This letter is meant to be a response not only to the ARTICLE WRITTEN BY THE NEW YORK TIMES TODAY, but as a response in general to the recent media criticism of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). First I will give you a small bit of background on myself.
My name in the real world is Joshua James Lyons. My name in the daily fantasy sports world is xfrankboothx. A few people probably know me from playing in contests with me over the last four years. I have never written for a DFS website, nor have I ever been a DFS video analyst. I first found DFS in February of 2012. I had been playing Fantasy Sports season long leagues with friends for around fifteen years and I have kept track of sports statistics in general for as long as I can remember. I first began thinking of trying to make Fantasy Sports a career in 2003. I hadn't even played for money but I was always either winning my league or finishing second. Five or six years later, I first started seeing DFS sites. The sites were a little to small at the time for me to dip my feet in, but I always kept an ear to the ground for DFS to get a little bigger. Then in the Winter of 2012 I had to stop working for a few months due to some health issues. It wasn't anything serious, just some stomach issues brought on by alcohol and spicy foods. In this time, I was at home a lot looking at NBA twitter (a collection of nerds like myself who tweet about NBA constantly) all day. One day I noticed, Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops was hosting a freeroll on the now defunct Draftstreet for NBA. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. I didn't cash in that freeroll but I ended up depositing $20 the next day and over the next few weeks I found about four more sites. One of them was Fanduel, Draftkings wasn't around for another few months as I recall.
I had some success playing the games and I realized quickly that I could make a profit playing DFS. That June I went back to work after realizing my stomach problems weren't all that serious. It wasn't too long before I realized my time could be better spent playing DFS full time. I worked for that month and haven't worked a "real job" since.
I would always hesitate to refer to myself as a "Pro" despite the fact that this was my primary source of income. I think there's a misconception when people hear the word "Pro" involved. I think they automatically assume that you have an unlimited bankroll and that you have many advanced computer models that do all of the work for you. While this may be true for many pros, neither statement refers to me. I have not gotten rich playing DFS but I have certainly made enough to make a living on for three years. I am rarely at the top of any leaderboards in any tournaments, but I almost always cash in them. In fact, this year week 4 of College Football was my first time winning a big contest. Coincidentally, almost immediately after I won that contest was when all of the problems started popping up in the media for DFS.
I am not trying to say that DFS is some perfect utopia for sports fans by any means. In fact, there are quite a few cons involved in DFS. In my opinion though, the pros definitely far outweigh the cons. The two primary issues that bother me go hand in hand, scripting and "Bumhunting." If you are not familiar, in short scripts help you enter thousands of contests with a computer program rather than entering them manually. I have personally never used a script to enter a contest. I only started using spreadsheets last year when I realized the information would be easier to read. I am turning 35 soon and it's safe to say I'm pretty set in my ways. Bumhunting is fairly self explanatory. I think it comes from online poker, something I never got into. It is basically when a seasoned veteran will seek out new players so they can have a bigger advantage. When I first noticed people were doing this and people with really large bankrolls were entering the super low stakes games, like a lot of other people I took to ROTOGRINDERS message boards to complain. A few people sided with the pros and said that you need to: "Build better lineups." One of these people was Crazy Gabey. I would like to point out at this point that I am not here to bash Gabey, I have never even met him. I am not here to bash the New York Times or Jay Caspian Kang either. I just think that if you are going to write a piece about DFS that you should get all of the facts from more than just one or two sources. People are entitled to change their opinions too of course, but I just found Gabey pulling that 180 in an interview interesting to say the least. I realize that people declined comment for this interview, but many notable DFS personalities weren't contacted for this interview at all.
The positive aspects of DFS are fairly obvious, but I will point them out anyway. You can turn your sports knowledge into money. I know they say that the pros suck most of the money up, but there are many different sites and contests for you to enter. No one is forcing you to chase the top heavy tournament, this is America after all. DFS has taken me to Las Vegas and to sporting events, all free of charge (not even a buyin, I won these all in free entry contests). DFS strengthens communities, and it most certainly helps the economy. Notice how New York State has no problem accepting tax money from Fanduel and Draftkings despite the AG's view of these sites. Fanduel and Draftkings both have large offices in NYC and the first ever DFS Player's conference was just held in NYC. I think from the sporting leagues side of things, DFS has to have been fairly beneficial for them. The MLB And NBA wouldn't have partnered up with DFS sites if they didn't feel that way. I have always wondered how much DFS has helped Pro sports revenues, if at all. It would be interesting to one day see some sort of graph showing these stats. I'm sure they are out there.
I have sat on the sides for the most part during all of the media mayhem that has surrounded DFS in the last four months. Maybe Fanduel and Draftkings did get a little overzealous with their commercials at the beginning of the NFL season. I completely understand that people would rather watch Cialis commercials every thirty seconds than find out about DFS. To each their own. Even with all of the people complaining about the advertisements, I never would have expected the NY AG to go on the tirade against DFS that he has. Now again, I'm not here to bash anyone, especially people that I have never met or spoken to. I can only speculate like every other DFS Pro though that the AG is operating for the Casinos here. Mr. Kang claims to have lost $1950 in 17 weeks since NFL started playing DFS. I don't doubt that, but there are many "regular guys" like myself still out there who will filing tax returns once again this year for DFS income. This is not meant to be a humble brag or anything of the sort, I am merely trying to point out that there are still Average Joes that can play everyday and not use all of this sophisticated software to provide your success.
I don't know where we should go from here, I wish I did. I don't think anyone outside of the NY AG really wants to see DFS shut down. Ideally I would like to see a group of DFS pros form some sort of governing body that helps solve issues like scripting, bumhunting, etc. I know that the FANTASY SPORTS TRADE ASSOCIATION exists, but I don't think an organization like that has come about for DFS yet. It is great that we have well known pros like STLCARDINALS84, DB730, SOCRDAVE, ALSMIZZLE, and many more that have platforms to have their voices heard. I'm not here to call them out either, as many of these people have already done a great job of conveying our voice. I used to always refer to "DFS Ambassadors" as an extremely sarcastic term, but there has never been a larger need for all of our Ambassadors to step up and help keep DFS legal. While I have never considered myself an Ambassador, I am ready to help and do whatever is needed to make sure we keep our community.
If anyone would like to speak to me further about DFS you can reach me via e mail at
Joshuajlyons@gmail.com and on Twitter at FrankBooth_DFS