night get busted by a late scratch. Instead of joining into the tilt-a-whirl on Slack, I went on the researching offensive to see if there was any indicator he wasn’t going to play. I combed beat writers Twitter accounts, the player’s Instagram profile and twitter, all the major news outlets for DFS, and even the local papers. Nothing indicated he wasn’t going to play. I looked at my wife when I was done, shrugged my shoulders, and said “Oh well.”

Was I pissed? Of course, for about 2 minutes. This was a decision completely out of my control. I picked a guy that was in a great spot and uncontrollable forces lead him to not play. There wasn’t anything I could have done about it. I was in the same boat as 43% of the field in that $1,500 contest; just screwed for the night. I could have gone in one of two directions that night: tilt, cursing DFS, the player, the world, and everything else I could find to yell at that would listen. Or I could have done what I did, realize there was nothing I could do, double-check my process, and move on.

Framing these type of situations as opportunities to learn is what will keep you moving forward as a DFS player. Losing happens more often than not, in most formats. Even if you’re crushing cash games at a 70% clip (which you’re not in the long run), you’re still losing 30% of the time. That’s 30% of the time you can reflect on your process and grow as a player.

As a side note, if losing on any given night affects you on a deep level, you’re playing with money you care about too much. Consider playing less on any night. Whether that means playing $50,000 or $5, if it gets uncomfortable don’t do it. Have the mind set before you register for those contests that if you go broke, it doesn’t matter. Never play with money that matters in your daily life. Not only can it put you in a bad spot financially, it’ll limit your ability to separate yourself from the wins and losses clouding your judgment when making line ups. Having that short term memory about a player that screws you Monday on Tuesday’s slate is critical.

Pro Tip #6: Watch the games for fun, without looking at your line ups Sure, check occasionally if you want, but make it more about the games and the experience versus how your line up is doing every few seconds. After you’re locked in, it is what it is. You can’t make any changes (unless you’re in late swap games) and nothing you do will change the outcome. Why stress over it? Enjoy watching the games and rooting for players you may have rostered or just your favorite team. If you can’t manage that, don’t watch the games at all.