Interview with the Newest DailyRoto Millionaire: SkipBidder
DailyRoto subscriber ‘SkipBidder’ won $1,000,000 on Fanduel (FD) last weekend and is the latest DailyRoto subscriber to win 7-figure prize in DFS. Ricky Sanders broke down his roster (shown below) as part of our GPP Recaps and we were lucky enough to get the newest millionaire to answer a few questions.
First off, congrats! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What you do for work and all that fun stuff?
I’m a Palliative Medicine physician. I manage symptoms and help people make decisions regarding difficult medical situations. This includes at the very end of life. This sounds depressing, but it is very rewarding work. I was actually on call over the weekend I won. I played a lower volume than I normally would because I was in the hospital and unable to make adjustments prior to kickoff. I was taking care of patients by telephone during my sweat (and afterward).
I was always a big board game geek. That spilled over into Strat-o-Matic. I was always the one running the fantasy baseball leagues in high school and college (as well as doing a little not-so-legal bookmaking). I basically paid for college living expenses via poker and pool. I was making enough money playing poker that it was very tempting to quit school. Internet poker (and sports betting) made that even more tempting. I got away without losing any money in the various internet gambling catastrophes, although I had a lot of money tied up for several months in the Neteller case.
I played chess and bridge competitively. Well, the latter I played at a much more competitive level, to be honest. That’s where “skipbidder” comes from as a nickname. I was good enough that I could have considered teaching and running a bridge club as a way to make a living, but it would have meant moving to a different area, which I wasn’t ready to do.
I ended up in medical school because my better half (at the time, now an ex) didn’t really consider gambling to be an acceptable way to make a living.
How long have you been playing DFS?
I had basically quit internet poker and sports betting because of the very sketchy legal situation by the time DFS started to happen. I heard advertisements and had friends (who knew I used to bet and was a huge fantasy sports geek) ask me whether or not it was legitimate. I had no real idea. It looks like I first deposited on Fanduel in 2013. I played at some of the sites that have since died. (I really liked SportsTradex.)
How has DFS been for you up until your big win? Have you been playing high stakes or low stakes?
I’ve had a few pretty good days before. This was the best one, obviously, but there have been a few 6 figure days before. I typically put between $3000 and $12,000 in play on a full slate MLB day across the sites. I usually MME (Mass Multi Enter) on Fanduel and enter single lineups on other sites. This originally came about because I didn’t want to MME in late swap tournaments because I felt that I couldn’t apply the late swap strategies effectively across hundreds of lineups. I’ll often take my single favorite lineup on Fanduel and enter that into a bunch of the single entry games or the higher entry games that I’m not MME-ing. I tend to predominantly play GPPs, and I don’t diversify my plays as much as many people seem to advocate, so my profit trajectory tends to be a slow downward trend with upward spikes when I nail the core.
How long have you been with DailyRoto?
You guys could probably tell me easier than I could tell you! I’ve been with DailyRoto from the start since I was with RotoExperts before the split. The oldest email I can find from RotoExperts tells me to: “Let Kawhi guide you on Saturday”, and is from 2014. Dink looks like he’s 12 in the header. Pretty disappointing lack of a pun in the title.
How does DailyRoto help you with DFS? How specifically did you use it to help with your win?
Back when you were just giving out plays by position, separated into Cash vs GPP, I used it as another voice in considering potential plays (and spent time with other sites). Once you started releasing projections, then I started using other resources considerably less often. I did go through an embarrassingly tedious process of trying to see how much your better projections were doing than straight random picks would have done. If I were better with computers, that would have gone a lot faster. On a recent pod, one of the hosts was talking about checking the projection results against the salaries, so I suppose I could have just ask you straight up. I appreciated an analytical approach that didn’t claim unreasonably spectacular results.
For the sports that are part of the Elite Package, I basically don’t spend much time elsewhere. Except I often listen to Pat Mayo‘s podcasts, because I enjoy them.
I normally build my single entry lineups on non-FD sites first. I use projections to help me with those but have been hand-building them. With the improved options in the customizer, I may be using it more for DK as well. I’ll probably start playing around with customizations, then have it spit out 10 or 12 lineups and pick out the one I like the most.
For contests where I’m MME-ing on FD, I’ll start locking a player or two and seeing what the DailyRoto optimizer spits out. That will help me get a sense of how tight I want to make the player pool. Then I’ll normally aggressively tighten up the pool. Usually, this is too tight. If I start to see some silly plays (or if the optimizer can’t spit out all the lineups I want to play), then I’ll start to loosen it up. I don’t mind having very high ownership percentages on a fair number of players in my lineups. There are days where I will lock 5 or 6 guys and just let the optimizer wheel the rest of the spots. Those days tend to be boom or bust. You are frequently cashing all of those or none of them.
For the milly win? I actually played less than I normally would, since I had to be at work and might not make it home in time to tinker. I locked three RBs (DJ, Kamara, and Conner). I ran a few iterations to see how many quarterbacks it looked like I wanted to play. I originally thought three, but some of the lineups started to look a little bit sketchy, so I expanded to four. The order I liked them was Rivers, Fitzpatrick, Tannehill, Dalton. I couldn’t afford Brady and have had my best success playing mid-tier or scrub QBs in any event. #TeamJamEmIn.
On DK, I added Brees. I only played 25 lineups there, though. I ran the opto early in the morning, so it probably came out differently for folks who were able to tinker closer to gametime. I actually ended up with one lineup with Will Fuller (who was scratched Sunday Morning) in it, and I didn’t catch that in time. I didn’t lock Michael Thomas, but the opto was practically forcing me to play him. It also insisted on a lot of Gronk. Once I had both Kamara and Thomas in lineups, it felt like I had to play some Fitzmagic stacks too and hope for a shootout. The other teams without Fitz still worked out well. I cashed 141/150, since the core smashed. Before the upgraded optimizer, I would have done the same thing, but in a much more tedious process that would have consumed hours and hours of my Saturday. I used to plug your projections into a different optimizer because yours was not terribly functional. You’ve made it much better.
Fitzpatrick and Desean Jackson were a big separator. What got you on them?
Dumb luck. I think Fitz was fine. He made sense to me, especially as part of a game stack, as I was heavy on Kamara and Thomas anyway and wasn’t going to play Brees on FD. He was in the top 5 QB values in the projections and was expected to be low-owned. I don’t often pay that much attention to ownership. I think it’s overrated as a concern. The exceptions are for starting pitcher and QB. I usually take care of ownership concerns by playing a ton of different combinations at some of my non-core positions. I’m just going to spam the positions where I’m ambivalent and hope I hit the nuts. I just think of it as similar to having four $333 lineups rather than 150 $9 lineups. What got me on Desean Jackson? The opto spit out 2 (I think) out of 37 lineups with him in as the WR/TE. (I asked for one WR/TE in the options.) That was under the threshold for ridiculousness. If it had put him in 5 or 6? I might have balked at that. I liked Godwin more, just like every else. If I had expanded to 6 QBs instead of four, I might not have had D-Jax at all.
Talk to us about your sweat…
Boring. I don’t typically share sweats. I don’t want to be famous. I’ve never played in a qualifier to try to get to a live final. I posted my “I did okay too. Thanks guys” Slack message because it amused me. I wasn’t planning on saying anything else unless someone caught it.
My significant other doesn’t like to be involved with sweats. That’s usually because they end up with something like $250K turning into $50K and me being grumpy about what might have been. This time, I noticed that I had some lineups that were smashing early, so I paid a little more attention. I had Redzone on while I was doing notes and taking care of patients by phone. Before the Cardinals game, I noticed that I had one lineup that was in something like 12th place and had Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (DJ) left. Nobody higher than me had DJ or anything else credible. Nobody in the several pages I scrolled back into seemed to have good chances at catching me. It looked like I needed something like 20 points out of DJ to win the thing. When it was clear that he was going to struggle with that, I lost a little interest. Then Tyreek Freaking Hill happened and I was no longer sweating first but just hoping that I’d hold on to some of the profits.
I had gone out to be sociable when my “Amount Winning” was in the 40K neighborhood. A nice day, but nothing that would pay off the mortgage. Started to eat dinner, snuck a peak at the phone a few times, and had a shock. I was at something in the low 30K winnings range in the Milly, and it suddenly changed to only 1K! I was pissed and ran into my room to see what had happened. What had happened is that my screen cut off the winnings, and showed 1,xxx,xxx which I mistook for dollar and cents. It couldn’t display the whole number. One of my lineups came out of nowhere with the Kenny Stills and Dolphins DST touchdowns. That team had not been on the radar. It’s pretty greedy to root for 4-106-2 from Kenny Stills and a defensive touchdown from the Dolphins to boot. So then I started actually sweating it.
I didn’t think I was going to win it since I would lose if Miami gave up any more points, and there were 10 minutes of game time left and Tannehill decided to throw a pick. I’ve experienced losing wheelbarrows full of cash from negative points before. I once lost almost 6 figures on FD because a game went into extra innings and one of my guys got an extra at-bat and took the -0.25 out penalty. In this case, it would have been $900K that I lost, for the drop from 1st to 3rd. It looked like I was safe from being caught from behind by anyone. But I was only a small amount ahead of 2nd and 3rd and I still had Stills and Miami DST. Stills had already scored more than could be expected of him, but Miami was more than capable of giving up more points. With a Gabbert interception, I was feeling pretty good. Stills tacking on an 11-yard catch was icing. I was safe against a Titans score in garbage time. (Without the Stills catch, I still win the thing 242.68 to 242.66, and some other guy smashes his laptop.)
I handled two serious patient situations by phone during the last 10 minutes of the game, by the way. Those both worked out as well as could be expected.
So you’re a millionaire now! Any big plans for the money? Do you plan to ramp up DFS play or set a big chunk aside?
Boring once again. Exciting for me, but not for any sort of narrative purposes. My big plans for the money are to argue with my guy at the bank about whether or not I should pay off all my student loans and my mortgage. I suggested I pay off the debt and put the remainder in a low-risk vehicle until I got to send it to the IRS. (That actually takes care of all the money. Student loans are a bear.) He wants me to invest it instead. TBD. Maybe it will be a hybrid plan. Okay. I’ll fix up some of the sketchy electrical work in my house, and do something nice for my mom and sister. If I want to goof around, maybe I’ll get a koi pond put in right behind my back porch.
I’m not planning on ramping up my play at all. I didn’t get any better at this game. With people like the DR team making better tools, the competition is just going to get better as well. I really can’t easily get any more money down in spots where I feel I have an edge anyway. I’m not going to start maxing out the Monster. I’ll stick with 0-2 lineups in that.
What advice would you have for other DFS players?
- You are putting too much money in play.
- You are putting too much money in play.
- You are playing in higher stakes tournaments than you should.
- You are putting too much money in play.
That’s pretty much it. I’ve seen a lot of people who can theoretically beat various types of gambling overbet their bankrolls and go bust. Blackjack, poker, dog and horseracing, sportsbetting, you name it. If you haven’t heard of the Kelly Criterion, go look it up. (Side note, Drewby wrote up an article on using Kelly Criterion for Cash Game bankroll management.) Seriously. You shouldn’t bet a single dime more until you’ve read about it and understand it. People often ask how much of your bankroll you should put in play on a slate. You often hear people suggest 10%. That’s ludicrous. Some of the big boys MIGHT be able to beat some DFS sports by enough to justify that percentage, but they are only reading this piece for the lulz. Estimate your ROI. Now cut that in half because you are fooling yourself. Now cut it in half again because the field is always getting better. That new percentage? That’s the maximum percentage of your bankroll you should put into play. That’s probably something like 2% if you are reading this on DR. (It might be 4% if you founded DR.) 2% is no fun? Tough. You can play more, but know that it rapidly increases your risk of ruin. You have to accept that you are playing lotto now.
Play lower stakes too. Do it for multiple reasons. The games get tougher. They just do. They did in poker (unless you were hunting for whales), and they do in DFS. Why are you trying to beat a game where people like papagates have a third of the entries? Better to play in the game where people like ILoveBoobies69Niiiice4Eva have most of the entries. Also, you won’t get as mad when you bubble the $4.44 as you will when you bubble the $777. Let’s call that Skipbidder’s Rule. If bubbling the tournament makes you want to smash your laptop, you played too high. I can handle bubbling the $333. I get pretty cross if I bubble anything higher than that, so I tend not to play up there on FD most days.
Fine. Do you want some advice that isn’t so preachy? Here we go: If you are playing FD and putting less than $500 in play, strongly consider playing the 100 player leagues. The rake is lower, the games are softer, and you still can have a nice night when you finish high.