Building a Long-Term DFS Bankroll Management Plan

Matt Brown
By Matt BrownPublished: February 29, 2024
Building a Long-Term DFS Bankroll Management Plan

The difference between casual play in DFS and professional strategy often boils down to one critical aspect: bankroll management. A well-thought-out bankroll management plan is your safety net, ensuring you can weather the inevitable ups and downs without crashing out.

After all, there are ebbs and flows no matter how good you are. Our experts always go through them; however, with their bankroll management plan, they stay in the game until their luck bounces back.

The big takeaways are this—

  • Game Limits: 3-5% of your bankroll
  • Contest Split: 70% cash games / 30% guaranteed prize pools

Don't worry, we'll get into the specifics on each.

Understanding Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is essentially about how you manage your DFS playing funds.

It's a strategy to minimize losses, maximize gains, and ensure you're always in the game.

Think of it as the blueprint of a building; without a strong foundation, no matter how impressive it looks, it's prone to collapse under pressure. It's not a matter of if but a matter of when it will collapse.

The core of bankroll management is deciding how much of your total funds to risk in any given contest. This isn't simply picking winners but ensuring you can keep playing even when luck isn't on your side.

The aim is to make your money work for you over the long term, not to chase immediate wins with high stakes.

The 3-5% Rule of Thumb

A golden rule in the DFS community is to risk only 3-5% of your total bankroll on any given day. In sports betting, this rule typically goes with each bet, but in DFS, since multiple games might share the same lineup, we recommend no more than that per day.

For instance, if your bankroll is $1,000, you should limit your daily play to $30-$50. This strategy ensures that even a bad run won't wipe you out, giving you the resilience to play consistently over time.

Maybe you're just starting out, and your initial bankroll is $100, or perhaps that's all your wife will allow you to play with (we get it). Then it would be $3-$5 a day. If you had a bad day, then you're down to $95, but if you had a good day, you might be up to $104 or so. This keeps it incremental.

This percentage isn't arbitrary. It's based on the volatility inherent in DFS and the need for a cushion against the unpredictable.

By sticking to this guideline, you maintain a balance, allowing for both aggressive plays and conservative strategies depending on the contest and your confidence level.

Diversifying Your Play

Just like an investment portfolio, diversification is key in DFS. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Spread your risk across different types of contests. There are various options available, from head-to-head matchups to large tournaments. Each has its own risk and reward profile.

For example, cash games (like 50/50s and head-to-heads) offer more stable returns but smaller payouts, making them a solid foundation for your bankroll.

Tournaments, on the other hand, are high-risk but offer the potential for significant rewards.

Balancing your play between these types can help stabilize your bankroll over the long term. We like to keep a balance of 70% cash games and 30% GPPs, but your style might be different. The cash games keep the bankroll moving up, whereas a decent tournament will boost the bankroll nicely.

Record Keeping and Analysis

An often overlooked aspect of bankroll management is keeping detailed records of your DFS activity.

This is more than simply tracking wins and losses. It's understanding where your strengths and weaknesses lie, which contests are most profitable for you, and how your strategies evolve over time.

That's how we came up with our 70/30% cash game to GPPs. That number doesn't come out of thin air.

By analyzing your play, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate your bankroll.

Perhaps you're consistently performing well in small-field tournaments but not in large-field ones. This insight allows you to adjust your strategy accordingly, focusing more on where you excel.

Speaking of excel, that's what we use to track all of our games. There are some good ones out there in Google Docs. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to create your own DFS tracker.

The primary data we like to track is a platform (i.e., DraftKings, FanDuel, OwnersBox, etc.), contest type, entry amount, and win amount. From there, you can display the data however you want. You can show everything from total wins and losses to a percentage of where your wins come from in various contest types.

Here's an example of a simple bankroll management tracker.

DatePlatformSportContest TypeEntry Amount ($)Win Amount ($)
2024-02-29FanDuelBasketballNBA 50/501018
2024-02-29DraftKingsFootballNFL GPP25500
2024-02-29Yahoo DFSBaseballMLB Head-to-Head50

There's a lot you can do with this information. However, the first step is to start tracking it.

Adjusting Your Approach Based on Performance

Adaptability is crucial in DFS.

Your bankroll management plan isn't set in stone. As your bankroll grows, so too can your stake levels, always adhering to the 3-5% guideline.

On the other hand, if you hit a rough patch, as we all do at some point, it might be wise to scale back, even below the 3% mark, to preserve your bankroll while you reassess your strategies.

As you get your groove back and get back on your feet, adjust it back to the 5% mark.

Remember, the goal is long-term profitability, not short-term gains.

As you become more experienced and your bankroll increases, you can gradually take on more risk, always with an eye on sustainability.

Manage Your Bankroll Like It's Your Day Job

Transforming from a casual DFS player to a pro doesn't happen overnight. It requires discipline, a solid understanding of bankroll management, and an ongoing commitment to analysis and improvement.

By adhering to the 3-5% rule, diversifying your contest entries, keeping meticulous records, and being willing to adjust your strategy based on performance, you set the foundation for long-term success in DFS.

Bankroll management might not be the most glamorous aspect of DFS, but it's undoubtedly one of the most important. With a strong bankroll management plan in place, you're not just playing the game; you're playing to win sustainably and professionally.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Head of DFS

Matt's deep-rooted enthusiasm for sports betting and daily fantasy sports infuses the EatWatchDraft team with valuable expertise in football, hockey, and baseball. His forward-thinking perspectives are grounded in a solid academic foundation, including a B.S. in Aeronautical Computer Science and an M.S. in Project Management. This combination of sports passion and technical knowledge fuels Matt's innovative input to the platform.