06/03/2014 2:12PM

Fornatale: $50,000 in play for the first half of the NHC Tour


The battle for prize money in the first half of the NHC Tour is heating up. The top five players on the tour, ranked by tour points, as of July 31 will each receive $10,000. This is a change from previous years when the money awarded was more top heavy.

The current tour leader is one of the most respected players on the contest scene, Ken Seeman. Seeman, who stood atop the leaderboard as of May 20 with 10,990 points, has been as consistent as any player over the last several years, with an impressive three top 15 NHC finishes. The other players in the top five as of May 20 were Brett Wiener (9.239), Bill Wilbur (9,099), 2009 NHC Tour champ Bryan Wagner (9,010), and William Shurman (8,710).

Tour contestants receive points for their best finishes in NHC-approved contests. Only four scores may be used for the first-half leaderboard, and one of those must come from a live event or only three scores will be considered. For the full year standings, six scores are used, one of which must be from a live event.

This leaves an impressive number of players still eligible to compete for these $10,000 bonuses. Not only is the pack in behind the top five fairly tight, but there are players within striking distance who only have two online scores now – meaning they can improve their positions rather dramatically with another good online finish and/or a positive result in a live event.

For example, say a player has won two online contests and has 4,500 points. They can still add another online score and a live event score to get more than 9,000 points and have a shot at the bonus. Or perhaps a player has a live event win but hasn’t been playing online. With nearly two months to go, it’s conceivable they could still get three more online scores and make a run at the money.

The race should come down to the wire and lead to some interesting scenes, online at NHCQualify and in live events across the country. You can find the full calendar of events here.

For a first half leaderboard with details of who has played where, check here.

Points are awarded on a sliding scale, based largely on tournament participation. Typically you have to finish in the top 10 percent of a given contest to receive tour points. For a fuller explanation of how points are awarded, you can check here.


mikey More than 1 year ago
Pete you know the leaders better than anyone.Other than the honor of being #1 who much do they spend during the year.I see the top 5 names all over the place.2 or more spots every week in a few contests.The 50,000 might be a break even number.That's not counting the money they spend to get other's qualified.This sounds like a horse player who goes to the track and when someone says how did you do.The standard answer is i broke even or lost a few.
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
You have to remember that there is bigger prize money for the full year, the 50K is just for the first half. Also, your guess as to what folks spend is way off. Yes,, there might be a few individuals who spend 10K or so, and probably a couple hundred who spend 2k throughout the course of the year. Thanks, as always, for taking the time to comment!
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
William Shurman asked me to post this for him: I'm currently in 5th for the first half of the year. Yes, it isn't a great value if you play every event and buy two and three entries. Keeping this in mind, I've been buying one entry only and will do so in order to max out on participation points, which effectively moves me up to 4th. I think I've played 25 entries in 22 tournaments so far. In a couple of them I've won some money in the form of credits (breakage), but I've still spent at least $3,000. It's not a great value, but anyone who bets horseracing to make money over the long term is, in my mind, not doing it for the right reasons. Sure, it can happen, but if that's one's main reason for participating, "success" is unlikely. For me, I recognize the tour isn't a great value given the current prize structure, but since I was lucky enough to have a few good finishes early in the year, I'm going to keep playing as it would mean something to me beyond the prize money to win the thing.
Paul Hoffman More than 1 year ago
What tour? With seven months to go in the tour season , twelve contestants have won the maximum two entries. All on line events offer only NHC entries as prize. Most on site events offer the main prize is an entry. So in other words several good players have run out of conditions. Any advise?
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
One of the points of the NHC Tour is to give folks with two NHC quals a reason to keep playing. If you are one of those, check out the NHC Tour standings and see where you are. The NTRA site contains full rules for the Tour. if you have further questions, comment again here or find me on Twitter (@loomsboldly) and I'll try to help you out.
pshurm More than 1 year ago
Pete, Just a reminder that even if someone doesn't get a qualifying "brick and mortar" tournament score, he or she can still improve their standing with an online score higher that their previous three. It might even be possible for someone to finish in the top five for the first half tour with just three very good online scores. Right now, the tour members in 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th places in the first half tour only have three online scores. There are 16 players between 11th place and 50th place who only have two scores of any kind. All these players, and many others, have room for improvement and are within striking distance of the top five. On the other hand, it will much harder for the players in the lead to improve their scores because of the high scores they have already posted. Also, players also need to remember that they get points just for participating in tournaments...50 for an online and 150 for a brick and mortar contest, up to a maximum of 1,500 points. So the first half tour prize money could make a contest with no prize money worth $10,000 if that score puts you into or gets you close to the top five. Paul Shurman
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
Thanks, Paul. Very well explained! It does seem like participation points may well make the difference in the first half payouts. In the main piece, i elected not to open that can of worms but perhaps I should have.
Kenny More than 1 year ago
I'm one of the guys that has only 2 online scores and is within striking distance of a top 5 for first half.... it seemed to me after a closer look that the first half prizes would come down to the participation points since the top 5 guys already had posted some impressive placings unless I could win a brick and mortar by July 31.....1500 participation points at 165 a pop online is 4950$ just didnt seem worth it to chase first half......good luck to everyone and Peter your articles are great.
Peter Fornatale More than 1 year ago
I appreciate the kind words, Kenny! I think your theory about participation points makes sense. If you're way behind in that regard, might not make sense to make a run. I just wanted to make sure folks knew about the rules changes and what was up for grabs over the next two months.