Tuesday, April 24, 2012

HorseTourneys.com expanding NHC slate

Ellis Park Race Course's online handicapping contest subsidiary, HorseTourneys.com, is increasing the opportunities for weekday players to qualify for the 14th Annual National Handicapping Championship (NHC) in January 2013 through a series of low-cost qualifiers this week.

This will presumably have little bearing on contest participation on a site like DerbyWars.com that offers cash and points-based prize contests five days per week, since HorseTourneys.com is specifically a gateway to NHC, Horse Player World Series (HPWS) and other casino-based tourneys.  However, for players striving for the NHC, HorseTourneys.com offers a shot at low-cost NHC qualification and may steal at least a little business away from others.

Weekday NHC qualifiers on tap
For a reasonable $20 entry fee, NHC Tour players can win a $195 credit to one of several direct NHC qualifying tournaments offered by HorseTourneys.com.  This week alone, HorseTourneys.com is hosting five such $20 events (2 each on Wednesday and Thursday, and 1 on Friday), where players will have a 1-in-10 shot at winning a $195 tournament credit.

Those entering the $195 tournament will have a shot at winning one of 3-4 prize packages (four if 190+ enter) that include entry to NHC XIV and three-night stay at host Treasure Island, while the top 10% of non-qualifiers get another $195 tournament credit. Not a bad deal, in our opinion.

Interestingly, two of the five HorseTourneys.com events this week are of a novel "Pick and Pray" concept, where horseplayers are locked into their initial picks and cannot change midstream -- an action that cost NJ Horseplayer a shot at one of the $195 credits a few weeks back.  This kind of tournament also lends itself well to working folks, like NJ Horseplayer, who can handicap and enter picks a night in advance and "let it roll", so to speak (professional obligations prohibit me from playing live midweek).

Players can debate the merits of such a qualifier-based strategy, since a player, in essence, needs to finish near the top of the standings in (potentially) consecutive tournaments (i.e. the $20 qualifier, then the $195 game -- a difficult feat).  Considering it could cost an NHC Tour member $300-$400 to qualify through an online venue such NHCQualify.com, however, the economics of the HorseTourneys.com deal are pretty good, especially for those of the belief (like NJ Horseplayer) that real-life contest participation can never hurt.

Of course, the devil is in the odds -- $20 for about a 1-in-60 or 1-in-70 shot to win an NHC seat via HorseTourneys.com (and no credit for NHC travel expenses) or at least $110 (the base level cost of one entry to an NHCQualify.com qualifying tournament) for about a 1-in-10 shot at an NHC prize package may not be as appealing to players with unlimited tournament bankrolls or NHC Tour professionals.  But for the price of about two lunches (at least in NYC), HorseTourneys.com is no-brainer.

The increased frequency of opportunities at NHC tournament qualification make HorseTourneys.com an intriguing player in the online contest circuit, in our opinion, even if the odds are not as great as through an NHCQualify.com.  Here's to hoping that HorseTourneys.com draws the maximum number of players (50 entries to most, and 80 in Friday night's contest) and my "pick and play" selections this week yield more fruit than my 10th-place finish (out of 55 players) last Friday evening!

1 comment:

  1. Love a low cost entry to "get to" work towards qualifying toward the NHC Tour. I like Derby Wars too, but seem to fell off that wagon for a little, got to get back into it. I'm off to Mohegan Sun Casino in CT for the KD action on Saturday..... :) Have a great weekend :)