In the online world today, one of the great arguments is over whether daily fantasy sports (DFS) is a legal or illegal activity. Some states, such as Nevada, Illinois and Vermont, have come forward to call DFS illegal gambling and some, like Nevada and New York, don’t allow companies like FanDuel or DraftKings – the two power players in the industry – to operate within their borders. Still there is a voracious appetite for the DFS games, which currently are at a lull between football and baseball seasons.
People might have wondered, “What if poker had something like DFS?” The answer is that it already does and it’s been around for almost three years now! It’s called Fantasy Poker Manager and, if you can gather together a group of friends, it can be just as fun as any DFS contest you can get into.
Fantasy Poker Manager was the creation of Zokay Entertainment and, if you know anything about the state of poker today, you know where it came from. Zokay became Mediarex Enterprises and both organizations were created under the auspices of Alexandre Dreyfus. Dreyfus, seeing the necessity for something like DFS in the poker world, used the Global Poker Index to create Fantasy Poker Manager, which was immediately endorsed by organizations such as the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker, the European Poker Tour and other poker outlets for fantasy options for their fans.
Basically, Fantasy Poker Manager works just like DFS tournaments in that the object is to score more points than other fantasy managers that are in the same fantasy tournament that you are playing. A fantasy manager is given a set “gold coin” budget (you can do things to add to it…but more on that at another time) and can choose up to 12 players for a particular tournament. The players have a “gold coin value” that is deducted from the fantasy manager’s bank when that tournament player is selected. After the tournament reaches the money, the fantasy manager then receives points for his players that cash in the tournament and receives double points for whichever player he selects as captain of his team.
It really sets up well when you can organize your own private league to play Fantasy Poker Manager. Each of the major tournament circuit’s events normally will be played under Fantasy Poker Manager; the current European Poker Tour stop in Dublin, Ireland has just closed its window for fantasy entries and the upcoming World Poker Tour event at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Canada is the next scheduled fantasy tournament in roughly a week. If you can gather together 10-20 of your closest friends, set up a private league, throw some “matchsticks” in the pool (you know what I mean!) and divvy them up to whoever gets the most points, you’ve just added some more fun to your poker experience!
Just like DFS, there’s a “rookie” way to go about playing Fantasy Poker Manager – picking all the “big stars” and being able to only have a team consisting of three or four players – and there’s the “skillful” manner in which to play the game. Here are three things to consider that will improve your team’s performance when you take your team into your next Fantasy Poker Manager league battle.
Don’t Set Your Team Too Soon
Fantasy Poker Manager doesn’t lock the lineups for its competitors until Day Two starts for the actual tournament itself. Sure, you can rush in and get a roster set before a tournament that has two or three Day Ones, but you are losing some important information that could be gleaned from the extra time. There are a couple of reasons that you want to wait.
One, by waiting you will KNOW who is playing in the tournament. Fantasy Poker Manager is pretty good about trying to give its fantasy managers a pre-tournament list of who is going to be competing at the tournament, but those aren’t always correct. If you pick someone and they aren’t in the tournament, you’re going to lose some “gold coins” when you have to trade that person out for another player that is actually participating (there is a 10% “transaction fee” that takes “gold coins” away when you make a transaction).
Two, by waiting you’ll be able to monitor the information from live coverage to see just who is playing well and who is getting tremendously lucky. That is a big thing when you see a chip leader who vastly is leading the field – did he/she get there by skillful play or were they a luck box? Those live updates and streams that come with much of tournament poker coverage nowadays will give you some insight as to the players.
Spread the Love
You can put a team together that consists of Steve O’Dwyer, Byron Kaverman, Jason Mercier, Nicholas Petrangelo and Anthony Zinno (the top five players on the Global Poker Index 300) – but you better have 2.5 million “gold coins” to be able to afford this All-Star team. That is part of the charm of Fantasy Poker Manager is that you just can’t load up on the “big names” in poker (especially since they aren’t always playing in the tournament). You have to be able to show some knowledge of the players and delve deep into the rankings to find the players that people may not know a great deal about. For example, at the EPT Dublin, you could get the tenth place player from Day 1A, Jean-Noel Thorel (a very good but not well-known French pro) for 14,260 “gold coins,” a bargain if there is one.
This works out in another way. If you are able to spread your budget out over 12 players, when the players price goes up and you “sell back,” you’ll earn more “gold coins” than what you started with. This is one of the ways to increase your starting budget – drafting players and seeing their “market price” go up over time. Some fantasy managers buy a player at a low rate and hold onto them, selling them when they reach a high mark – just like the stock market. It is another way to enjoy Fantasy Poker Manager.
Balance Across the Board
You might be able to pick the chip leader after Day One – heck, you might even be able to get him for an extremely cheap price – but how often does the Day One chip leader win the tournament? Remember, you’re looking to win the overall event. You need to get as many players as possible cashing in the tournament and, while starting with the chip leader isn’t too bad an idea, you have to look down the ladder to see who is in the mix.
I normally have a rule that I won’t choose a player for my roster that is below the chip average after Day One. Even with that rule in place, though, you’d be surprised at the number of players who pull themselves up from the basement and at least earn a cash out of an event. While this is one of my rules, I’ll at least take a look under that line to see who is there and, if the price is right, might take a flier on a player in a tough spot.
There’s a great deal of fun that can be had through playing Fantasy Poker Manager. So get out there, round up your buddies and start your 2016 season…who knows, when the baseball season rolls around, you might have caught a different DFS fever!