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South Side man qualifies for 'biggest fantasy football event ever' this weekend in Vegas

| Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 10:03 p.m.

Nick Karlo will be in Las Vegas on Sunday hoping to grab a piece of the action, about a million dollars worth.

The 32-year-old South Side resident won't be there for blackjack or roulette, dice or the slots. He is one of 50 fantasy football players competing in a one-day competition run by the website, FanDuel.

The top prize is $1 million and the total purse $3 million. Everyone is guaranteed at least $6,000. FanDuel bills it as the “biggest fantasy football event ever.”

FanDuel is a popular website in an expanding field that enables fantasy players to compete on a one-day basis by putting up a buy-in fee for the chance to earn instant cash.

Karlo, a sales manager for a HVAC company, and the others will pick nine players for their fantasy teams. A $60,000 salary cap provides the major challenge. Like in the real NFL, you can't simply load up on high-priced stars.

Karlo, who has played in the same 10-team Pittsburgh-based league for the past decade, said he is a die-hard Steelers fan, but there is little room for sentiment in fantasy football, especially with a million bucks at stake.

“I've got to do my homework,” he said. “If I fail, it's not because I didn't prepare.”

Karlo qualified during Week 11 of the NFL season, the first time he played fantasy football on the website. His $200 entry fee was waived because he won a fantasy baseball competition one day last season.

Out of 6,360 who competed, the top 20 finishers in the “super qualifier” received the all-expenses paid trip to Vegas.

Led by receivers Antonio Brown and Vincent Jackson, Karlo finished 19th. But not before sweating out Sunday's final game, New England at Carolina, which ended when Panthers defenders appeared to mug Rob Gronkowski in the end zone, but no penalty was called.

“One more catch, one more yard (by Gronkowski), and I would have been out,” said Karlo, who still fretted about potential last-minute adjustments to the totals that might cause his elimination.

“I was just lying in bed thinking that there might be a point change or something,” he said. “You never know.”

One thing Karlo said he does know is that if he wins, the money will not change him. No matter what, he said, “I'll be back at work Tuesday.”

Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bcohn@tribweb.com or via Twitter@BCohn_Trib.

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