Contest Strategies

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 23, 2008 in General Discussion, Handicapping | No Comments >>

I like playing in handicapping contests. The action, the players who love the game like you do, and the chance to chase the pot of gold.

Today, I found myself in that old comfortable seat. The card looked chalky, and man was I right!

The object of the game (according to every player worth their salt) is to play nothing less than 5-1. If you find something bigger, go for it.

The 5-1 rule is handy. If the chalk wins, many players will have it. Play two 9-5 winners, and the third wins at 6-1, and I am ahead of you in the contest. I know, you picked two winners. But it is not about picking winners. It is about accumulating a balance. Anyone can pick a few chalky dust winners, but few can follow the golden rule.

I find myself after two or three no-hits attempting to go back to the chalkboard and get a winner under my belt.  I think this is more for my psyche than my score. I just want to know that I can still find a winner. But, the overall rule applies.

I finally strike gold and have a 33-1 winner who dead-heats. This is still a HUGE play. Now, I am suddenly back in the game. Two races ago, I was wondering where I parked and the long drive home. Now, I am looking for that 10-1 to get me home.

With one race to go, I am still alive. This is old familiar land. I have been here a thousand times before. I can see me wearing the crown.  I can see the crowd cheering.  I can see my name on the check as I set off for Las Vegas to do battle. But not just yet…..

The race is set, and I have made my selection. I have a crisp 11-1 shot, and I feel good. I am doing the math in my head, and things must fall just right.  By the time I get back to my seat, I see that I am 9 for your one. OK, I am still good to go…. I wrap up my papers, and look up and see 8-1… Now, I begin to wonder if I should have gone longer. You know, the 5-1 rule…

The gates break, and I am 8-1. They come rolling for home, and I’m laying fourth on the rail… All I need is a little help. The wire arrives and my charge finishes fourth… No good. Dreams smashed, and the long drive home comes into focus.

I finish 19th out of 200, but the rule still applies. Stick to your guns. Make the 5-1 rule apply. It is not a contest to select winners, but one where you accumulate a bankroll. I do regret my picks. I wish I would have had a little more luck, but not on this day.  The mantra of all horse players: ” I will be back again.”  That holds true, and I will be back. I love the game, and hopefully it will love me back.  Just keep my seat handy, my handicapping information ready, and lady luck on my side. I’ll be back…