This article is one in a series looking at Jack Schwager’s classic investment books. The goal is to study interviews with famous traders and apply their wisdom to daily fantasy sports.
Marty Schwartz turned $20,000 into more than $20 million from the start of his trading career to the time of his Market Wizards interview. He also made a name for himself by winning the U.S. Investing Championship in 1984, the year before David Ryan started his stretch of three titles in four years.
In his interview, Schwartz explains that his biggest advantage is his willingness to outwork his competitors. He also dives into the emotions that come with losing trades and the importance of confronting mistakes. Let’s explore each of those topics and see if we can apply some of his wisdom to DFS.
Be Consistent About Your Work
Even now, I still put in about twelve hours a day. I feel uncomfortable not doing the work; that’s why I am doing it now as you are sitting here. I calculate a lot of mathematical ratios and oscillators, and I post my own charts. My attitude is that I always want to be better prepared than someone I’m competing against. The way I prepare myself is by doing my work each night.
Schwartz believes that his biggest advantage is that he is willing to outwork his competitors. For that reason, he always does his own research, and he makes sure to do that research every night.
Just as Schwartz is competing against other traders in the markets, we are competing against other players in DFS. Outworking your competition is important, and by doing your own research for every slate you give yourself a significant advantage over your competition.
We built our Trends tool — and really the entire suite of FantasyLabs Tools — with this exact idea in mind. It gives users the ability to dive in and research just about any idea they come up with and backtest it against historical data. Once they’ve created trends with desirable Plus/Minus potential, they can leverage that research to outcompete other players in the industry.
Take Your Losses in Stride
Whenever you get hit, you are very upset emotionally. Most traders try to make it back immediately; they try to play bigger. Whenever you try to get all your losses back at once, you are most often doomed to fail. That is true in everything—investments, trading, gambling.
Schwartz points out that losing is one of the most difficult parts of trading. He explains that traders who try to get all of their losses back in a hurry often make bad decisions. This leads them to spiral downward into even worse situations.
In DFS, we call this concept “doubling down on the late slate.” And many of us have made this mistake.
The best way to avoid the temptation of throwing good money after bad is to stay focused on the data. You might be done for the night when your pitcher gets shelled, and then all of a sudden you’re building last-minute lineups for the late slate. It’s almost always a bad idea.
As Schwartz suggests, it’s probably better to take a little time off. Instead trying to win back in the late slate what you lost in the main slate, spend that time researching the next day’s slate in our Player Models and constructing potential rosters with the Lineup Builder. Or you could take some time to watch the tutorial videos from Labs Co-Founder Jonathan Bales or the lineup reviews by Labs Co-Founder Peter Jennings (in our Premium Content Portal). There are lots of ways you can invest in your process without chasing money in the late slate.
Keep Learning and Improving
The great thing about being a trader is that you can always do a much better job. No matter how successful you are, you know how many times you screw up. Most people, in most careers, are busy trying to cover up their mistakes. As a trader, you are forced to confront your mistakes because the numbers don’t lie.
Schwartz freely admits that he has made plenty of mistakes throughout his career. He believes that his strength is in confronting those mistakes instead of attempting to cover them up. Dealing with those mistakes helps him learn.
One way to improve at DFS is to analyze your strategic mistakes when it comes to ownership. In the long run, are you over- or underexposed in your investments? A helpful tool in this analytical process is our DFS Ownership Dashboard, which displays the ownership percentages for every player across multiple tournaments in any given slate.
Assuming that the players with higher ownership in the high-stakes tournaments are the sharper plays, you can quickly evaluate the quality of your own plays and isolate your mistakes.
Schwartz and DFS
Schwartz is all about hustle and hard work. He is willing to outwork his competitors to gain an edge. He also continually improves his abilities to manage his losses and confront his mistakes.
By utilizing the Labs tools to outwork and out-research your competitors, you quickly give yourself an edge that many in the industry. And if you can use those tools to turn losing nights and mistakes into learning experiences, you will be well on your way to becoming a DFS market wizard.