Fantasy Beyond the Numbers

It’s Not just a Fantasy

Jonathan Grimes FanatsyFantasy football has become a major leisure and competitive sports betting activity across North America. So much so that it is now a $1 billion industry. With over 25 million players registered in the US alone, it is also growing at over 10% per year.

The fantasy football phenomenon has also created similar trends in many other sports. There are fantasy leagues in almost every major competitive sport including poker. 

The Fantasy Dream 

Some of the numbers for fantasy football are simply astounding. Many would say that football and fantasy football are men’s games yet more than 25% of all registered players are women, reaching across the gender line and proving it is not a fantasy that women love sports as well.

The typical football fan spends $110 per game while the average fantasy football player spends almost $500 per season. Fantasy football players spend on average at least 15 minutes per day – every day – on their team, league or watching NFL games or stats. 

Even though fantasy football was invented in 1962 it has skyrocketed since 2010 with the advent of multiple advances in technology. The increase of Internet usage, bandwidth availability, smartphone and tablet usage and the widespread development of apps for fantasy football have all led to an increase in participation. In turn, this has led to an increase in usage of data and analytics, although critics say statistical modeling does not increase your chances of winning. For many football fans it is just another way to become involved as a fan, support their favorite players and teams and become an expert on the NFL. Of course, the more time you spend at any activity (researching, learning the rules and strategies) can only better your skill in determining the outcome; the same is true for fantasy poker. 

Fantasy Poker 

Although football fantasy leagues are the top leagues participated in, other leagues are starting to drum up some notice and not all of them are major league sports. The ESPN Fantasy Poker League is in its ninth year and is starting a trend of its own. When football ends, where do you spend your fantasy time? 

Just as in fantasy football, there are fantasy poker leagues that focus on professional poker pros with a draft system that follows pros and their finishing positions in different tournament circuits for points and an ultimate win by the fantasy player.

One of the most popular fantasy poker leagues is the ESPN Annual WSOP Fantasy Draft, which is an invitation-only celebrity league published for the enjoyment of poker fans. This type of fantasy poker league is growing in popularity among sports fans and poker fans. The ESPN owners and a few select pros are invited to measure their ability to pick an overall winner based on cashes, final tables and finishes in the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). The point is to draft players that play enough events to show up in cashes, final tables and wins. This league also allows a swap out of two players in the middle of the WSOP just like trade deadline in the NFL Fantasy League.

While this particular fantasy league is by invitation only, many poker fans will create their own drafts so that they can join in on the fun. As we mentioned in regards to fantasy football, the same goes for fantasy poker: spending time researching the draft rules as well as the players is important to be successful – and for those of you who might not know as much about this sport as you do about football, you’ll need to study up on the basic poker rules and strategies, and learn about how poker tournaments work. Then, put your knowledge to the test in a fantasy poker league. 

Of course there is probably a fantasy league for almost any sport you are interested in, so when it’s football off-season, stay fresh for next season by drafting players in another sport and keep your skills strong. 

If you love what fantasy football has to offer, such as the in-depth learning associated with fantasy leagues and how it betters your knowledge of the game, the same is true for fantasy poker leagues. The best advice is to join both fantasy leagues to maintain your fun year-round.

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