By the many blogs and stories over the years, you know that I really enjoy playing in contests. The people you meet, and the common reason for being there, is enough to excite the calmest of players. Over the years, I have asked questions and polled my fellow players about preparing for Vegas. They have their own method to their madness, but one thing always remains constant.
I know guys that pack three days in advance. They lay out their flight info, and start dotting every “I.” This is so they can relax, and focus on handicapping in advance. I have some limited access to see some PP’s in a program format from my friends at various tracks. It gives me an extra day or two to get a glimpse, and start going back and looking at replays, and troubled comment lines. Then, after all of this, it gives me a template to take to the contest, or three days, in this case, to study and make decisions.
I call to confirm reservations, I call to see if there are any changes, and then I print it all out and pack it away. For now, it is showtime.
The main answer that all handicappers have said in their own words is: POSITIVE STATE OF MIND. They will talk to other players before and after each contest, but when the races are going, they don’t want to be bothered. They HATE interruptions, and horse players are very superstitious. Last year, a major analyst at TVG introduced himself at the table, and kept talking for half of the day…. It was then, that a very old gent asked him to shut his trap, as we all knew who he was, and we didn’t care about his insights. The gent was right….. The analyst finished in the bottom 20 of 900 players, and the focused player made the top 20…..
It takes the ability of coming into each day fresh: no party, no drinking all night…. Just ask “Big Ben” when he was out singing in a bar. It may not have had a negative impact, but after further review, he should have been pulling time with the playbook…. You study, get up early and have breakfast, and make your way to your table. It has your name on the chair, and will be held for the three days. No worries….. You leave, get your handicapping info, and head back to your room… You shower and eat, and back to what you are there for. All the while, you keep a positive state of mind. No negative thoughts, don’t go carousing and talking. Just stick to your knitting and you will have as fair a shot as the wagering gods allow. Meditate, pray, and keep your cool…. Leave each day at the table, and start again the next morning. I only wager a few dollars on the final day after the contest. It is over, and you can relax a bit. For horse players, this is what its all about. No distractions, no parties, and keep your cool….. I have found out that I am satisfied with losing, as long I have prepared. Leave it at the table at the end of the day, and keep a good frame of mind.
Wish me luck at The Horse Player World Series this week!