Draftboard tries to level playing field for DFS players with FairMatch system
Legal Sports Report

Poker Pro Phil Galfond Launches Daily Fantasy Sports Site Draftboard

New entrants to the daily fantasy sports space are hard to come by these days.

But that’s not stopping the co-founders of Draftboard — poker pro Phil Galfond and CEO Dan Quinn — from trying with a new offering that went live today.

The site is not likely to eat into the DFS market largely owned by DraftKings and FanDuel immediately. But it is a new and different offering in a space that has been whittled down to increasingly fewer operators.

The new platform is aimed at trying to create a more level playing field for the DFS end user, in how they enter contests.

“When you’re drafting a team and entering contests, the only opponents you should need to think about are the ones on the field,” Galfond said. “Fans have been up
against some pretty steep odds in this industry. We’re giving them another option.”

DraftBoard at a glance

Draftboard, as a DFS platform, doesn’t reinvent the wheel, offering salary-cap style games like you will see at DK, FD, Yahoo and FantasyDraft. But according to Quinn and Galfond, it makes two big improvements on that model:

  • A unique entry system — called FairMatch (TM) — that tries to create a level playing field for both single and multi-entry users.
  • The Draftboard Live section, which allows users to watch their entire team compete on one field through the use of dynamic player animations.

FairMatch

The mechanics work a bit differently at Draftboard, as you must first simply create a lineup that is eligible to be entered into a contest.

After you’ve done that, then you can start entering contests. You can pick the entry fee level and type of contest you want to enter. But the Draftboard “FairMatch” system also kicks in. It features:

  • Separate low and high stakes lobbies that prevent users from playing $50 and $1 contests on the same day in a given sport.
  • Contests formed using a random opponent selection process that eliminates the problem of experienced pros targeting new players.
  • An innovative multi-entry system that matches first entries in a contest with other first entries, second entries with second entries, and third versus third.

“The way that the current sites in the industry were structured, it wasn’t particularly fair for new users coming in,” Quinn said in an interview with Legal Sports Report before launch. “So we saw potentially there was an opening for us there.”

Draftboard Live

The flashier component comes when contests are actually live. Here’s a look at the visualizations users will see while their contests are in action:

 

That obviously far outpaces the in-contest experience you’ll find at any other DFS operator. Generally you just get text and point updates. You can even add an opponent’s lineup to follow the players you’re rooting against.

The visualizations look more like what you’ll see in live game update apps

The birth of Draftboard

Quinn and Galfond work in the poker space already and have for some time, with a training site called Run It Once.

Quinn said they originally looked at creating a training site, but decided to get into the operator side instead. When they had a break from heavy-lifting development at Run It Once, Quinn said they decided to take the ideas above and put their energy into creating a DFS platform.

“We had these two ideas (FairMatch and Live) that are pretty different,” Quinn said. “But we think they’re kind of game-changers in terms of making a site that is providing a more level playing field, and one that’s way more engaging from the end user’s perspective.”

The result is a polished of a DFS platform, at least visually. How it works in practice, we’ll learn in the coming weeks.

Starting promotion at Draftboard

The site is handing out free money, quite literally, to start, via its “Dollar and a Dream” promotion. If you sign up for the site you get a dollar to play with; no deposit is required.

Users can then enter any contest they like and they are automatically a part of the Record Breaker promotion, which awards $10,000 anytime the current NFL record score is broken.

“And they might want to experience it sooner than later,” Galfond said of that promo. “The current Draftboard NFL record is zero. Someone’s winning $10,000 on Sunday.”

More details on Draftboard

For now, there are only contests for the NFL. NBA contests will go live when its season begins.

The jurisdictions the platform serves are fairly limited; find prohibited states in their terms of use. You can access it in Canada, but it is generally taking a legally conservative approach in the US, according to Quinn.

It is not yet in a number of states that have DFS regulations, as the site is either applying for licensure or waiting for the economics to make sense, Quinn told LSR. It also avoids all the states that almost all DFS operators do not serve.

You can also read our full Draftboard Review.

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Dustin Gouker
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Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer — including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.