01/16/2014 1:50PM

Doubling up for final shot at NHC

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There is a new trend on the contest scene. It is certainly not for everyone. The term I use for it comes from the world of poker and at best, it allows for more efficient play. At worst, it’s a total distraction. I’m talking about multi-tabling, that is, playing in more than one contest at once.

I mention this now because on Saturday, players will have an interesting opportunity to try this strategy, because NHCQualify.com and BCQualify.com will be running contests simultaneously. Here are the run of races for each:

BCQualify

3:30    Santa Anita, race 1

3:55    Fair Grounds, race 6

4:03    Gulfstream, race 8

4:33    Gulfstream, race 9

4:39    Oaklawn, race 6

4:55    Fair Grounds, race 8

5:09    Oaklawn, race 7

5:23    Fair Grounds, race 9

5:30    Santa Anita, race 5

5:53    Fair Grounds, race 10

NHCQualify

3:30    Santa Anita, race 1

3:55    Fair Grounds, race 6

4:03    Gulfstream, race 8

4:33    Gulfstream, race 9

4:39    Oaklawn, race 6

4:55    Fair Grounds, race 8

5:09    Oaklawn, race 7

5:23    Fair Grounds, race 9

5:30    Santa Anita, race 5

5:53    Fair Grounds, race 10

6:09    Oaklawn, race 9

6:23    Fair Grounds, race 11

As usual, DRF past performances will be available to participants in each contest. This is the last chance online players will have to qualify for the NHC. After this, the two remaining qualifying tournaments will be the Last Chance contest held live and in person at Gulfstream on Sunday and the more literal Last Chance Qualifier actually held at the Treasure Island in Las Vegas on Thursday.

On Sunday, there’s another opportunity to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge on BCQualify.com. As I’ve written many times, the BCBC is the best value in all the contest world, so why not try to get your participation locked in early in the year? Put the NFL championship games on in the background and get to work.

I’ll write more extensively about multi-tabling at some point in the future, but today I’ll go over some basic points. There are several reasons why the strategy can work for certain players. Some players like the “letting go” attitude it encourages. When decisions have to be made in rapid succession, it diminishes the chances they will think long and think wrong – one of the real perils of contest play specifically and horseplaying in general.

I write a lot about the patience players need to have in terms of allowing the long run to happen, thus allowing the randomness of racing to even itself out. If one can manage sufficient patience, then any player with an edge will eventually win. Multi-tabling can be a way to expedite that – playing in more contests means more chances to win.

There are different kinds of multi-tabling. Sometimes players will play multiple contests that cover different sequences of races. Other times, like on Saturday, the different contests will cover largely the same set of races. This means you only have to do the work once but have two chances to win. You can play the same horses to win in both tournaments, or you can spread your opinion across the two sets of races. It’s really up to you.

Of course, there is one important difference between multi-tabling in poker and attempting this strategy in racing. In online poker, multi-tabling is all about waiting to get the right starting hand and there is a clear benefit to having many more chances to get a good one. In racing, many players will benefit from the added intensity of focus that playing in one contest at a time will provide. For me, there are subtleties of contest play that can just get lost playing more than one tourney at a time. So while I can see why a new breed of horseplayers is excited about multi-tabling in the simulcasting era, it doesn’t suit my one-track mind to indulge in it myself.