Posts Tagged ‘daily fantasy sports’

Aaron Jones wins Fantasy Football Championship and $5m

Monday, January 18th, 2016

aaron-jones-online-pokerDaily fantasy sports (DFS) just saw its biggest-ever tournament take place, as 10 finalists battled in the Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) for a $5 million top payout. Interestingly enough, former poker pro and coach Aaron ‘aejones’ Jones emerged victorious and collected the $5 million check.

200 players qualified for the Week 15 event, and only 10 players moved on to the FFWC Final in Los Angeles. Jones was one of them, and he got some attention from FOX Sports leading up to the finale. However, considering the variance associated with DFS, it was no guarantee that the former online poker standout would come close to the top prize.

This looked to be the case when DFS pro “CONDIA” bolted out to a big lead in the preliminary rounds. However, in the round of 10, he saw Randall Cobb go down early, giving Jones and other players a decent chance to win. Sitting in fifth place coming into the round of 10, Jones picked up major points with Pittsburgh WR Martavis Bryant, Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald and Arizona QB Carson Palmer.

His correct picks were enough to sneak past second-place finisher “danny1234,” who just missed out on the title by 14 points. Danny1234 earned $2 million for his runner-up effort, but he’s likely envious of Jones for earning $3 million more.

This marks yet another chapter in Jones’ illustrious online gaming career, which began a decade ago when he started playing online poker while a student at Indianapolis’ Butler University. From here, Jones went on to earn big scores in live tournaments, start the training site LeggoPoker (later sold to Phil Ivey) and eventually play DFS for a living. Now $5 million richer, it’ll be interesting to see what the next step for Jones is.


US Online Poker – What to expect in 2016

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

us-online-pokerU.S. online poker regulation is moving slower than a snail traveling through peanut butter. So do we have any reason to be optimistic about iPoker growth in 2016? Perhaps we will see some positive changes on the legalization front in the New Year, especially if the following four predictions come true.

1. Pennsylvania will legalize Online Poker

Many hoped that Pennsylvania would finally legalize online poker before the end of the year. Unfortunately, this dream has just timed out because the state house and senate can’t agree on a budget plan. But that’s not to say that we shouldn’t expect to see iPoker in the Keystone State by 2016, especially with the state looking for various ways to shore up their budget.

2. New York will also legalize Online Poker

new-york-online-pokerNew York also had some serious discussions about legalizing and regulating iPoker this year. They didn’t take the matter as far as Pennsylvania, however, the Empire State seems very receptive to regulating the game. New York could hasten the process in 2016 because they’re also interested in legalizing daily fantasy sports too. This is one reason why they’re currently locked in a legal battle to stop DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in their state.

3. New Jersey and Pennsylvania will share Player Pools

We could see the first lucrative liquidity agreement in the regulated U.S. iPoker market in 2016. Delaware and Nevada are already sharing players, but this hasn’t really increased traffic much for either small state. However, if Pennsylvania legalizes the game, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see them link up with New Jersey and create a potential player pool of 20+ million.

4. PokerStars will be get licensed in Pennsylvania

PokerStars hasn’t exactly been the most-welcome party in the U.S. iGaming market. However, they should be more than welcome in Pennsylvania, which hasn’t seen much backlash against the world’s largest online poker site for operating after the UIGEA. It definitely helps that PokerStars is already licensed in New Jersey too.

Daily Fantasy Sports will follow Online Poker, predicts Rolling Stone

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

daily-fantasy-sportsThere have been many questions surrounding why daily fantasy sports continue operating freely throughout the United States, while online poker remains split between three regulated states and a black market. And it’s possible that daily fantasy sports (DFS) will eventually end up just like online poker…at least, this is what Rolling Stone predicts.

In a piece entitled “Will Daily Fantasy End Up Like Online Poker? You Bet,” the famed pop-culture magazine follows DFS superstar Teddy McDermott, who’s made over $1.5 million in the past two years. In addition to playing DFS, McDermott is also a poker player who suffered through “Black Friday.” Following this horrific day (Apr. 15, 2011) in poker history, the father found himself trying to grind out small profits in the local casino to get by. Eventually, he discovered DFS and has been making a much-better living ever since.

But just how much longer can McDermott and other DFS pros expect the bliss to last?

It’s hard to say because, as Rolling Stone points out, major sports leagues like the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and NASCAR have all aligned themselves with DFS sites. Some of these same leagues even have an investment at stake in the matter. So as long as pro sports leagues continue lobbying for DFS, then the industry figures to be around for some time.

“The one advantage that DFS has that poker didn’t is all these companies and MLB, NFL, Robert Kraft, and Jerry Jones have equity stakes in it,” McDermott says. “I don’t think those guys are going to go down without a fight and lose millions, or billions even. Hopefully it won’t happen, but I’m definitely worried about it.”

McDermott has good reason to worry because various politicians have called for hearings on the DFS subject. New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone is one such politician, and he’s looking for some justice since his state can’t legally offer sports betting (something the NFL has lobbied against). And with increased political pressure against the DFS industry, it’s only a matter of time before these sites are forced to go through the regulation process.

Be sure to check out the entire Rolling Stone piece here.

Matusow angry about Nevada banning Daily Fantasy Sports

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

mike-matusow-pokerTimes have been rocky for Mike Matusow ever since Black Friday happened and his Full Tilt Poker sponsorship disappeared. He managed a couple of big scores in 2013 – winning the NBC Heads-Up Championship ($750k) and a WSOP bracelet ($266.5k) – but has been suffering from medical problems ever since. And now Matusow finds out out that his home state, Nevada, has banned daily fantasy sports (DFS) until these sites can obtain licenses. Here’s a look at Matusow’s tweets:

1st they take away my Internet poker and my life ,now they take away my dfs sports while I’m stuck bed ridden trying to get healthy#thissuck

This is all because of the greedy people in Las Vegas casinos wanting a piece of the pie,such a joke #greed

As I recently discussed, the DFS world has been criticized for everything from pros taking advantage of amateurs to a scandal that happened at DraftKings/FanDuel. So it’s little wonder why a state that’s based its reputation on gaming would decide to ban DFS. Specifically, Nevada wants to protect its regulated iGaming market from unregulated daily fantasy sports.

Despite the reasoning, it’s pretty clear that Matusow isn’t happy that the government has intervened and prevented him from playing another game he loves.

With the omission of Nevada, DFS is now tolerated in 44 of 50 U.S. states. However, we can only imagine that more states will soon take action against the unregulated industry, given that pretty much every other form of iGaming is frowned upon in America. The best solution for us all would be to have the federal government legalize everything from DFS and sports betting to online poker and casino games. This way, we and Matusow won’t have to complain about all the limitations and lack of freedoms.

Haralabos Voulgaris says DFS Players getting “Fleeced”

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Haralabos-Voulgaris-daily-fantasy-sportsWe’ve all seen the countless commercials that play for DraftKings and FanDuel on a daily basis, where some smuck with a backwards baseball cap wins $1 million through a daily fantasy sports (DFS) tournament. But as poker/sports betting legend Haralabos Voulgaris explains, this is definitely the exception, rather than the norm.

Voulgaris, who’s won millions of dollars through sports betting, recently appeared on ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show” to give his take on the average Joe’s chances of winning. And it doesn’t look good as the 3-time WPT final tablist describes how players are getting “fleeced” without even realizing it.

“The real issue is, that I think people don’t realize, is the fact that the person who is tuning in and seeing these commercials, and signing up to play in these multi-tournaments,” Voulgaris said, “where the winner gets a million dollars, I think if they knew that they were going to enter maybe three, or four, or five entries, but a pro is going to enter 1,000 entries, they wouldn’t think it was that exciting to enter these contests. I think that’s the part where there is some impropriety.”

He added, “If the actual casual viewer, watching these commercials and signing up, knew they weren’t competing against other like-minded people like themselves, that they’re competing against professionals who have algorithms and thousands and thousands of entries in all these tournaments, they would realize that their chances of winning are really not that good and it’s really not as exciting as they think it is.”

When it comes to sports betting, Voulgaris is one of the guys who’ve used algorithms to beat the odds. So he’d know just about as good as anybody if DFS players are falling for an illusion.

DFS is definitely the hot form of gaming now, given that it contains skill and allows one the opportunity to become a professional. However, based on Voulgaris’ words, you’d better have a giant bankroll if you too want to become a DFS pro.

Poker vs. Daily Fantasy Sports – Why is DFS allowed?

Friday, September 25th, 2015

daily-fantasy-sportsFor Americans who love online poker, one of the greatest hypocrisies in existence right now is daily fantasy sports (DFS). It’s unclear whether or not DFS is truly legal, but there’s no denying that it is “allowed” in 45 of 50 U.S. states. So why is it then that daily fantasy sports is considered acceptable while internet poker is largely a black-market affair?

Well for starters, we can look towards the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which makes it illegal for banks to accept financial transactions involving iPoker, online casino games and sports betting. This of course didn’t render online poker illegal; it just made it impossible for sites to legally take deposits from American players. But interestingly enough, fantasy sports got a carve-out in the UIGEA.

This carve-out was originally meant for season-long leagues played on sites like CBS and Yahoo. After all, the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL knew back then that they’d better protect fantasy sports because they generate so much casual fan interest. But now that fantasy sports have evolved into the daily version, where you can bet thousands of dollars on a daily basis, it’s obvious that the situation has changed greatly.

Many poker players (and the general public) have questioned why DFS is essentially considered legal today. And the truth may lie in the fact that DFS isn’t really legal, but rather tolerated until each state decides to examine the matter independently.

It may be some time before we truly find out where the legal boundaries lie regarding DFS. The NFL especially is lobbying hard to keep things as they are because of the aforementioned fan interest that fantasy sports create. But with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt questioning DFS, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone asking for a hearing on the subject, and countless articles about the legitimacy of DFS, it’s only a matter of time before these games are really put to the legal test.

Is Daily Fantasy Sports going through a Poker Boom?

Friday, November 21st, 2014

chris-moneymaker-andrew-luckEven today, many poker players like to discuss the Poker Boom, which, depending upon whom you ask, lasted from 2003 – 2006 (maybe until ’08). Regardless of when the Boom ended, many can agree that the downturn’s fondation was laid when the United States enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). But one activity that avoided the umbrella of this unfavorable 2006 bill against online gambling: fantasy sports.

Largely thanks to the NFL’s deep pockets and desire to keep fantasy sports alive – due to the fan interest it brings – fantasy sports don’t come with the same limitations as online poker and casino games (at least for Americans). So players can use PayPal and other handy forms of payment to fund their accounts.

This is just one reason why daily fantasy sports (DFS) have been exploding over the past 1-2 years. Now, just like online poker today, sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are offering multi-million dollar tournaments.

As we covered before, poker pro Matt Smith was a big beneficiary of one of these tournaments. Smith earned the million-dollar top prize in a $2.2 million NFL tourney on DraftKings. Other noted poker pros who did well in this tourney included Brian Hastings, Aaron Jones and Tony Dunst.

Of course, a boom isn’t built on the participation of pros, but rather the average Joes. And as this New York Post article indicates, Mr. Average Joe is setting his DFS lineup far more often these days.

The NY Post cites how FanDuel expects to pay out over $500 million in prizes this year, and over $1 billion in 2015. Their player base will also reach 1 million people this year, quadruple what it was in 2013. And while 1 million is FAR off the 50 million-plus that PokerStars boasts, it indicates that the largest DFS sites are growing by leaps and bounds.

Will DFS ever reach the lofty status that online poker did in the mid-2000s (and remains at today)? Well, there’s no Chris Moneymaker figure in the DFS world yet. But both DraftKings and FanDuel seem to be driving the game, much like PokerStars and Full Tilt did for internet poker. And with DFS tournaments growing larger and larger, it’s only a matter of time before the football-loving version of Moneymaker comes along.

Poker Pro Matt Smith wins $1 Million in Fantasy Football

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Fantasy sports have been growing in popularity over the past decade and a half. And since fantasy sports offer positive expected value for those with skill, it’s little surprise that many poker players embrace the activity.

Case in point, numerous poker players flocked to the recent “Millionaire Maker” fantasy football event at DraftKings. For a $27 buy-in, entrants got to play for a $1 million top prize and an overall prize pool of $2.2 million.

As this event got near the end, poker players Brian Hastings, Aaron Jones and Tony Dunst all had a shot at winning. However, it was a lesser-known poker player named Matt Smith who’d eventually capture the title along with a $1 million payout. After winning, Smith wasn’t quite sure what to say so he just tweeted this:

I don’t even know what to say. I’m in complete shock and can’t thank everyone enough for all the support!

As mentioned before fantasy sports have been attracting more and more people every year. And this has given rise to daily fantasy sports, where players pay a buy-in, draft their team and see the game play out in a single day.

Switching to another note, somehow daily fantasy sports continue to be completely legal across the United States – yet online poker is only legal/regulated in three states. I’m not sure why this is the case….oh wait, yeah I am. Professional sports leagues have done heavy lobbying over the years for various interests, and making sure that fantasy sports stay legal is one them.

The NFL has especially benefited from the widespread popularity of daily fantasy sports – and season-long leagues too – because these generate far more interest in the games. Call it a double standard while online poker waits on the sidelines, but it’s an unfortunate reality now.