If you’re a sports fan, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of DraftKings, a kingpin in the world of daily fantasy sports (DFS).
DraftKings takes traditional fantasy sports to an entirely new level. Contests are played over a single day, in most cases, and offer a shot at (often substantial) real-money prizes.
Players select lineups of pro athletes while staying under a predetermined salary cap.
Players then earn points based on the athletes’ real-life performances. The fantasy team with the most points wins the top payout.
So, what does playing on DraftKings have to offer new users? How does it differ from other DFS platforms? How do you play the games? What’s the mobile app like?
For those answers and more, read below.
While DraftKings knows the appeal of big guaranteed prize pools (GPP), it also recognizes that new DFS players need some incentives to get their bankrolls rolling.
To that end, DraftKings offers every new player $20 in DK Dollars for creating a new account and depositing at least $5.
Players can use the bonus dollars to enter real-money contests and try out the platform for just a small deposit amount.
Any winnings while using the funds are for the players to keep. It’s a tried and true way for DFS fans to try out DraftKings without risking a lot of money.
New and existing players also receive a 20% deposit match up to $500.
As a new player, you don’t need a promo code to receive this bonus if you sign up through one of our review links.
|Promo Code||None - Use Links|
|First Deposit Bonus||$20 free play on first deposit|
|Deposit Bonus||Up to $500 for new and existing players|
|Last Updated||May 2021|
There are a good number of promotions going on right now at DraftKings DFS. Here’s the rundown:
DraftKings has a robust rewards program for frequent players in place. In its purest form, players earn “DK crowns” for how much they play.
For each dollar that users enter contests with, they earn one crown. As the crowns accumulate, users can exchange them at DraftKings’ shop for contest tickets and more.
DraftKings’ users can also complete specific missions or achievements to accumulate even more rewards and raise their experience level.
There’s a dedicated link to “Rewards” at the top of the main page. DraftKings isn’t shy about emailing promo offers or displaying them prominently on the main page, either.
The more you play, the more you earn. That’s a pretty simple concept, but many other industry operators have missed the mark. DraftKings has done the opposite and nailed it.
Along with its standard online platform, DraftKings provides a slick mobile app for Apple and Android users.
Both versions of the app are available for download directly from the DraftKings website, the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android).
Note: DraftKings also has a sportsbook app in select states; be sure to download the one designated for daily fantasy sports.
Play on the app is similar to what you’ll find with the full online platform, although DraftKings has optimized it for mobile, so it works on a condensed layout. However, everything remains easy to find and is a click away.
You can browse the lobby for contests, enter and edit lineups, and deposit and withdraw without issue. Since it’s a smaller landscape on mobile, the lobby appears differently.
On the main website, the center screen is populated with contests. You can search by sport to find what you want. You can do the same on mobile, and you can filter through the options pretty easy.
In fact, zeroing in on specific contests is even easier on the app. It’s also easy to adjust lineups on mobile. The app is smooth and intuitive and navigation is pretty clear cut.
Making deposits and cashing out works the same as it does online. All deposit options are available, and it takes only a few clicks to add or remove funds.
Signing up on DraftKings is similar for both the online and app versions. In both cases, you’ll click on the ‘“Sign Up” button on the homepage.
You’ll then be prompted to enter a username, a valid email account and a password. Once that’s taken care of, simply click continue to keep moving through the process.
DraftKings will then ask you to fill in some standard information (name, address and date of birth, and your account will be created almost instantaneously. You’ll now be logged in and free to browse around.
You can check out all of the ongoing contests in the lobby and check the “Instructions” tab for how to play.
If you’re ready to deposit money and play right away, you can click the “Deposit” button.
Playing on DraftKings is completely legal in over 40 approved states, which is the majority of the US.
There are a few outlier states that block DFS. Here are the only states where you can’t play DFS on DraftKings:
That list is about to get smaller as Alabama and Iowa have recently given the green light to DFS. It’s still unclear exactly when operators will be ready to go live there, though.
For now, the majority of states are open for DFS business. Players who live in those states should not have any issues setting up accounts on DraftKings.
DraftKings has daily fantasy sports covered from major leagues to niche sports.
Here’s a current list of the sports and leagues you can choose from at DraftKings online or on mobile:
When DFS first became a thing, major sports were the primary focus, just like with traditional fantasy games. NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB fantasy games became an immediate hit in the burgeoning industry.
As DFS grew, it included more sports. DFS college basketball and football quickly developed a loyal following, and the same applied with the introduction of DFS soccer.
Major individual sports, such as golf and MMA, were then added. DraftKings has been an innovator in this regard. If there’s a DFS game attached to it, you’ll find it at DraftKings.
As DraftKings became popular with users, various sports leagues perked up and took notice.
Today, the company has deals in place with several leagues and teams. Most recently, DraftKings became official DFS partners with the NFL.
In the early days of DFS, the model was similar to traditional fantasy sports, albeit with some wrinkles. For example, users in traditional fantasy games would set a starting lineup from rosters of players they already had drafted in their league.
For DFS, all players are fair game to be drafted for each contest, but each player has a salary attached to them. Each contest has a predefined salary cap that users have to stay under while building their lineup. DFS games also only revolve around a single set of games each day.
Players know the results as soon as the game is over instead of waiting an entire week or longer. From those roots of a standard, full roster DFS game, the industry has evolved with numerous game types.
Unsurprisingly, DraftKings has been a leader in this space, too.
Here are all of the major game types and ways you can play:
For the more prominent sports, such as football and basketball, you’ll find all of the above options available. For more niche sports, e.g., NASCAR or tennis, offerings will vary, but you can be sure to find tournaments and other games in the lobby to play.
Naturally, each sport has a set of scoring rules and roster requirements. There’s a “How to Play” section that walks through all you need to know. Clicking on a contest in the lobby will also bring you to the lineup entry page where you can find the specific details for that game.
Regardless of how much experience you have with fantasy sports, there is a learning curve to playing on DraftKings.
Building a lineup with a salary cap takes some getting used to, as does competing against numerous other users at once.
There’s plenty of time to scale up play as your skill level increases, but a great place to get started is with 50/50 contests.
For these games, you only need to be better than roughly half the field to have a winning lineup. Those who cash in these contests will nearly double their money, hence the 50/50 name.
Beyond those contests, smaller tournaments and single-entry events can be a little less intimidating. Many of the tourneys with massive prize pools allow users to enter multiple lineups. For the single-entry games, all users are basically taking their best shot.
Also, there are some free-to-play games in the lobby. Another reliable way to learn is via the tiers games, for which users have to pick one player from several groups.
Of course, the learning curve is unique for each user. Understand where you are as a player and take it from there. There’s no need to rush it into tougher contests before you’re ready.
If you’re interested in DFS but still want the traditional aspect of fantasy sports, DraftKings has multiple ways that you can play with family, friends or whomever else you choose.
Most notably, you can set up a league in which you invite users to compete against you. This method is similar to a traditional fantasy league, but with the DFS approach.
As opposed to having a draft and then playing it out over the course of a season, the league is set for the day or week’s events.
For example, let’s say you’re in a traditional, season-long fantasy football league with nine other players. To add some drama, you could set up a DraftKings’ league for all 10 members to compete in weekly.
Also, this is a fun way to get acclimated to DFS, in general, not to mention placing bragging rights at stake for your league. You can create smaller leagues where you invite one user or more to compete, too.
For perspective on how far the DFS industry has grown, prize pools that ranged in the tens of thousands of dollars garnered lots of attention in the early days. Fast forward to today, and there are individual tournaments in which the top prize is $1 million.
For the NFL season, for example, there’s a contest called the “NFL $3.5 Million Fantasy Football Millionaire.”
The entry fee is an affordable $10, and it has hundreds of thousands of entrants. The tournament is available every week, and it fills up each time.
To further understand the appeal, consider the prizes available for the Top 5 finishers.
There’s a significant drop off after first place, obviously, but you still have a chance to win a million dollars playing a one-day fantasy football event. The first 90,750 finishers win cash, so there’s plenty of additional incentive to be found.
Winning one of the contests is not easy, but the affordable entry fee makes it worth taking a crack at each week.
The 2020 Fantasy Hockey World Championships might not be held until February, but it’s not too late to start thinking about them. Starting this month DraftKings has a promotion going on that will send 40 qualifiers to this event in Nashville. Each qualifier will get a 4 day/3 night stay and entry into the tournament, which will award $500,000 in prizes, including a top prize of $100,000. Start playing in qualifiers now to claim your spot in this coveted event.
On the football front, Auto Nation has teamed up with DraftKings to offer a Football Challenge. You can play for free to win $70,000 in prizes. The challenge covers 14 weeks, with $5,000 being handed out each week. You get to choose your own team each week from the Player Pool, utilizing a salary cap. You’ll accumulate points based on the performance of each of your 9 players. Rack up points to score some cash.
If you’re interested in playing DFS for the chance to win real-money prizes, moving funds on and off the DraftKings platform is efficient.
To deposit funds, you can choose from credit and debit cards, bank transfers or use PayPal.
When cashing out, you should note that DraftKings will process them via the deposit method you chose.
If you used a prepaid card or no longer have access to a card used for depositing, you can contact customer support and the team will walk you through other options.
If you use PayPal for everything, you can process all of your deposits and cash-outs the same way without issue. Overall, the cashier function on DraftKings is smooth and easy to use. Deposits process quickly, and DraftKings handles withdrawals in a timely fashion.
After rising to the top of the DFS industry, DraftKings set its sights on a new frontier in sports betting. For states where sports betting has now been legalized, DraftKings has been quick to act.
DraftKings was the first to offer a mobile/online betting platform in the state of New Jersey. The company has since entered other legalized states with online sportsbooks (Indiana, West Virginia) and plans to expand even further (Pennsylvania, New York, Mississippi), as additional states receive a green light to proceed.
There’s a natural crossover between DFS and sports betting, but there are also some differences. In both cases, research is key. For DFS players, they’re generally more concerned with individual player performance and how much a team is going to score.
On the sports betting side, it’s more geared to which team is going to win, but there are also bets which apply to total points scored. Also, there are prop bets that are tied to the individual performances of the players in the game.
DraftKings recognizes the crossover appeal and has established a considerable presence in both DFS and sports betting. Full guides to betting on specific sports can be seen here:
As DFS began to grow, a new cottage industry was born right alongside it.
Content and advice on DFS and its contests began to pop up all over the place. Some of the providers were gone in a flash, but others were built to last and remain viable today.
DraftKings is well aware that many DFS players have an insatiable appetite for content related to the hobby they love. To that end, the company introduced “Playbook,” a one-stop-shop for DFS and sports betting information.
Basically, this is the company’s sports blog; however, there is a lot of useful information available. From picks and odds to general information, the Playbook is worth taking the time to check out.
DraftKings values its customers. You can tell that by the wealth of information the company provides for them, not to mention its convenient support options such as live chat.
Under the FAQ section, DraftKings outlines its commitment to the community and fair play. It’s worth taking the time to review, as it’s clear the company has put plenty of energy into these facets.
Also, responsible play is vital to the company. Once you create your account, check out the option under “Account Information.”
You’ll find links to set player limits, as in the amount of money you can deposit and play. There’s also a self-exclusion option for players who feel they need a temporary or permanent break.
Playing responsibly is a key to long-term success in DFS, and DraftKings helps players do that in several ways.
DraftKings is a private company which was founded by Jason Robins, Matt Kalish and Paul Lieberman. As the company has grown, there have been several rounds of funding. As such, there are plenty of additional stakeholders. Robins remains in place as CEO.
No, these are two separate entities, but both are involved in the same niches of Daily Fantasy Sports and sports betting. At one time, the two companies were close to merging, but the deal fell apart. The companies are both industry leaders in DFS, and also making quite a name for themselves as legalized sports betting continues to grow.
There is no magic bullet to winning on DraftKings.
It takes practice, patience and persistence, and some luck doesn’t hurt either. Seasoned players have increased their skills by playing a lot and dedicating a healthy amount of time to developing their approach and strategy. New users can do the same, but they can also keep it casual if they would prefer. Even the most experienced of DFS players will have off-nights, while there are plenty of new users who have profited handsomely right off the bat.
Yes, DFS is entirely legal to play in approved states, but there are some outliers across the United States.
Here’s where DraftKings DFS is currently not legal: Alabama, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Washington state.
Alabama and Iowa will soon be off that list, as recent laws have changed the landscape.
DraftKings makes money by the fees earned from each contest. The remainder of the costs is placed into the prize pool. Users can calculate the rake on each contest using some simple math:
Entry fee times entrants minus total prize pool, and then divide that number by total dollars collected for the contest.
DraftKings doesn’t list out the rake per contest, but perhaps that will change in the future.
DraftKings is a new way to play traditional fantasy sports.
As opposed to a standard league that you may play with family and friends, DraftKings contests are played out over a single day in most cases, as opposed to over an entire season.
Users select lineups from a player pool, which encompasses the games included in the contest, all while being mindful of staying under the predefined salary cap by choosing players that have assigned salaries that fit. As the games play out, players are awarded points based on how they perform.
DraftKings tracks these points along the way, and users can see how they are doing in real-time. Contests are available at various price points with prize pools ranging from small to giant.
These abbreviations can be found on the lineup building screen, as well as on the leaderboard once the contests go live.
Here’s what they mean:
From its infancy as a niche offering, DFS has grown to significant levels. It’s a competitive industry, and we’re not just talking about DraftKings and the other operators.
Competing for huge prize pools — and even those of the 50/50 variety — is naturally a highly competitive endeavor. There’s plenty of content out there that provide advice to users, including on DraftKings’ Playbook.
Beyond content, there has also been a rise in what is known as lineup optimizers.
In a nutshell, these tools help users find the players who are projected to be the optimal players for that particular set of games.
It’s important to remember that projections are not infallible.
There are plenty of cases in which the player who looks like he’s in line to have a monster game goes out and delivers a dud. Meanwhile, a player who’s off the radar can go out and have the game of his life.
Some users like to have optimizers in their toolbelt, while others prefer to do the research and build the best lineup they can. Neither approach is wrong. It all depends on what works best for you and your strategy.
On the strategy aspect, there are several ways to play DFS.
You can opt for a balanced lineup approach, which is often a solid way to play 50/50 contests. Alternatively, you can go with a high-risk, high-reward lineup which is suitable for tournaments.
To shake things up, you can place more of a focus on a contrarian approach. In this case, you’re digging deep for off-the-radar plays that have a chance to go off.
Since they’re at least somewhat off the radar, the hope is that not many DFS players will have them in their lineups.
If your lineup features several of these players and everything happens to break just right, you could be in line to have a high-scoring lineup, which places quite well in tournaments.