Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Giants or Cowboys?

The Cowboys and Giants kick off the 2012-13 NFL season tonightWas writing yesterday about ESPN’s coverage of the 2012 WSOP Main Event. As it turns out, they didn’t show poker last night, opting instead to air this week’s shows tonight. Of course, by doing so they’ll likely lose a lot of viewers.

That’s because tonight the National Football League finally returns, with the season opener between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants kicking off during prime time. The game would’ve been tomorrow, actually, but I believe was moved back a day so as not to conflict with the last night of the Democratic National Convention when President Obama will again be accepting the party’s nomination.

Once again I’m participating in a pool requiring me to pick every game throughout the season. Thus have I already spent some time this week fretting about my pick for tonight’s game. I’m trying a “Survivor Pool” this time, too, for which I’ll have to select one team each week I believe will win their game, yet won’t be able to choose the same team more than once.

I wrote about the pool off and on last year, including at the end when I happened to end strongly enough to win the sucker. Ended up picking 180 regular season games correctly out of the 256 (straight up, not against the spread), which left me three clear of the field to come out on top.

I much prefer these types of games -- i.e., picking winners -- to the fantasy games that have pretty much taken over the NFL over recent years. I do like occasionally piddling around on the DraftDay site (which offers daily fantasy games), which I wrote about here a while back. In fact, I’ll be playing that PokerNews freeroll on DraftDay this week for sure. But I just can’t get myself too interested in the more involved season-long versions of fantasy football.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the strategy involved with fantasy sports -- i.e., games in which you select certain players (by position) and are rewarded according to their individual performances. It’s just that I prefer watching games in a traditional manner with my rooting interest being focused on a team, not a player.

In poker terms, I’d liken fantasy sports to prop bets such as betting on the flop being all-red or all-black or whether or not the next community card will be a face card or the like. That is to say, a type of gambling that focuses on some particular element of play rather than what is really most important and theoretically the primary motive for the actions of all involved, namely, who wins or loses.

Then again, maybe I just haven’t given fantasy sports a fair chance. Reading Moneyball recently certainly got me in the mood to reconsider them. So before I sign off to go study the Week 1 games further, I’ll end with two questions...

For those of you who play fantasy football, what makes it fun for you?

And also, Giants or Cowboys?

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Blogger Mike Owens said...

For people that like poor teams like the Browns and the Bills. It gives them a reason to be excited every week. And it goes the same for when your team is out of the playoffs it makes it still enjoyable to watch and compete.

9/05/2012 3:48 PM  
Blogger nottom said...

Honestly, I think fantasy sports is much closer to a one table SNG (albeit a turbo or super turbo) itself than to red/black props. Good, informed fantasy players will have an edge over guys just picking off the site rankings.

Is the week to week variance huge? Of course! But that's no different than any given hand of poker. Over time the better players will win, and over the course of the season the better players tend to make it to the playoffs.

9/05/2012 11:07 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

That's a good point, nottom, and having dabbled a little I agree entirely that the untutored fantasy player is indeed at a huge disadvantage (as in a SNG).

I guess I wasn't meaning to refer to fantasy sports as more or less skillful than picking teams, but rather was just searching there for an analogy that had players betting on something other than the outcome of the hand in a traditional sense.

9/06/2012 2:13 AM  

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