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DraftKings Review – Is it Worth it or Not?

Based out of Boston, MA, DraftKings was founded in 2012. Despite arriving after FanDuel, DraftKings quickly eclipsed their main competitor and now boasts an impressive user base of eight million players!

DraftKings is now the worldwide leader in DFS, and their rapid growth drew the attention of investors. In December of 2019, the company went public in a massive $3.3 billion deal. 

Wondering if DraftKings is the right DFS platform for you? This DraftKings review takes a deep dive into the site and takes a look at its strengths, weaknesses, and what you need to think about before making your first deposit. 

An Overview of DraftKings

DraftKings touts themselves as “the leader in daily fantasy sports.” They promise players that they can compete for and win big cash prizes without a season-long commitment. Additionally, they encourage playing against users with similar skill sets, and even allows players to host private competitions against close friends.  

With a variety of innovative tournaments and a massive user base to go along with their impressive sports offerings, the site really does have something for every player. 

PROS

  • Massive player base allows for full tournaments and huge cash prizes.
  • Ability to play against your friends in private tournaments.
  • Leagues are available for nearly every major sport worldwide.
  • Easy to navigate app lets players play from anywhere.
  • Massive weekly tournaments offer the largest prizes in the industry.

CONS

  • Can be difficult to win against the experts.
  • Deposit options are limited.
  • Loyalty and rewards system is unnecessarily complex.

Things to Consider Before Playing

The beautiful thing about DraftKings and DFS in general is that just about anyone who wants to play can play.

However, that doesn’t mean that everyone should play. 

DFS allows you to set multiple different lineups every day, with as much variation as you’d like. This is perfect for a player who doesn’t want to be locked into the same lineup all season long. 

Playing DFS also allows for quick payouts, most of the time either daily or weekly. Players don’t have to grind through a whole season before they get paid, so it’s a good choice for players trying to play and win quickly.

You’ll also have to consider how much money you want to commit, where you’re most comfortable playing, and what you consider your skill level to be before you jump in against the sharks. 

Simply put, DFS is ideal for players that like new challenges, quick payouts, and not being locked into the same lineup for weeks and months on end.

Features and Benefits of DraftKings

No DraftKings review would be worth reading without telling you what the best (and worst) things are about the platform, so let’s get to it.

Who Can Play?

DraftKings is available in 42 different U.S. states as of early-2020. Age restrictions differ depending on your state of residence, and if you’re located in any of the following states, you flat out won’t be able to play:

  • Washington
  • Montana
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • Arizona
  • Louisiana
  • Hawaii

This list seems to change yearly (for example, Iowa was disqualified up until late-2019), so be sure to check your local guidelines before playing. 

HOW TO PLAY

One of the things I really loved about DraftKings was how easy they make it to just sit down and start competing for prizes. Seriously, it took me about 40 seconds to make an account, and within minutes I was setting my first lineup. 

You’ll want to figure out which league you want to dive into first. I’m partial to the NFL personally, but DraftKings has something for just about all of them, including:

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • MLB
  • NHL
  • Golf
  • NASCAR
  • MMA
  • Soccer
  • College Football
  • College Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Arena League Football
  • Canadian Football League
  • EuroLeague Basketball

Once you decide where you want to start, you can make a free account through either the DraftKings website or their app. From there, it’s time to draft your star-studded lineup

DraftKings offers a bunch of different tournament formats[1], including:

  • Featured - The premier tournaments on the site
  • Beginner - New players compete against fellow new players
  • Standard Tournament/League - Small & large fields
  • Head to Head - One-on-one, winner take all
  • 50/50 - The top half of the field wins cash
  • Double Ups - A win doubles your entry fee
  • Multipliers -Multiply entry fee up to 10x when you win
  • Satellites/Qualifiers - Win your way into bigger tournaments

Most of the tournaments on DraftKings will require the player to work within a given salary cap, and this number is usually around $50,000. Each player has a listed salary, and your total lineup salary cannot exceed the cap number. 

DraftKings also offers Tiers contests for players that don’t want to work within a set number. A Tiers contest assigns a specific level to each player, and your lineup must consist of a player from each tier. 

Personally, I prefer salary cap contests, and that is what most of the major DraftKings tournaments are based around. 

Once you’ve set your lineup, you can track scoring live through either the website or the app. The live scoring is an awesome feature that lets you stay up-to-the-minute on how your players are performing.

This is extremely helpful when crafting your strategy for games that haven’t started yet, and paying attention to the live scoring has helped me win more contests than I can remember! 

Mobile App

DraftKings offers three apps in the U.S.: DraftKings Sportsbook, DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports, and DraftKings Live.

DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports App

The main DraftKings mobile app (DraftKings Daily Fantasy Sports) is extremely easy to navigate and gives players just about all of the same access they’d have on the main site. This is something I find particularly useful, as I’m constantly on-the-go and the app keeps me from missing a beat. 

Players can use the main app to set and draft lineups, deposit funds, monitor real time scoring updates, and view and enter upcoming tournaments. 

DraftKings Live App

The DraftKings Live app is similar in features to the main app, as you’ll still be able to view and edit your lineups and follow along with the action. An added bonus with this app is that players will be able to view customized highlights and play-by-play based on their lineups. 

DraftKings touts the live app as “a true digital fan zone experience, and the first ever play-by-play and news app built with the fantasy player in mind.” 

The live highlights are definitely welcome. I’m someone that really enjoys being able to see the spectacular plays my players are making to help me win, and the up-to-the-minute news feed allows me to make informed lineup decisions.

DraftKings Sportsbook App

DraftKings Sportsbook app is only available in select U.S. states where sports betting is available: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware and Mississippi.

Deposit and Payment

I’ve never had a problem depositing on DraftKings, and it’s a fairly simple process to both deposit and get paid. That being said, the deposit options are somewhat limited if you don’t have a credit or debit card. 

DraftKings accepts all of the following for deposit:

  • American Express
  • Mastercard
  • Visa
  • PayPal
  • Discover

As of this writing, there’s no option to deposit via wire transfer, e-wallet, or BitCoin. 

Players can deposit as much or as little as they want for the most part, minimum deposit is $5 and the standard max deposit is $2,000. If you’re looking to increase your limit, you’ll need to provide DraftKings with documentation including your photo ID and a recent utility bill. 

draftkings deposit

As far as withdrawals go, DraftKings does a great job getting you your funds quickly. This is a welcome feature, as many players want to cash out a chunk of their winnings after taking down a top tournament spot. 

DraftKings makes an effort to refund your original deposit method directly when you withdraw, provided it’s been within 90 days. The rest of the funds are delivered via either PayPal or paper check. 

So, for example, let’s say you deposited $50 with your Visa card and then quickly won $100 and wanted to cash out. DraftKings would refund the original $50 directly to your card, and the excess $50 would come in the form of a paper check or PayPal. 

In my experience, turnaround time for withdrawals has been excellent. Most of the time I saw the money in my PayPal account the following day, but it could take anywhere from 2-8 business days on average. 

Security

Anytime you’re dealing with a site that requires a good amount of personal, sensitive information, as well as a financial requirement, you need to make sure your information is secure and protected. 

Fortunately, DraftKings does a great job with this, and I’ve always felt comfortable giving them the required info. 

All confidential information is safeguarded by SSL (Secure Socket Layer), as represented by the padlock visible on your browser’s address tab. It’s important to look for the icon in your browser before completing any information fields, just to be sure. 

DraftKings Hits and Misses

This next area of our DraftKings review will take a look at where DraftKings really shines, and where it misses the mark.

DraftKings Hits

These are some of the areas I feel DraftKings really sets themselves apart, or offers substantial value for the player to take advantage of.

#1 Deposit Bonuses

Who doesn’t love something for free? The standard DraftKings deposit bonus for their DFS platform gives players a $3 free play credit to be used in any $3 paid contest. That might not seem like a lot, but many of the $3 tournaments offer prize pools over $1,000.

It’s the perfect way to get your feet wet if you’ve never played DFS before, and even if you have it’s chance to win a substantial prize for literally zero investment. 

You’ll also sometimes come across limited time free play bonuses.

With these types of bonuses, you’ll need to clear the bonus through playing real money tournaments before you’ll be able to withdraw it.

In most cases, DraftKings will award $1 of bonus for every $25 in real money played. In theory, this means you’ll need to enter $500 worth of tournaments just to clear your bonus. However, DraftKings does collect rake on it’s tournaments (more on that later), so think of the bonus as a rebate for depositing. 

In the past, DraftKings had offered a 100% deposit bonus to players, but that seems to have gone by the wayside. However, if you do a little digging online, you’ll probably be able to find a few deposit codes that will sweeten the deal for you.

#2 Satellite Tournaments

This might be my favorite feature from DraftKings, and is something that really sets them apart from other DFS providers

A satellite tournament is basically the same kind of standard tournament you’ll find throughout the site, with a catch. Instead of a cash prize for the winning players, you’ll instead receive an entry ticket to a much higher-stakes contest. In the past, I’ve played smaller $3 and $5 satellite tournaments, and won tickets to tourneys with at least $100,000 in prize pools. 

This is a great feature for two reasons. First, it allows newer players a chance to get into some real high-stakes tournaments without having to deposit a bigger sum of money on their first few plays. 

Second, it really increases your expected value, as you may only be risking $3 for a chance at winning upwards of $1,000. It’s also a great way to gain some valuable experience playing against high-rollers

#3 Massive User Base

DraftKings is the most widely used DFS platform in the world, and their 8 million players (and growing) are a big reason why they’re able to offer the types of games and prizes they do.
Because there’s so many players on the site, you’ll very rarely find yourself waiting for tournaments to fill.

Come to think of it, I can’t remember a time where I ever had to wait around. Usually, tournaments start quickly after you enter them.

The huge amount of users means an increase in revenue for DraftKings, and this leads to the site providing some of the most hefty cash payouts of any company in the industry. Which leads us to…

#4 Largest Guaranteed Prize Pool in DFS

While you can field a lineup for just about any sport through DraftKings, the NFL is the bread and butter of DFS. So, it’s no surprise that the richest prize in the game comes from DraftKings NFL Weekly Millionaire Maker.

The Weekly Millionaire Maker is the biggest and most popular tournament on the entire site, and for good reason. Over 400,000 players compete for the chance to grab a piece of an unbelievable $7 million guaranteed prize pool, all for a paltry $20 entry fee.

The top spot takes home $1.2 million! That’s right…million, with an M. The ridiculous top prize and the multi-million dollar guaranteed prize pool make this the biggest DFS contest in the entire industry.

#5 Late Roster Swap

Something else unique to DraftKings is their late swap feature for your lineups. I can’t tell you how many times this has saved me from imminent defeat, and left me cashing in a money spot.

On other DFS sites like FanDuel, once your lineup is locked and the first game goes off, that’s it. No further changes can be made, and if for some reason one of your later players either doesn’t play or the game doesn’t happen for some reason, you’re out of luck.

Read the full article on FanDuel vs DraftKings.

draftkings nfl lineup

DraftKings gives you up until game time for that specific player to swap them out. Say for example you have an NFL lineup with a mix of players playing at 1:00 EST and 4:00 EST. At 3:30 EST, you see that one of those later players is hurt and won’t play. This allows you to go in and swap them out for an active player.

This is a huge benefit to the user, as you’ll never be stuck with an inactive player. Some weeks, it can quite literally be the difference between victory and defeat. Trust me.

DraftKings Misses

These are a few areas where DraftKings doesn’t quite hit the mark, or can be improved for a better user experience. 

Loyalty Program

Without a doubt, this is my top complaint when it comes to DraftKings. The loyalty program is seemingly unnecessarily complicated with the amount of different rewards and hurdles players have to clear. 

Seriously, just looking at this graphic has me overwhelmed. 

I’ll try to summarize the above to make things easier for you.

  • Crowns are earned based on the amount of money you spend entering tournaments. You’ll earn one crown for every $1 played. Crowns determine your rewards tier each month, and can also be used to enter tournaments and buy merchandise. [3]
  • Levels are determined by your experience points (XP), and XP is earned by playing and winning. Basically, the more you play, the more XP you’ll gain and the higher level you’ll achieve. This seems to be for nothing more than bragging rights. 
  • Contest tickets are essentially freeroll entries into tournaments, and DK dollars are a cash equivalent that can also be used for tournament entry. 

It seems like all four things can really be condensed into one, and this is overly complicated for no reason and no bigger benefit to the player. 

A Lot of Sharks

Being the biggest DFS platform in the world, it makes sense that a lot of the veteran and expert players make their home on DraftKings.

As someone with experience, this isn’t too big of a deal. But outside of the Beginner tournaments, which are limited to 50 plays, it might be hard for a new player to win any substantial prizes.

The best way around this is to really concentrate on strategy while you’re still in the beginning stages. Fool around with different lineups, and find a tactic that’s comfortable for you to use.

Remember – to win consistently, you’ll need to be contrarian with your lineup. This means selecting a few under-the-radar players that you feel the majority of the field might not put in their lineup.

If you loved this article, you might also like to read our most recommended advice sites for fantasy football.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

From my experience and that of others, yes, DraftKings is legit. You’ll get your money quickly when you withdraw, deposits are safe and secure, and sensitive information is encrypted. It’s as legit as it gets. 

Yes, you can win real money on DraftKings. There are hundreds of real money tournaments and contests. 

As far as I can tell, no, DraftKings is not rigged. DraftKings is pretty vigilant when it comes to cracking down on users that try to use bots to set multiple lineups, and gameplay is fair. 

Yes and no. There is no fee to sign-up, and you won’t have to pay anything monthly or weekly in the form of membership dues. DraftKings does, however, collect a rake on their games.

A rake is a fee charged by DraftKings in some contests that helps them generate a profit. The easiest way to illustrate this is through an example.

Say you’re playing in a head-to-head tournament with a $20 buy in. The total pot is $40, but the winner would probably only take home around $36. The remaining $4, or 10% of the total pot, goes to DraftKings.

Conclusion

All in all, DraftKings is a perfect option for anyone looking to play DFS. It allows you to vie for huge cash prizes with a minimal time commitment and gives you the chance to compete in nearly any sport across the world. 

It’s quick payouts, massive prize pools, and low-risk/high-reward tournaments are enough to warrant continued play, and even beginners can get their feet wet for a handful of contests before diving into more challenging tournaments. 

The site also offers bonuses and promotions throughout the various seasons, so there’s always something unique to keep bringing players back. As if competing for millions of dollars in prizes wasn’t enough! 

You can sign up for a free account (and claim your tournament freeroll entry) HERE

If you enjoyed reading this article, see our review of the top DFS sites. 

Resources:

  1. How to Play Daily Fantasy Sports | DraftKings. Retrieved from https://www.draftkings.com/how-to-play. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.
  2. FAQ – Daily Fantasy Sports for Cash – DraftKings. Retrieved from https://www.draftkings.com/help/faq. Accessed 3 Apr. 2020.
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