Thursday, December 05, 2013

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Daily Fantasy Sports Players Griping About Bad Luck

Am in another airport terminal, awaiting the first of a couple of flights today that will be taking me to Las Vegas where I’ll be helping cover the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic at the Bellagio. Looking forward to it, but to be honest I’m also kind of looking forward simply to disconnecting for the next several hours and relaxing aboard my flights.

Was writing here a couple of weeks ago about fantasy sports and how the daily/weekly site DraftKings had hooked up with the WPT as a collaborating sponsor. In that post I was drawing a few parallels between poker (especially the online variety) and these daily games I’ve been playing occasionally on sites like DraftKings and Draft Day.

Haven’t done so well during the last few days of playing these daily games, and in fact some of the “run bad” I’ve encountered is making me think more and more how fantasy sports are not at all like poker.

About a week ago I set a line-up for a night’s worth of NBA games, then to my dismay discovered after the games had begun that my star player, James “Magical Beard” Harden, was suited up for the game -- i.e., in a suit, not a uniform. (That’s a pic of “Dr. Harden” above.) Was a last minute decision, apparently, not signaled by any of the injury update sites (or at least any I check), and thus I was essentially sunk before the night had even begun.

Then a couple of nights ago I screwed up and after having reserved a spot in a Draft Day game and set my line-up, I forgot to save my selections until just a few seconds after the deadline had passed, and thus had entered a fantasy team with no players. Oof!

Finally last night came another bad beat as I had taken Tim Duncan to fill one of my power forward positions, and in fact was doing okay and probably on my way to winning in the double-up game I’d chosen. Then came word that the Spurs-Timberwolves game -- scheduled in Mexico City, actually -- had been postponed due to a fire near the arena filling the place with smoke!

Again, I was sunk, as was everyone else who had loaded up on San Antonio or Minnesota Timberwolves players. It had been an attractive game from which to draft selections, actually, with a high over/under line of 205. But only around half the guys in our game had happened to take any Spurs or Timberwolves, and we all finished out of the money.

Such a situation is handled much like a rain-out in baseball for the daily fantasy players -- i.e., those who have chosen guys in the cancelled game are screwed, and it’s all chalked up to being “part of the game.”

But what kind of game is this?

I was trying to think of parallels from poker, and the only one I could really come up with was the situation of getting disconnected mid-hand when playing online. Or perhaps we might add a glitch occurring on the site’s side, in which case many times the site would refund entry fees or try somehow to accommodate for the disruption.

I’ve mentioned before how tough it is to bet on injuries, coaches’ whims, or other unexpected vagaries of professional sports. Hadn’t thought of an NBA game getting postponed as being a factor, too, though. I guess daily fantasy sports are still like poker insofar as they combine luck and skill, but a fire in Mexico sure is making it seem like luck matters a lot more at the moment.

Putting it behind me, now -- and everything else for the next 10 hours or so as I wind my way westward. Talk to you on the other side.

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Blogger Poe said...

Sorry to hear about the rough start. While many will argue both for and against the similarities of DFS and Poker, I can assure you that the issues you had had are not common. There are many sites dedicated to Daily only and work to address these time sensitive issues that don't effect season long leagues nearly as much. Starting players, weather, breaking news all make daily that much more of a challenge and enjoyable.

Take a look at this free tool that will help with a bit of the work and best of luck,

12/06/2013 9:27 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thanks, Poe. Interesting site!

I realize the Spurs-Wolves situation was highly unusual. I'm not really intending to complain about the sites or the fairness of the games, but more just working through whether or not DFS is for me.

12/06/2013 10:20 AM  

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