As the Daily Fantasy Sports industry continues to grow in Australia the demographics on players is becoming clearer. Poker players are continuing to gravitate towards DFS.
Everyone from casual sports fans, sports bettors and stats gurus, to poker players have taken a liking to Australian Daily Fantasy Sports contests.
Recently Fantasy Stars caught up with one of those Poker players who has recently added daily fantasy sports to his portfolio – Jesse McKenzie.
Jesse or OnTheMac as he’s known throughout poker circles where he has been incredibly successful is a lifelong sports fan. One of his highlights while playing Poker was when he took out the Pokerstars Sunday Million event.
“I played basketball and lawn bowls growing up, then I got into poker in a big way while I was studying at university” Mckenzie said
“I was working as a bowls administrator at Merrylands Bowling Club and wanted the freedom to travel and play on my own terms. Soon after I did a deal heads up at ANZPT Adelaide for over 100k and went travelling around the world playing poker including EPT and WSOP events.”
It was through these poker playing circles that Mckenzie was first introduced to Daily Fantasy Sports.
“Through following poker players on Twitter I saw that a few of the best players were having success at DFS but I didn’t know what it was. It probably took my interest being piqued a third time before I really got into it.”
The big appeal for Jesse was the chance to start following Sports again and to try something different from his poker activities.
“For me it was a way of re-connecting with basketball and other sports I loved growing up.”
“Growing up in Penrith I followed the Panthers and I went to school with Luke Rooney (NRL player).
I ended up playing Poker with Luke Lewis when he played for the Panthers so I had a huge interest in Rugby League that has wained over the years due to my poker playing and travelling”
Daily Fantasy Sports was the fuel on the waining fire that Jesse needed to get back following Sports intently.
“Once I get into something I really like to go hard” he added.
“A friend of mine showed me how it worked on an app. From there, I entered a line-up and observed things.”
Jesse’s Daily Fantasy Sports activities started off in very casual fashion as an alternative from Poker, he started playing and learning about the industry more so for enjoyment than as a potential career like he’d created on the Poker circuit.
“I usually outlay thousands on poker a day so for me to put a few line-ups into DFS was mainly just a bit of fun and really engaged me. I was right back into sports and last year was an amazing NBA season.”
It was clear after talking to Jesse who is also a co-founder of FantasyHQ.com.au that he had a genuine love of the NBA.
It’s a sport he and his team will cover extensively on their Australian DFS website.
“When I was a kid I would watch the backend of Jordan’s career and there were so many great players around at that stage”
“Now after re-connecting with the game Steph Curry is the Point Guard like me dropping bombs from downtown (like I wish I was allowed to do in juniors).” he joked
So, how does a Poker players skill-set translate across to playing Daily Fantasy Sports you may ask, Jesse credits mental strength as a driver for his Poker success.
“So much of what I learnt at the NSW institute of sport (NSWIS) helped my mental game for poker”
When quizzed on the differences between the two he had this to offer,
“The main difference I find is that in poker you must pay attention in game where as in DFS it’s more set and forget”
“There is a lot more preparation for DFS whereas Poker is more in the moment” he concluded.
Whilst still in his relevant infancy as a DFS player Jesse recalled a story while in Prague last year
“One of the coolest things for me was to be able to play NBA DFS while i was in Prague for the European Poker Tour Christmas last year and my friend won a million dollars on a spin and go while I was there”
(Jesse’s friend is ‘GrindHeaps’ above)
Needless to say, it put Jesse’s few NBA DFS line-ups for the day into perspective and made for a great night out in Prague!
As the NBA season fast approaches we tried to grab a few hints and tips of Jesse for the up and coming Aussie DFS players.
“Be on top of injuries and team news. Who gains the most minutes/usage when a player is out.”
“Also pay attention to how a teams defense plays against certain opponents and how teams score their fantasy points.”
Asked if he’d be focusing less on Poker this NBA season
“Wake up. DFS. Poker.”
“I just play when I feel like it and my exposure to DFS is so small I don’t really have a seperate bankroll for it. It is mainly just poker money being feed into the DFS eco system” he joked
Jesse is excited for what the future of the industry holds for Australian daily fantasy players
“It will grow, it will be cool if we can integrate into the world of ESports, with our proximity to Asia and also India, I just have no doubts that DFS will be massive in Australia.”
Jessse is currently in Melbourne for the APPT Pokerstars event and after that will be turning more of his focus to DFS as the NBA season begins in November.
You can battle Jesse on Poker Stars (OnTheMac) and Moneyball (OnTheMac) throughout the NBA season.