Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Contest Selection in Daily Fantasy Sports: Balancing GPPs and Cash Games


In the dynamic world of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), contest selection is a critical component of a winning strategy, applicable across all sports. This article delves into the ongoing debate between diversifying entry fees between Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournaments and cash games, and the emerging trend of GPP maximalism. We’ll discuss both strategies, their pros and cons, and the nuances of identifying beginner pools on platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel.

1. The Balancing Act: GPPs vs. Cash Games A. The Traditional Approach: Evening Out GPPs with Cash Games Pros: This approach is seen as less risky. Cash games, like 50/50s and head-to-heads, offer a higher chance of winning smaller amounts consistently. Balancing with GPPs allows for occasional large wins. Cons: The downside is that cash games have become increasingly competitive, making it harder for players to achieve consistent wins. B. The GPP Maximalist Method Description: This method involves allocating 50-75% of entry fees to large entry cap pools with smaller buy-ins, such as 20 max or 150 max, to gain a wide range of lineup exposures. The remaining budget is spent on single or 3-10 entry max tournaments. Pros: Maximizes potential for large payouts and reduces the impact of increased competition in cash games. Cons: Higher variance and risk. It requires a more profound understanding of the sport and the ability to predict less obvious outcomes. C. A Better Strategy? Recommendation: The ideal strategy may depend on the individual player’s risk tolerance, expertise in the sport, and bankroll size. A hybrid approach might work best for some, balancing the safety of cash games with the high-reward nature of GPPs.ChatGPT


1. The Balancing Act: GPPs vs. Cash Games

A. The Traditional Approach: Evening Out GPPs with Cash Games

  • Pros: Less risky and more stable. Cash games, such as 50/50s and head-to-heads, aim to double your daily stake by finishing in the top half of the field. They offer a higher probability of winning smaller amounts consistently, which is crucial for keeping your bankroll afloat.
  • Cons: The level of competition in cash games has risen significantly, making it challenging to secure those consistent wins. As more players become savvy, the edge in cash games has diminished.

B. The GPP Maximalist Method

  • Description: This approach focuses on allocating a substantial portion of entry fees (50-75%) to large field GPPs with smaller buy-ins (such as $0.25, $0.50, $1, $2) in multi-entry contests. This strategy aims to maximize exposure across a wide range of lineups, increasing the chance of hitting it big in one or more lineups.
  • Pros: By focusing on smaller buy-in, large-field GPPs, players can achieve small but more frequent wins, which helps in sustaining the bankroll while waiting for a big score. It also offers the excitement and potential for substantial payouts.
  • Cons: This approach comes with higher variance and risk. It demands a deeper understanding of the sport and the ability to make less obvious picks that could pay off big.

C. A Better Strategy?

  • Recommendation: The best strategy might be a blend of both approaches, depending on individual preferences and bankroll management. A hybrid strategy can balance the lower risk of cash games with the higher potential rewards of GPPs. This blend allows for steady bankroll maintenance through cash games while still providing the thrill and potential for large payouts in GPPs.

In both strategies, the underlying ideology is to find ways to sustain the bankroll until a significant win occurs. The key is to understand your risk tolerance and adapt your strategy accordingly, always keeping bankroll management in mind. Whether you lean towards the stability of cash games or the high-risk, high-reward nature of GPPs, the goal is to stay in the game long enough to hit those substantial wins.

2. Identifying Beginner Pools on DraftKings and FanDuel

  • Beginner Contests: Both platforms offer contests labeled as ‘Beginner,’ designed for players with less experience. These can be a great starting point for newcomers.
  • Spotting Beginner Pools: Look for contests with entry restrictions based on experience or past success. These pools typically have players with similar skill levels, offering a more level playing field.

3. Bankroll Management in DFS

  • Cap on Bankroll: Advisable to not invest more than 4% of your total bankroll in one slate. This limits exposure and helps in sustaining a longer play period.
  • Daily Spending Limit: Set a cap on daily spending as a percentage of your bankroll to avoid rapid depletion.
  • Long-Term Strategy: Understand that winning large prizes, especially in high-stakes contests, is a process that requires time and repeated attempts (“shots on goal”).
  • Contest Selection is Key: Picking the right contests, ones that align with your strategy, risk tolerance, and bankroll, is crucial for long-term success.


Contest selection in DFS is as much an art as it is a science. Whether you lean towards GPP maximalism or prefer a balanced approach with cash games, understanding your own play style and risk tolerance is key. Combine this with smart bankroll management and strategic contest selection, especially for beginners, and you set the stage for a more enjoyable and potentially profitable DFS experience. Remember, DFS is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience, persistence, and smart play are the hallmarks of successful players.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as financial or betting advice. Always play responsibly and within your means.