This spring, FanDuel got into the real money skill game market. On March 24, the Flutter-owned online gambling company announced the launch of FanDuel Faceoff through a multi-year partnership with GameTaco.
GameTaco is the company behind WorldWinner, a leading skill games app. Initially, FanDuel Faceoff only featured a subset of the games available at WorldWinner, such as Wheel of Fortune and the chess-based King’s Crossing. However, last week, FanDuel unveiled its first exclusive game on the new platform: Pat McAfee’s Field Goal Faceoff.
As the name suggests, the game features Pat McAfee, the former punter for the Indianapolis Colts. He appears as the placeholder in the game, steadying the ball for your kicking pleasure and cheering you on when you put it through the uprights.
McAfee now has his own show, available on YouTube, and it was there that the new game was first announced. Such collaborations between the gambling industry and online media personalities are increasingly common.
Perhaps the combination of unique content and celebrity sponsorship will help bring attention to the FanDuel Faceoff. Nearly six months since its launch, the app has gone mostly unnoticed. Download stats aren’t available unless FanDuel chooses to release them, but FanDuel Faceoff has received just 3,700 ratings on the App Store, compared to 620,000 for the main FanDuel Sportsbook & Casino app.
For McAfee, at least, the game’s rapid pace is a big selling point. As quoted by our colleagues at Play Pennsylvania, he phrased this in blunt if somewhat vulgar terms:
Everybody knows I didn’t grow up playing video games because I didn’t have the attention span for it. As I traveled more I started playing more. I think it’s one of the best “takin’-a-shit” games ever because each round is short enough your feet won’t fall asleep.
Getting Started with FanDuel Faceoff
- Open the App Store on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (Faceoff for Android coming soon).
- Search for “FanDuel Faceoff.”
- Download the app – it’s free!
- Sign in using your FanDuel account and look for Field Goal Faceoff in the main navigation – at the moment, it’s the first game on the list.
You can download FanDuel Faceoff in any state, though age restrictions apply. Most states allow real money play. However, residents of the following states will only be able to use the app in free play mode: AZ, AR, CT, HI, IA, ID, LA, MD, MI, MO, MT, NJ, NV, PA, PR, SC, SD, TN, WA, and WV.
How to Play Pat McAfee’s Field Goal Faceoff
Overall, GameTaco’s products have the feel of a skill game casino. Despite the sports theme, Pat McAfee’s Field Goal Faceoff likewise feels more like an arcade or casino game than a sports betting product.
If you’ve played any mobile golf games, the idea is similar, just with a set of NFL uprights as your target rather than the green. You’ll drag back on the ball to set your power, then try to time the release so that the aiming arrow is right in the middle of the meter. The more power you kick with, the faster the arrow swings from side to side, making it harder to kick straight.
You’ll also have to contend with the wind, which can shift between kicks and mid-flight. Every made kick earns you points and moves you further away for the next one. Every missed kick moves you closer, but longer kicks earn more points. What’s more, target zones will appear between the posts, and hitting these can earn you power-ups to help with subsequent kicks. Putting together streaks of successful kicks also earns more points.
You can keep kicking until you accumulate too many strikes, run down the clock, or run out of balls – though the Clean Strikes, Clock and Additional Kicks power-ups can help you with those. In the end, the player who accumulated the most points wins the match.
At the moment, you can only play heads-up against a single opponent. On his show, McAfee said that tournaments are coming “at some point.”
Can You Win Money Playing FanDuel Faceoff?
Like the rest of the FanDuel Faceoff apps, Pat McAfee’s Field Goal Faceoff is a real money skill game. You can play for fun and practice, but it’ll nag you to make a deposit and try your luck playing for cash.
It’s the fact that it’s a game of skill that makes it legal in so many states, including many where online casino games wouldn’t be. The idea of playing skill games for cash is also appealing to many gamblers. Since you’re playing against other users and not the house, it feels like good players should be able to come out ahead. After all, that’s how it works with online poker.
But if you’re hoping to earn a profit playing Pat McAfee’s Field Goal Faceoff, we should warn you about some things. It’s a recreational product designed to discourage attempts at professional play.
Good for Recreational Play, Bad for Professionals
Firstly, the fees are steep. The house will take between 10% and 12.5% of the money for a one-on-one match, with the winner taking the rest. That’s high compared to heads-up online poker sit-and-goes and means you’d need to win at least 56% of the time to come out ahead.
Such a win rate is probably achievable against random opposition, given the game’s skill elements. However, you won’t get random opposition, thanks to the game’s matchmaking functionality. That’s a feature you’ll find in virtually all real money skill games and makes it much harder to be a profitable player.
The game will use your past performance to establish your skill level and pit you against players with similar ability. In other words, it tries to ensure everyone has as close to a 50/50 chance as possible. That’s great for recreational players and beginners, as it saves them from getting chewed up by sharks. However, it means that the better you get, the tougher the competitors you’ll face.
So, you might be able to win more than 56% of your games in the short term. But the longer you try to grind out that profit, the harder it will become. Unless you’re actually the best in the world, you will eventually be facing opponents as good as yourself, and then you’ll all just be losing money to the house.
Best just to play for fun then. And the good news is: It is in fact quite a lot of fun.