Jon Aguiar & Draft Kings

With the summer months slowly coming to an end, football fans are that much closer to the start of the NFL season, which means another year of Fantasy Football is officially here. Virtual general managers all across the globe will scramble to build rosters and manage draft picks. The newest website on the Fantasy platform is making a big splash this year, introducing DraftKings. The US based Fantasy Sports company offers daily and weekly contests for cash prizes. It burst onto the scene when it announced its first annual Week One Kickoff Bash $1 Million Guarantee. The rapid fire contests are a much shorter duration than the traditional season-long leagues and require no team management after the draft. The salary cap draft format takes just minutes to complete and payouts are immediate transactions. DraftKings is where fantasy meets gambling, welcome.

The poker world got wind of DraftKings when 2012 WSOP bracelet winner, Jon “FatalError” Aguiar, publicly praised the site and openly supported the cash incentives. Shortly after winning €258,047 ($336,661) for his first bracelet (WSOP Europe €10,000 Mixed-Max), Aguiar announced his retirement from the poker world. His tweet last July cemented the realization and commitment to the newly found start-up company. Aguair made things public when he sent this message to his 7,000+ followers

It's official, I'm retiring from poker to move to Boston and work full time with @DraftKings #StartupLife

– Jonathan Aguiar (@JonAguiar) July 23, 2013

The short and simple tweet made it clear how passionate Jon was about his new career path and the potential he saw in such a young company. It was no secret, Jon was “all-in” with Draft Kings.

Aguiar became a loyal promoter of DraftKings after winning nearly $30,000 during his first two months of the fantasy baseball season. His new found wealth from something other than poker led him to get more involved. Aguiar mentioned the decline of the online poker scene played a critical role in his new found fantasy life.

“After Black Friday I started paying a little more attention to things going on around me. I wanted to do something new because I was going back and forth between Mexico and Canada playing online. I was kind of sick of not being home with my family and girlfriend. So in June of last year I started recognizing the hype of daily fantasy sports and started dabbling in that”.

Jon started a professional relationship with DraftKings shortly after its original launch date, through a series of emails to their support team he began communicating with the founders. After an overseas poker trip he returned to the East Coast and continued talks with the Boston based start-up company.

“I met up with them one more time before I headed back to the west coast and they asked if I could consult for them, just answer emails and jump in on a call once in a while.” His minimal involvement grew until DraftKings raised a significant amount of money and begun actively seeking serious employee candidates. Aguiar says the official offer went something like this, “after we raised $7 million in funding, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse so I took it on full time”.

Aguair hasn’t completely forgotten about poker, he clearly remembers the “Moneymaker Effect” changing his life when he was in his early 20’s,the poker boom brought excitement that he thinks could be replicated through fantasy sports. The parallels between the two share similar traits, Aguair adds.

“I’ve already lived through the boom once. In fact, I can remember what it felt like to have that excitement. I’m seeing a lot of young kids who are starting to supplement their lives or create full-time jobs for themselves.” He explains that, just like poker, a certain skillset is required to gain an edge. “Young kids have an understanding of sports and the math necessary to beat these games”.

Aguair holds fantasy sports in high regard, he thinks the future is bright for the direction of DraftKings. He believes more poker pros will follow his footsteps. “A lot of the guys have already started to make the switch. I see no reason why it wouldn’t continue to grow. You can win a lot of money playing fantasy sports”.

Daily fantasy prizes will need marketing dollars to attract the masses and appeal to the younger generation. “It is definitely becoming mainstream. I don’t know if we will have a Chris Moneymaker moment, but I think it will have word of mouth that spreads like wildfire”. If Jon’s predictions are accurate, start shuffling around those fantasy line-ups, the money is up for grabs.

We should note, during the writing of this article, Jon “FatalError” Aguiar currently has 130,000 chips in the Seminole Hard Rock $10 Million Dollar Guarantee. Run good, play great…best of luck from PokerFaceNews.

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