Aaron Jones, known to the poker community as top online player “aejones,” has won the biggest daily fantasy sports (DFS) championship of all time, taking home a $5 million first prize.
The DraftKings Fantasy Football World Championship (FFWC) was a monster of a competition, reflecting the explosion in popularity of DFS in 2015. Players spent months trying to qualify for the championship through hundreds of satellites, each hoping for a shot at the $15 million prize pool.
Only 200 players would qualify for the 15-week championship, however, with each spot worth $75,000. The top ten players at the end of 15 weeks were invited to the live final, held in Los Angeles over the weekend. As far as we can determine, this “live final” involved watching sports on TV, which would make us potential world champions as well. Where do we sign up?
Poker Gave Him an Edge
Of course, all the tough work had been done beforehand and it was just down to results of the weekend’s games. A strong favorite going into the final was DFS legend “CONDIA,” aka Charles Chon, a man who is so good at predicting the outcomes of football games that other players have accused him of really just being a computer.
Chon was delivered a bad beat straight off the bat though, when his man, Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, was injured early on against the Cardinals and carted off to the hospital without scoring a single point.
Jones, knowing he had some ground to make up, gambled like a true poker player, drafting heavily from the Cardinals. The team came through for him, beating the Packers 26-20.
“Some of the FFWC finalists come from a similar background as me, but I think I have a slight edge,” he told Fox Sports prior to the event. “My risk tolerance is going to be much higher than almost everyone else’s. I’m extremely used to expected value and not being results oriented.”
As a poker player, Jones has always been hugely respected by his peers and the thousands of players he tutored through his training site, LeggoPoker. But he’s never really had the success in the biggest tournaments that other players of his caliber have had, as he himself acknowledges.
“My friends always joke with me that I’ve never really won all that much in poker even though I’ve played in such high-stakes tournaments,” he said before the final. “There’s a lot of variance involved, but it would be extremely satisfying if I won the FFWC.”
Jones was probably due for an upswing, and DFS is treating him better than his previous vocation.
“I recommend winning $5 million if you guys have a chance,” he tweeted post-final. “It was fun and I would do it again…”