Saturday, August 11, 2018

DFS: Advanced Construction Techniques

'Imagining a Scenario'

Let's assume a pool of 35 players to build your lineup from and a contest with 100 entries. There's usually an obvious winner on a slate, often more so what does everyone do? Fill their lineups with that squads players because "Duh dude they're going to win!" I'm going to tell you why this is the wrong approach to building tournament winning lineups and it has to do with some game theory concepts that are a bit outside the box but have brought me a lot of success.

First I need to discuss a concept known as 'lineup differentiation.' If the 100 entries we mentioned in the above example have all identified one team on the slate that is a "surefire" win or is "definitely" underpriced then the MAJORITY of them are going to utilize those players in some combination or capacity. For the sake of this discussion let's say there's a five game NA LCS slate in which two of those games are the first and second place teams playing against the ninth and tenth place teams. Obviously they're heavy favorites for a reason and most people will want a piece of those points. Let's say 60 of the entries select three members from the first place team and 25 entries select three members from the second place team. That's now 85 entries containing at least three players from those two games. What if the first place team loses their match and plays poorly? That's not 60 lineups that are more than likely eliminated from winning a 100 person tournament because you more or less can't win a contest that large with three underperformers at that high price. Suddenly the field is now 40 lineups to beat instead of 100 if you avoided players from that team. This is an example of using 'lineup differentiation' to gain an edge simply by not selecting players from that team.

In the example above we witnessed the first place team drop a game to one of the worst teams and in that same example, 60% of the field had at least three players from that team which effectively eliminated 60% of the field from contention. Of the other 40 entires we said 25 would contain at least three players from the second place team. Typically you can't afford three or four or more players from the most or second most expensive team on a slate without taking either less than that, say one or two players, or keeping three or more but in combination with players from the bottom team or teams. What ends up happening, most of the time, is you end up with a lineup with two expensive second place team players and a lot of mid priced players and while this can be a good strategy for Cash Games it's rarely enough to spike a tournament so that's 60% of the field eliminated, and roughly 25% in some form within a middle point total range which is effectively elimination for a tournament where you usually need to be in the top 20% to even get your money back. I now want to explain to you what I consider to be my main edge in allowing my to take down so many big pots in tournament play and that's a technique I like to call 'Imagining a Scenario.' 

The idea behind 'Imagining a Scenario' is quite simple; to imagine an unlikely scenario actually happening. In our example this could mean effectively betting on the upset. Maybe we play three players plus the team from that last place team that "definitely" won't win. We not only get to eliminate the field of competition by 60% but we also free up a ton of salary to spend on players from that second place team or maybe on three or four carries for our flex spots. This is a really simple technique that most people are simply not brave enough to try. It's a little counterintuitive but is it really that difficult? Not at all and here's the kicker, the times when it's incorrect and everyone has stacked the heavy favorite and that heavy favorite wins, they're now often going to split the pot because there isn't enough 'lineup differentiation' in the top 20 which makes the effective value (EV) of your entry drop significantly.

The only real art to my success is knowing when to bet heavy on upsets and when not to which is, admittedly, a game of chance and more founded on game analysis and strategy than gambling or game theory. I don't bet upsets every single day but I do bet them significantly more often than the field which is why I've had so much success. Think about it. How often does an upset happen in professional League of Legends? Fairly often. Hell this past weekend we just witnessed FlyQuest with a sub mid laner defeat the mighty TSM and a few others as well. If there's 9 weeks in an LCS season and there's about one upset a week or maybe three every two weeks or thereabout then your $1 entry has significantly better odds than a lottery ticket to turn into $20. From there it's just a matter of scaling up or down depending on your bankroll.

- Types of Rosters: 1) Winnings Non-Carries + Losing/Upset Carries  2) Upset non-carries + winning carries   3) The 3 and 4 Carry lineup  4) The Price is Wrong (Free Win) (an underdog priced definite winner and an undercosted definite winner stack)

-You need to

- Quad stacking non-carries on winning teams and why it's the most effective way to win in cash games

- The Winning Team Non-Carries + Upset Carries

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