What do we think of when we think of playing fantasy sports? Many Daily Fantasy Sports players started playing season-long fantasy sports first. It is fun to have a competition among friends to see who can build and manage the best fantasy sports team. One can enjoy watching and rooting for their favorite team. Traditionally, fantasy sports was about building one's own virtual team with real competition. This makes the games more exciting to watch and gives the fantasy team owner more teams to root for.

Some play in season-long money leagues, but the money aspect is secondary to the thrill of competition and becoming part of the league's Hall of Fame. The money aspect of season-long makes it more fun because it adds to the thrill of winning and the consequence of not winning, giving the “fantasy” a touch of "reality", but it isn’t enough to change how I live.

The focus on monetary gain is greater with Daily Fantasy Sports than with season-long fantasy sports because the contests are short term and we generally don't know the other contestants.

But here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be the sole focus.

What are other reasons to play Daily Fantasy Sports?

We play it for entertainment. We like to be the captain of our own ship. We like to compete.

The mindset that we enter into playing Daily Fantasy Sports can make all the difference in the world in terms of it being fun, and keeping the chance of hitting the dream of winning a big prize alive, versus becoming a real nightmare of financial lose.

So, here are some suggested guidelines for ensuring that Daily Fantasy Sports remains fun. Even though you might never hit the big prize, with good discipline you can potentially grow your bankroll. These guidelines are intended to help you enjoy Daily Fantasy Sports more without the stress of possible financial loss.

Rule 1: Play for the entertainment value. When you rent or buy a movie, you recognize that the enjoyment of watching the movie has monetary value. You don’t expect any money back. The money you pay to rent or buy the movie is within your budget, and you don’t have buyer’s remorse later thinking that you lost a ton of money watching a movie. Even if the movie is bad, you don’t think about how much you paid to watch it.

Rule 2: Set a per season budget. Figure out the entertainment value that Daily Fantasy Sports has for you and set a budget for playing per season that won’t change your lifestyle if you get none of it back. Is it $10, $100, $1000? Whatever the amount, settle it in your mind that this is your entry fee, and everything from there is upside.

Rule 3: Keep the dream alive. Have a rule about how much you are willing to spend on any one contest. For example, spend on average about 5% of your bankroll on any single contest, but set an absolute maximum of 10%. If you are winning, you can spend more per contest as your account grows. If you lose, Then you are still in the game, but must enter smaller contests or less lineups per contest. As long as there is money in your account and as long as you keep playing, you continue to have a chance to hit a big prize, even if you are only entering a single lineup in a contest at $0.05 per lineup.

If you lose with a little money, then you saved yourself from losing a lot of money. If you consistently win with a little money, it will grow exponentially as you enter larger contests and the winnings will become more significant. So, you are winning either way if you stick to a rule like this.

The goal here is to keep the dream alive by never losing more than 10% of my account in a single contest. No matter what happens, win or lose, you can continue to enter more contests. One way to think about this is that breaking even is winning, because you continue to have more opportunities to hit a big prize.

Don’t feel that you must enter 150 lineups in a multi-lineup contest because that will give you the greatest chance to win the big prize. This thinking is mathematically flawed. Without going into the math, your odds of winning a big prize are higher if you enter 10 lineups in 15 different contests than if you enter 150 lineups in one contest.

Rule 4. Don’t chase after losses. If you lost money in the past, don’t have the mindset that you must win it back. More times than not, this mindset leads to greater loses. This might be because you lose, or it might be that even though you win it isn’t enough, and you never cash out. If you pay for a movie and are disappointed with the movie, do you go to the next movie thinking it must be especially good to make up for the last bad movie? When you buy a car, do you think of all the money you spent on previous cars? Don't worry about the score - play for the current season.

Rule 5: Cash-out sometimes. You don’t ever win, no matter how much your account grows, unless you cash-out. Decide your cash-out point. For example take out half the winnings at the end of a sports season. Or you could pick some dates every year that you will cash out, your birthday, your anniversary, before summer vacation. It doesn’t matter, just pick some dates to harvest your winnings. If you didn’t win, these are the dates when you can replenish your funds for your next period of play.

Don’t put money in in-between these dates. Stay disciplined. Just like full-season fantasy sports, when you are out, you are done for that sports season. Stick to the mindset that this is entertainment. First if you stick to rule 3, it is very unlikely that your account will run out of funds, but if your account does run out of funds, use the offseason to think about your winning strategy for the next season that you have determined for yourself.

Winning is a matter of mental discipline. The hardest part of that discipline will be to stick to your own rules. Think about the rules rationally before you put your money in. In the middle of the season, it will be tempting to take chances and break your own rules. If you give into the temptation to break your own rules, you start down a slippery slope. If you can avoid giving into that temptation, then you will have more Daily Fantasy Sports success in the long run.

From a monetary standpoint, the only sure winners are the sites that host the Daily Fantasy Sports contests. If you multiply the number of entries by the entry fee and subtract the winnings, this is how much money the site takes from a contest. Typically, it is around 20%.

So, if you are an average Daily Fantasy Sports player, you are losing, on average, about 20% per contest. You are not a loser if this happens, you are just an average player.


And if you stay disciplined over time, you greatly increase your chance of hitting that big price.