Even after playing poker and fantasy sports for 6+ years, the short term ups and downs can be difficult to deal with. It's hard to take a long term view when several straight days of losses pile up.
People who invest in equities have a much easier time seeing the long run. (Well, maybe not recently.) While their portfolios change in value every day, they (should) have some stocks/funds growing in value every year, while other may be stagnant or lose value. In other words, they know - over time - they should come out ahead. The question is how much.
It's difficult to explain my fantasy sports adventures to a non-sports, non-gambling crowd. Most of these folks cannot understand how I can risk (or absorb) the losses. What's interesting to me is that the emotional cost of mounting losses always outweighs whatever actual dollar amounts I lose. (aka TILT.)
Let me reiterate that I am a lifetime winner (in both poker and fantasy) and I never play completely outside my bankroll.
While talking to a friend recently, I came up with a decent analogy between fantasy sports and any other business venture. Obviously, the goal is to create a profit.
My sister runs a "home party" business. This model has been used to sell several lines of products. Basically, she visits homes in a group social setting and demonstrates wares she has for sale. Then she takes orders (if any) for the products, on which she makes a commission (or markup).
In theory this is a good business model and my sister is one of the top sales generators for her product line. However, she has had many home parties that were poorly attended or had little sales potential. On these parties she lost both her money and her time invested: Travel expenses, samples and freebies, door prizes, etc.
Overall, my sisters business has been profitable, just like mine. She has had many more winners than losers, resulting in a "positive ROI".
The only difference is my losses stare me straight in the eye each night they happen, while hers are hidden in "the cost of doing business". Each business model operates on maximizing winning nights and minimizing losers.
It's just that her losers aren't posted in big red numbers on a spreadsheet.