While some have yet to be convinced that daily fantasy is a game that can be beat consistently, an untold number of grinders continue to clean up against their less skilled competitors. Case in point, NJ.com recently featured Benny Ricciardi, a New Jersey stay-at-home dad whose life has been transformed by the opportunity to play daily fantasy from home while taking care of his three young sons.
After waking up bright and early, Ricciardi gets his two older boys ready for school, then walks them to the bus stop five blocks away. He returns home with his six month old, Ethan, and only begins his DFS numbercrunching after his youngest goes down for a nap.
“I have to be honest,” Ricciardi says. “It’s basically saved my life. It’s allowed me the opportunity to be around and raise my kids myself.”
The 35-year-old formerly worked as a bond trader and financial advisor until he was let go five years ago. His agility with numbers has served him well in the DFS industry, and allowed him to quit his most recent job working for the Weehawken recreation department and play full time.
While the wives of some daily fantasy players are most certainly not a fan of the game, Ricciardi’s better half, Anna, sees it as a huge positive. Just the simple fact that Benny can stay home to watch the kids, means a minimum of $12,000 in savings which otherwise would be spent on daycare.
“It offers stability to the family,” Anna says of DFS. And not only does Benny spend 60 to 70 hours a week working on his lineups, he also finds time to record video content for DFS fans and write articles for DraftKings.
He makes it clear, however, that his working for the Boston-based site gives him no advantage, something which is important to explain when speaking to a mainstream audience. “The guys that I write up in the articles are pretty much the exact same guys that I play that night,” Ricciardi said. “Everybody basically has access to the same information.”
But with the New York Attorney General’s decree that DFS is illegal in the state, Ricciardi feels a sense of foreboding. “I live in fear every day that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and everything’s going to be gone,” Ricciardi said. “It would be devastating because this is my livelihood. This is how I’m making my money.”
He obviously takes issue with the thought that his occupation is nothing more than pure gambling. “The best players are going to win more often because they’re just more skillful and better at building a roster,” he continued. “If I follow the system that I follow, if I know I’m going to make a profit on it, is that gambling? To me, it’s just investing, just like the stock market or anything else.”
While Ricciardi is making a good living doing something he loves, he remains careful with his winnings, keeping a large chunk of cash in his savings account. “I don’t know how safe this income is going to be,” he said.