Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh No. Here We Go Again.

I've been playing daily fantasy games for 3+ years, and every time a new site starts to get popular, the same "competition & fairness" issues pop up.

Over on the Fan Duel forums, the bitching and moaning has become pretty loud.

First off, we have this gem about tie contests:

"Bad enough we gotta win 55.6% of the time just to break even, now we take it in the shorts when we tie huh? Okey-doke. See y'all 'round elsewhere."

You paid an specific entry fee for a contest with a specific prize. When you tie, you split the prize money. Put away your skirt and get over it.

Let me give you a poker example. We are playing a cash game (online or in a casino). We play a hand all in pre-flop, AA vs. AA. The board comes KK456 rainbow. We split the pot, and the pot is still raked.

My advice is, don't play if you don't know what you're getting into - or play the free "just for fun" games.

The second Fan Duel issue revolves around the matchup process. Apparently, some contest hogs are appearing, resulting in the same matchups over and over. The hogs sign up for dozens of $5 contests, leaving the casual users frustrated.

I do understand that it can get stale playing the same opponent over and over. But guess what? IT'S HEADS-UP PLAY! You only get one opponent. Winning players will play more. They will leverage their money as much as possible.

I look at this situation as a way to learn how to beat the "hog" long term. You know you will get action from him every night. You can try different strategies and see what works best.

Do you think the best HU poker players in the world use the exact same strategy for every opponent? Hell no, they adjust their play based upon the opponent and circumstances.

I also believe a lot of these casual users are affected by short term results. They lose a few in a row, get matched up with the same opponent again and the negative vibes start flowing. Don't be so results oriented, there will be good runs and bad.

As for the matchup process, there are a few things I think Fan Duel can do to improve the situation:

solution A - Limit the number of entries at the $5 level. Say you can only enter between 5-10 $5 contests, but you can play unlimited $10 and up. If a "hog' wants to put all their money in play, they will have to play higher.

solution B - change the matching algorithm for $5 contests. Let's say the entries break down like this:

Player 1 has 70 entries
Player 2 has 45 entries
Player 3 has 25 entries
All other players have 2 or fewer entries.

Step 1: eliminate (do not match) 25 entries for player 1 so he has the same entries as player 2.

Step 2: match 20 entries between players 1 & 2, until they have the same number of entries left as player 3.

Step 3: match entries between players 1,2,3 until they have the same number of entries as the next player, repeat as necessary, etc.

This will allow the casual user to get a truly random opponent.

Both of these solutions are simple, straightforward and easy for Fan Duel to implement.

In defense of the contest hogs I did read some posts about not getting matched up regularly at higher levels, so obviously they played lower stakes.

In summary, just man up and quit your crying. I've played on virtually every site and none of them are perfect. There are contest hogs on every site. There will be growing pains on every site.

If you have to hand pick your opponent for every contest, you're probably not good enough to beat most of the sites anyway.

1 comment:

Blinders said...

Quit giving them ideas. I like it like it is.