Friday, July 30, 2010

Multi-Fantasy Sports Challenge Begins Today

My challenge with Buffalo66 kicks off today with our first daily fantasy baseball match. I spent about a week getting used to the fantasy baseball on the site we will be playing at. My record so far is pretty poor. There are a few reasons for this. The first few days I was climbing a pretty steep learning curve and getting burned as a result. After that, I have simply been on the wrong end of variance (unlucky). Daily fantasy sports is a bit of a beast. Because you are playing another human it is a combination of how good your score is and how bad your opponent's score is. While I have won by huge margins in most of my wins, I have lost most of my matches by small margins. I just can't seem to line my score up against a slightly worse score, but that will start happening overtime. I developed a daily projection model that to me seems pretty solid, and should be able to beat daily fantasy baseball, and hopefully buffalo66 as well. One big issue I have is the cap values of the individual players at the site we will be playing at. Unlike the players cap values are not proportional to their average fantasy points scored per game. They try to make some sort of adjustment for a players recent performance, and pitchers are grossly undervalued compared to hitters. Also, the range of values for hitters is way too flat and does not represent the fantasy scoring discrepancy between the best and worst fantasy players. All of this tends to reduce the level of skill you can apply to the game, which makes for more similar teams among good players and more of a crapshoot as a result.

Problems with Projection Based Caps

You simply should not try to adjust player salary cap values based on non-obvious factors. Lets say that you developed daily fantasy score projections for fantasy baseball and used them for your player cap values. Now lets say that you worked on them until they were so sophisticated that they became as accurate as any other projection system used. The fact that you are using the most accurate player projections for the player values, means that the game has become 100% luck based. Any and all fantasy teams selected that used the full amount of cap available would be of equal likely to win under as system like that. Results would be determined entirely by luck. It's almost like if there was some perfect way to play poker, and online sites automatically pointed out the perfect play to every user every time. The skill edge would be completely removed. Pricing your players based on accurate projections removes the skill edge, which is something you do not want unless you are at a skill disadvantage.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Challenge Accepted!

Fellow poker blogger Buffalo66, and longtime customer of FantasySportsLive issued a challenge a while back to the Daily Fantasy Sports community. He challenged any takers to a series of Heads-Up matches across all of the different fantasy sports disciplines (Football, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, and NASCAR). This is kind of similar to HORSE in poker. While some people are good at some of the poker games, the best all around poker player would be the one who is best at HORSE or a combination of all of them. So his challenge was to see if he was the best all around daily fantasy sports player around. He has had no takers up until now. I was reminded of his challenge when reading his interview over at RotoGrinders which just launched earlier this week. Rotogrinders is to Daily Fantasy Sports what PocketFives is to online poker. They were created by the same people, and we are hoping the extra buzz around daily fantasy sports will finally push it into the mainstream. For example you can check out Kaiseroll13 winnings at RotoGrinders and see that he has won close to 100k on Fantasy Sports Live alone since March. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the challenge. I figured that I have me some salary cap based daily fantasy sports skillz. I mean I practically invented (correction - invented) salary cap based daily fantasy sports for money. So since he had no takers, and I feel it is a worthy challenge, I decided to take him up on his offer.

Challenge Details

Total Heads-Up Matches: 48
Matches Per Sport: 12
Buy-in Per Match: $25
Total Buy-in amount: $1200
Fantasy Sports: Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, and Football

NASCAR was dropped because there are not many good offerings outside of FSL and this challenge will not be held at FSL so I can keep my winnings.

Whoever has the best W/L record over the challenge is deemed the current best all around daily fantasy sports player in the world.

Handicapping the Challenge

This one is probably going to go down to the wire, but I obviously would not have taken the challenge unless I thought I had a good chance. On the surface, many will be wondering what I am smoking. Buffalo66 is #2 on the FSL all-time leaderboard with over 3500 cashes in Fantasy Sports Leagues at FSL. He most likely is sitting second overall in cashes in the history of fantasy sports, as thousands of cashes really was not possible before daily fantasy sports started. He is going to have a pretty healthy edge on me in fantasy hockey, and I should have a decent edge in fantasy basketball. The dropping of Fantasy NASCAR works to my advantage, because he would have held an edge on me there as well. So that leaves fantasy football and fantasy baseball. If you go back and read this post you can see that I attempted to take over all of the fantasy football action at a competing site, and crushed all takers including the #1 player all-time at FSL for a 71-10 heads up record over weeks 11-12 last year. I did not continue to win at that pace, and gave up my quest shortly after getting frustrated with the looseness of the cap structure and the tendency of teams to be nearly identical for the best players on the site. The fact that I was arriving at the nearly the same but slightly better optimal team as the best players reinforced that my system is solid for Fantasy Football. I believe that I will have a decent edge in the fantasy football part of the challenge as a result. That leaves fantasy baseball. Buffalo66 has an edge there as of today. I am not familiar with the structure details on the competing site, and have never played it before. I have some solid ideas on what to do having written daily fantasy baseball strategy guides for FSL, but I am lacking in experience, and that will be a disadvantage. I really think it will come down to if I can hold my own through the baseball portion, and then really run my numbers up at basketball and football enough to make up for hockey where there is no way I can hold my own. Now if you ask Buffalo66, he probably thinks he has me in baseball, hockey and possible football, but is probably a bit concerned about basketball. It's his challenge, and he went for the max stakes, so he has to feel confident going in. Should be fun, and I will pop some updates here along the way.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Romer Spins 3 Million Lost Jobs into 3.5 Million Gained

The white house must think we are very stupid. When you ram through a massive stimulus package that is supposed to create 3.5 million jobs it is pretty tough to argue that you were successful when 3 million jobs have been lost since it was passed. They love to use the "save or created" language, but that is not how the stimulus was originally sold. The numbers below are from Romer's report on the job impact of the stimulus package, prepared in January 2009. It shows an increase in Total Payroll of 3.675 million jobs by the end of 2010 if the stimulus package was enacted, vs. not enacted. With total payroll numbers at 134M prior to enactment, and 137.5M after enactment in her table. Total payroll numbers have actually dropped to the 131M mark since the stimulus package was enacted. So not only did the stimulus not create any of the jobs they claimed it would, it actually cost us another 3M in lost jobs. You would not know that, by the wild claims of success from the White House. Romer also claimed that unemployment would not rise about 7% if the stimulus was enacted. She has zero credibility, and would have been fired for incompetence by now if we had a real leader. The worst part about the whole stimulus package is that if it did in fact save any jobs they were all government jobs, and not construction and manufacturing jobs that they claimed would be created through "shovel-ready" projects. Construction and manufacturing jobs have been lost in every month since the stimulus package passed, because the "shovel-ready" line, was complete bullshit. It was more of a handout ready plan that did nothing but destroy jobs. Please stop insulting my intelligence with patently bogus claims.

Table 1
Aggregate Effect of the Recovery Package on GDP and Jobs in 2010Q4
Real GDP (billions
of chained 2000 $) Payroll Employment
Without Stimulus $11,770 133,876,000
With Stimulus $12,203 137,550,000
Effect of Package Increase GDP by 3.7% Increase jobs by 3,675,000

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Does Blackjack Teach Tight-Agressive Poker?

Before I caught the poker bug, I used to mainly play Blackjack in Vegas. Sometimes even going on all night Bobby Bracelet type benders. Since I started playing poker, I don't play much Blackjack anymore. It's just not that appealing, and seems to "brainless" to play anymore compared to poker. I was in Vegas over the weekend, and had some down time at a locals casino and sat down for some $2 blackjack. It finally dawned on me that correct blackjack play is "tight-aggressive". Anybody who has played blackjack for any amount of time and is not just spewing chips plays it tight-aggressive. The tight part is learning how to stay on non-winning hands like 12, 13, 14, 15 when required. The loose gambler hits those types of hands too often in the wrong situation and looses as a result. You have to play tight and be willing to stand on those types of hands to have a chance. So what's aggressive about blackjack? The tight-aggressive poker player tends to hold on to his/her chips, until they have the best of it, and then they have no problem firing at the pot. In blackjack you do the same thing to some extent. When you have a pair or an 11, or 10 the rules allow you to double your bet. If it looks like you have the best of it, then the tight aggressive blackjack player get aggressive and gets the chips in while good. Ultimately, I ended up being a tight-aggressive style poker player, and I am starting to wonder if all of that blackjack training set me up to play that way. Any thoughts?

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Obama Getting More Done in 18 Months Than Bush Did in Eight Years

Obama is off and running and out to break all of Bush's records. On deficit spending, Obama will easily pass Bush's reckless eight years of red ink in less than 18 months. How about getting American soldiers killed in Afghanistan? Once again Obama is on pace to pass to shatter Bush's 7+ year total in less than 18 months by upping the pace of deaths 5x since he took office. Now I figured he had the deficit spending in him, but war deaths? Bravo Obama! I am just wondering why Obama does not get any love from the Media on the war death thing. When Bush was president they used to read off the names one by one on a daily basis. Now that Obama is president, you would hardly know that War deaths in Afghanistan are at record levels and heading up towards IRAQ type numbers. I hope we get those last 50 Al Qaeda members soon, so Obama can focus on breaking Bush's abuse of presidential powers record. Obama is so close he can probably smell it. He just needs to focus more.

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