03/31/2014 1:25PM

Shurman qualifies for NHC for 12th time

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William Shurman qualified for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship for an amazing 12th time on Saturday on NHCQualify.com. I spoke with him Sunday morning.

You were playing in both the Horse Player World Series and the NHCQualify.com contest at the same time. Is it common for you to do that type of multi-tabling?

Actually, I was triple-tabling. I was playing in another online contest as well. I was playing at home and my brother was playing my ticket in Las Vegas, which they allow for that contest with its unlimited entries. Last year, I was there in Vegas, playing for us, and he was on a cruise. This year at the World Series, I was pretty much in a support role and that allowed me to play those other contests online.

Talk about why you like multi-tabling. Is it an efficiency thing?

Part of my logic was, “Well, I’ve got to be looking at these races anyway, so I might as well play these other contests.” I had a nice-priced winner in the race that started both the online contests, so I focused more on those and let Paul handle the World Series.

How did that work out for you, managing the two online contests simultaneously?

After starting out so well, playing the same price horse on both tickets, I made a mistake. I had a $50 horse at Santa Anita, the longer price of the two [Bob] Baffert runners. And I originally played it in both online contests. And at the last second, I decided to split it up and play the Gary Stevens horse at 6-1 in the non-NHCQualify contest, who I also really liked. It’s one of those lessons I always tell myself but I rarely follow: When you’re considering two horses and one is 15-1 and the other is 6-1, even though you might like the 6-1 slightly better, you play the 15-1 in most contests. The 6-1 still may not win, and 6-1 might not be enough anyway to help you anyway. If not for switching at the last second, I would have had a good shot to win the other online contest too. My total would have given me enough in theory, but who knows if I would have played differently after that.

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I love how philosophical you are when talking about this stuff. A lot of players would have just said, “I would have won,” and neglected the fact that there’s a whole decision tree that might have branched out differently.

Yeah, I was kicking myself, but really happy with the way things worked out on NHCQualify.com. When I play on there, against 350 people, I really don’t expect to finish in the top five, my main goal going in is to finish in the top 10 percent and pick up NHC Tour points. My schedule isn’t going to allow for that much travel this year, so going into this weekend, I was thinking my best chance to qualify for the NHC was to do so via the Tour – the top 150 finishers on the Tour are all guaranteed seats to the NHC. But as the day went on, I kept creeping up.

Was there any drama late in the day?

The last two races were going off at the same time. And I was in the top three with a $20 on sixth, and with the top five getting seats, that’s what I was worried about, finishing top five. So I played horses that were more protective in nature in those final two races. If the people in sixth or seventh hit back-to-back 3-1’s to beat me, so be it. Watching the races, all I was concerned with was that a 20-1 shot didn’t win. I didn’t even realize that the horse at Santa Anita I played in the last race ran second, giving me enough to actually win the NHCQualify contest. I checked the leaderboard afterwards expecting to have held on for fourth or fifth and was shocked to see myself in the lead. I had no idea.

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