Fantasy Poker and Me

Back in the Full Tilt Poker days they ran a fun fantasy poker promotion during the WSOP for a few years. I enjoyed it even though I wasn’t very good at it. Just as I got into baseball stats way before it became fashionable, what I discovered was that I was not a good data analyst and as much as I enjoyed number crunching, I never seemed to select the rising baseball stars or the winning poker players.

Sill I enjoyed the game enough that I decided to create and operate a year round fantasy poker website in my spare time. It took about 10 weeks but I did in fact perform a soft launch of the site and conducted several private contests using a player pool cultivated during my years playing fantasy poker on Full Tilt. What I discovered is that the concept only works well if you can figure out a way to manage and handicap the massive pool of poker players. This was such a daunting task that I gave up on the project before launching it for real.

About 2 weeks after I gave up on fantasy poker the GPI rating system was announced and, along with it, a fantasy poker game run by the same organization that wasn’t half bad even as a facebook app. Given that circumstance I do not regret the decision to pull the plug on my own fantasy poker website.

Fantasy poker still survives today but in a different form: as a vehicle for professional poker players and industry insiders to wager huge sums. See the website for the details. This year I decided to play along. Using the rules outlined by site operator ‘ODB’ I selected a team and I was already to submit my team into the “junior league” until I saw the price tag: $525. While that is certainly not an amount of money that would normally give me pause for a good sweat, it did force me to recall how incredibly bad I have always been at selecting a fantasy poker team. So I didn’t send in the money and instead posted my team on the the r/poker subreddit on I got one other person to post a team and so it is on even though nothing but bragging rights is on the line!

With about 16 events out of 78 settled the early returns are in and, to my shock and surprise, my team has already amassed a whopping 480 points. To put that in perspective, the top score in the “senior league” has 387 points and the top team in the “junior league” has 304 points. Meanwhile two of my players are way up the chip leaderboard in Event 20 and so the hits just keep coming. With first prize of $10,000 for the junior league you can perhaps understand my current anguish. I would be in good shape for a pretty massive payout if I had just pulled the trigger!

Here is the reddit post where you can see my team as well as periodic updates on the head to head contest that I am crushing: First Annual Reddit r/poker WSOP Fantasy Poker Contest