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View Full Version : Ideas For NHC Format Change?


Bobzilla
09-21-2010, 02:20 PM
The NTRA recently announced that the 2012 Championship will have $2,000,000 in winnings with half of that going to the winner. They also announced that there will be more berths for which to qualify, I believe 500. The contract with the Red Rock will expire after NHC 2011 and although Station Casinos would like very much to host the event beyond 2011, it is likely that there will be a bidding process involving other casinos. So the NTRA will be making some plans over the coming months in regard to financing an expanded championship as well as how to finance it via the NTRA Tour. It's also my understanding that not only will there be changes to the tour structure but also with the format of the main event. If the latter is true I'd be interested to know what others would think to be an acceptable format.

Many of us have always thought that the $2 W-P is too rudimentary. Personally I have no problems with any of the results to date, but at the same time I'm well aware that among much of the horse playing population there exist a cynicism towards the event and those who have performed well in it. Hopefully if there is a change in format it will be one in which not only will the best players have the best chance but their accomplishment will be universally recognized as well.

Awhile back I had written what PA boardmember TEJAS KIDD had proposed. TK is a very good handicapper and an accomplished tounament player. I hope the NTRA would give consideration to ideas such as the one TK proposed.

It works by having 3 sets of 5 wagers each (assuming 15 plays/day traditionally used at NHC). The first set is for $10 Win bets with a 5/1 cap. The second set is for $5 Win bets with an 11/1 cap. The third set is for $2 Win bets with a 29/1 cap. The most anyone could make with any bet would be $60. The beauty of this format is that it allows the player to weigh his/her wagers based on their degree of confidence in the bet. If a player loves a horse who is 9/2 that player can use one of his/her 5 allotted $10 bets to get back $55 on the 9/2 horse. This would be especially useful if it's the end of the day and the player would like to have that big hit to climb the leaderboard but accomplishing this with a horse the player actually loves and at an overlaid price. It beats taking blind stabs on 29/1 horses for whom you may, or may not, be able to make a rational case. If you do happen to like a 29/1 horse you can still save one of your 5 allotted $2 Win bets for it. Seems like a good format because strategy is very much in play. Furthermore the set of plays that the bet was chosen from can better reflect the strength of opinion that the player actually had for the horse's chances.

IMO this would be a good base from which to start. In fact it's probably fine the way it is. If I were to expand on it I might consider Place and Show bets that can be used for the three sets. The Place caps at 3/1 for the $10 bets; 7/1 for the $5 bets and 19/1 with the $2 bets. The most one could get back for Place would be $40. The Show caps would be EVEN for the $10 bets; 3/1 for the $5 bets and 9/1 for the $10 bets. The most one could make on a Show bet would be $20. Ordinarily I don't think most players would be using Place and Show in a tournament like this, but if one wanted to preserve a position late in the game, or simply trying to save a bankroll, it might be of some use and would be an available option.

I also think the tournament would be better at 3 days rather than 2. Each player could start with $85 on day one and get an additional $85 on day 2. Day 3 they start with what's left after the first two days and if they have nothing then they're out. Ruin is something we're all faced with during our regular day to day play so I don't know why it should be any different in a 3 day tournament where the winner will be honored as handicapper of the year while receiving a million in winnings.

Another possibility would be full track odds on the first $2 played on bets made only from the $10 set (Win bets only). Does a player want to use that $10 bullet for a 4/1 horse he loves to get back $50 or use it on a 10/1 horse he/she loves to get back the capped $60 plus an additional $12 for a total of $72. I would prefer that the full track odds to the first $2 of a $10 wager not be allowed for the last race of the tournament. I also don't think the last race of the tournament should be one of the eight mandatory races.

Maybe 3 of the 5 $2 wagers could be used for a straight exacta capped at $60; trifecta capped at $120 or superfecta capped at $180, for each of the three contest days. Just kind of thinking out loud here.

I'd be interested to know what other ideas others might have. This board has some good tournament players such as Tejas Kidd, JimG, Donnie, bcgreg, bdownes and more. Interested to know what others are thinking about any possible changes to the NHC format.

OTM Al
09-22-2010, 01:16 PM
I'm sure some of these seem like good ideas, but they are way too complex to be employed practically. I am very close to someone who runs a few of the qualifiying tournaments each year and the rules there are far simpler, 2 days, 10 bets each day at a small set of tracks, $20 w/p for 9, $40 w/p for 1 and invariably a couple people each time screw it up and end up getting disqualified, and this is after being sent the rules in the registration packet as well as being told verbally at the tournament itself. The players often are concentrating so hard on what they are doing that they just mess up the technical part. Some take it well and realise they screwed up and some don't and that ain't pretty.

FunkyMonkey
09-22-2010, 08:16 PM
I tend to agree with the sentiment expressed by AL...keep it simple. Limited number of tracks, fixed bankroll amount and certain eligible bet types. I do know I thing for sure...whatever the format you'll always get somebody complaining about how it is unfair in some way or another...that's as close to a sure bet as anything...my 2 cents.
TC

Bobzilla
09-22-2010, 09:04 PM
Agree it's a pretty safe bet that some will be unhappy with whatever the format is.

I guess my thinking is that if the winner is going to be honored as handicapper of the year at the Eclipse Awards and receive a million dollars in winnings then they should be able to have the presence of mind to keep track of their own wagers. I don't think anyone should be disqualified for a mistake. For example, as it is now if anyone were to accidently submit a 16th pick (15 races a day) it would simply not be counted.


I do think that a broader represntation of the horse playing public would take the event more seriously if the act of managing a bankroll and safeguarding against ruin were part of the contest, as well as players having at their disposal options that would allow them to optimize on their strongest opinions. Based on comments I'm forever reading about the current format it's clear that some people have a negative view of the event and don't take the results all that seriously. I'm hopeful that the possibility of an improved format might improve the NHC's image and increase interest in tounament participation.

stuball
09-23-2010, 11:45 AM
How could you possibly have a contest with different amounts for different
odds..it would seem late odds changes would make that impossible..
while i agree changes should be made, I can't see how that would work..
My suggestions:
Do away with the mandatory races..require a preset amount of bets on dirt --
turf--poly for variety.. allow say 1 wildcard bet a day where you can double
up instead of win-place = win-win. allow conditional betting to combat late odds changes..

Stuball :jump:

horses4courses
09-23-2010, 12:42 PM
The ideas listed above all have merit.
Some are more complicated than others, but change will inevitably make things more complex for contest players.
Let's face it....many horseplayers are set in their ways!

Having organized tournaments (non-NHC) on a small scale in Lake Tahoe years back, I always felt that incorporating exotics into the contest wagering format would be a better test to find the most skilled handicappers.

Here are the basics of my ideal tournament format:

Whether you play a 2 or 3 day tourney, each player gets $100 mythical money to wager with each day. This would be broken down as follows:

$40 for ten $2WP bets at designated tracks - no mandatory races.
$20 for exacta wagers (minimum two plays of $10 each - maximum four plays)
$20 for trifecta/superfecta wagers (minimum two plays, maximum four)
$20 for DD/PK3/PK4/PK6 wagers (minimum two plays, maximum four)

Obviously, the $ increments for the exotics is open to debate.
Anything less than $1, though, would be out of the question.
Caps would, also, need to be placed on each exotic for max allowed.

Harder to score? Of course it would be.
Worth it to find a true champion, though. :ThmbUp:

Horse playing is about making money - tournaments should reflect that.

Bobzilla
09-23-2010, 06:29 PM
How could you possibly have a contest with different amounts for different
odds..it would seem late odds changes would make that impossible..
while i agree changes should be made, I can't see how that would work..
My suggestions:
Do away with the mandatory races..require a preset amount of bets on dirt --
turf--poly for variety.. allow say 1 wildcard bet a day where you can double
up instead of win-place = win-win. allow conditional betting to combat late odds changes..

Stuball :jump:

The decision to chose from the $10 set, $5 set or $2 set is totally up to the player based on degree of confidence. The odds themselves wouldn't dictate which group he would have to pick from.

If a player loves an 8/1 horse he probably wouldn't use a wager from the $2 set because the most he could win would be $19.80. If he choses from the $5 set he could get as much as $49.50. If he choses from the $10 set, which are capped at $12, he would then have the "capper" and get the entire $60. He would deserve this because he really liked the horse and backed it with one of his 5 $10 wagers. He would have used a wager from the same set which would have also produced a $60 payout on a 5/1 horse he might have been thinking of using but liked less than the 8/1.

The wildcard idea you mentioned in your format I think is a good idea.

Bobzilla
09-23-2010, 06:31 PM
Horse playing is about making money - tournaments should reflect that.

Man do I agree with that.

FunkyMonkey
09-23-2010, 07:34 PM
Man do I agree with that.

If that is your view then I would suggest that you should also not be in favor of any capping of payouts...this would truly reflect the horseplaying experience...or am I missing something?

TC

Bobzilla
09-23-2010, 08:40 PM
If that is your view then I would suggest that you should also not be in favor of any capping of payouts...this would truly reflect the horseplaying experience...or am I missing something?

TC


My favorite tournaments have always been the live money tournaments. The reason why is that they do better reflect the horseplaying experience. Personally I wouldn't mind at all if the NTRA decided on changing the NHC into a live money tounament. I truly doubt they would ever consider this. I think they would prefer a format where a player can demonstrate handicapping mastery of many races rather than a format where someone can crush two or three and get away with a disproportionate lead. This is one of the reasons why they use caps along with trying to prevent an 11th hour Hail Mary pass that might not reflect opinion as much as needed points. With that in mind I've been curious about what kind of format might there be that would call upon both handicapping accumen (over many races) as well as horseplaying. I think a format that had balance between the two might be more popular. But again, my own preference has always been the live money tournaments.

JimG
09-24-2010, 04:14 PM
I don't really think the contest scoring format needs to be changed. It's not perfect, but it works. I would favor going from a 2 day to a 3 day tournament.

At the tournament itself, I would like to see the information digitally displayed after each race indicating the current score and the number of plays each player has available. It is the area of up to date information that I find the tournaments woefully lacking. Everybody running to a bulletin board to see the latest typed sheet standings (as of 30 minutes ago) seems so 1970's to me.

Personally, I have gravitated more to online tournament play and qualifying than to in-person events as I find the information more up-to-date and accurate. Not to mention this holds down expenses for the would be qualifier.

Tournament play is really fun for me as it not only involves the normal decision making after handicapping but you must consider strategy relative to your standings with other players at the time. You can make very few stupid mistakes, if any at all, and win a tournament. That is how it should be.

Jim