Types of Games

Course No. UG 106

Daily fantasy offers a plethora of game choices. Each game type has different optimal strategy for winning, which we'll tackle later in the Daily Academy. For first time daily fantasy gamers, though, it's best to play a variety of games and see which fit you best.

Head-to-Head (H2H)

Daily fantasy games don't get anymore stripped down and bare bones than this. That's not a criticism of H2H games at all. They are one-on-one competitions in which you face a single opponent for a set buy-in and the competitor that constructs the higher scoring team wins the cash prize. It's that simple. These are a staple game found at every daily fantasy sports provider. If you've never played daily fantasy sports, joining a free H2H contest is a good way to get acclimated to website's interface and player pricing in relation to the salary cap.

50/50s and Double-Ups

First of all, 50/50 and double-up are synonymous terms for the same type of daily fantasy game. They are essentially a larger field version of a H2H contest (50/50s and H2H games are often lumped together and referred to as cash games). These games usually range from a field size of 10 to thousands of entrants. Those who finish in the top half of 50/50s split the cash pool evenly with every gamer nearly doubling their entry fee. It's not an exact double-up because the house takes a rake, but for example, a winner in a $5 buy-in 50/50 game will win $9. The advantage to joining these games instead of H2H contests is smoothing out variance by increasing the sample size. The larger the field, the less likely you are to run into an uncharacteristically high scoring team of an opponent crushing your own team.

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Multipliers are very similar to 50/50s. In fact, DraftKings offers large field double-up multipliers that are nearly the exact same thing. The difference between the large field double-up multipliers and 50/50s is that instead of half the field winning the cash prize and forfeiting a rake, a little less than half the field is paid, allowing the house to get their rake, and the winners are awarded exactly double their buy-in. An example best illustrates how this works. A $5 buy-in large field double-up game with a field size of 5,674 players will pay the top 2,500 finishers $10 each.

Multipliers aren't strictly limited to winners receiving double their entry fees either. Triple-ups are another common multiplier game. DraftKings employs the same principle to those games as their large field double-up multipliers with less than one-third of the field winning money, but all winners tripling their entry fee. Other sites, such as DraftDay, emulate the double-up payout concept and pay the top one-third of the field a little less than triple their buy-in after accounting for the rake. Expanding beyond triple-up contests, DraftKings also offers 10x multipliers.

Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs)

These are the big money games in daily fantasy. The growth of these games has been exponential, and some payout up to $1 million to winners. Most GPPs allow gamers to make multiple entries, but some are restricted to a single entry per gamer.They are called guaranteed prize pool games because the amount of money paid out to winners is guaranteed in advance of the contest stating, and regardless of whether or not all openings in the game have been filled. They are similar in payout structure to a poker tournament. The payouts are tiered according to finish, often times with a very top heavy pay scale.

The usage of a tiered payout structure where anywhere from roughly 10-25% of the field wins a cash prize requires gamers to utilize different strategies than those implemented in cash games, and the unique strategies for each of these game types will be explained in greater detail in other Daily Academy entries.


Leagues are nearly identical to GPPs. They are a smaller field tournament style contest with a tiered prize structure that nearly mirrors the payout structure used in GPPs. Some leagues feature a less top heavy slant in payouts than GPPs, but they, too, payout only roughly 10-30% of the contestants.


Satellites,qualifiers and steps all operate under the same principal. They are tournaments in which gamers attempt to win a voucher, or multiple vouchers, into a more expensive tournament. These contests allow gamers with limited funds an opportunity to play their way into tournaments they might not otherwise be able to afford playing in. They are also a thrifty option for gamers with bigger bankrolls looking to win their way into more expensive tournaments cheaply. The biggest difference between these tournaments and GPPs is that an incredibly limited number of entries to the more expensive tournaments are available to be won. Satellites in particular only award one winner entry into the more expensive follow-up tournament. Super satellites, however, offer multiple entries into the same event.

Qualifiers and steps are slightly different than satellites. Instead of winning one tournament and playing for cash in a more expensive tournament, qualifiers and steps often require a gamer to compete and win or finish in the top handful of multiple tournaments before actually playing for big cash prizes.