Ask The Shark: Dealing With Downswings

I find it quite ironic that since starting this column, the first few slates of the new year have not been kind to me (other than somehow doing well in DraftKings’ PGA golf VIP freeroll). Some of the poor results can be chalked up purely to bad luck, but others were definitely due to mistakes of overthinking the situation at hand. Both are susceptible to any player, even a “shark,” but it’s the reaction to a downswing that separates those hobbyists who treat DFS as gambling versus those who approach it as a job.

Succumbing to what’s referred to as “gambler’s ruin” has been the root cause of many (even the best of them) going broke, and therefore keeping one out of DFS action for good. While most are well adept on the upswing dynamics of their bankroll – by playing a certain percentage per slate and having that raw dollar figure increase over time as you add winnings – not nearly enough focus on having a proportional dynamic when losing. Many continue to play similar stakes and volume regardless of the downswing, and despite it now resulting in utilizing a much higher percentage of their bankroll per slate that is safe from a ruinous shift in variance.

While it may be a hit to one’s ego, don’t be ashamed in stepping down in stakes or volume – and definitely don’t try to “chase” losses by upping them, either. If you’re playing in +EV conditions and have shown to get consistent +ROI results, stick to the plan. Your whole long-term goal is to balance the maximization of profits with the minimization of risk. Altering your already sound approach to bankroll management will just accelerate things in either direction, and that’s an unsustainable recipe for success playing DFS profitably in the long run.

My suggestion for dealing with downswings? Consider tackling the next few slates even more conservatively than you otherwise would. Poor results inevitably instill a lack of confidence in one’s ability, so there are even psychological factors at hand to dialing it back. Play much lower stakes/volume, play fewer lineups versus multi-entering, roster more chalk versus being contrarian, etc. Get back to the basics and use this as an opportunity to make sure your DFS fundamentals are well calibrated. Your bankroll will thank you.

Speaking of bankroll management, onto this week’s most relevant question:

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