06/17/2016 11:20AM

No-takeout contests are bankroll builders

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There are two contests on DRF Tournaments on Sunday. The headline event is a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, and there’s also a no-takeout credit-builder event. Both contests are utilizing the all-in format, where all selections must be in before the scheduled post time of the first race.

Many newer contest players have begun their contest play in feeder contests, where the top 10 percent of entries advance to a weekend qualifier. Playing in a qualifier itself – like the BCQualify event Sunday – or a credit builder requires a slightly different approach. Sunday’s contests will benefit players finishing at the top of the standings more than the feeders, where the top 10 percent all receive the same prize.

The no-takeout rule is an important piece of the puzzle. The normal credit-builder takeout isn’t high at around 5 percent, but when that is removed, you’re essentially getting a 5 percent rebate. There is simply no better way to fund your upcoming contest play than a no-takeout contest.

Let’s look at the math for the $1,008 credit builder, where entries cost $21. The total number of players is 48, and the top five get paid. So, as in the feeders, the top 10 percent get rewarded, but unlike the feeders, first place is worth a lot more than fifth. First gets $458 (45 percent of the prize pool), and fifth gets $60, just 6 percent of the prize pool. Note: If there is a lot of interest, the contest may be doubled in size, but those ratios will remain the same.

How does this change the strategy? It should make you a bit more aggressive in your play, but not much changes at all. You still will want to play who you like; if torn between two prices, you’ll probably want to lean longer, but not at the expense of a winner.

In the BCQualify event, entries cost $190, and up to two $10,000 seats to the BCBC will be awarded. There will be one package (including $500 for travel) for every 65 entries. Unlike in the tote system, breakage will be paid back to players. But the raw math here is obviously a lot more daunting. Just one in 65 players (1.54 percent) will meet their goal of a BCBC prize package. Keep in mind, however, that the BCBC and National Handicapping Championship qualifiers feature an outsized reward for winners – in this case, a five-figure score right off the bat.

Strategy-wise, this is where you might want to really start thinking about the odds that you’re willing to play. A lot will depend on your wagering personality. Many players will still be okay using some “tent pole” favorites, but generally, you’re going to need some horses at 4-1 and up, and it often will take a 10-1 shot or even a cap horse to get high enough on the board to meet your goals.

Here are the races for Sunday’s contests (all times Eastern):

3:47 Churchill 7

4:00 Santa Anita 3

4:09 Belmont 6

4:19 Churchill 8

4:41 Belmont 7

4:51 Churchill 9

5:00 Santa Anita 5

5:13 Belmont 8

5:23 Churchill 10

5:30 Santa Anita 6

5:45 Belmont 9

6:00 Santa Anita 7

Jeff More than 1 year ago
Dear Pete:
May I inquire as to why the sudden shift to All-In or pick and pray contests? I can certainly understand that for Feeder contests, on weekdays, this is the preferred format. However, after all of the years where the "primary" qualifying tournaments, on weekends, were held as "live", it appears that there has been a complete and sudden shift to conduct all of the contests as All-In. I do not think that this significant shift in procedure is fair, and I do not believe that DRF has even announced this as a change in policy. Kindly advise as to what thought process instigated this change, and if there will be a shift back to the "Live" process in the future?

Joseph Bartelli More than 1 year ago
This way it's legit handicapping! Not some random player just picking a 15-1 shot in every race in hopes that one comes in! If you do the work and you pick the right horse you get in! Live tournaments allow people with no handicapping skills whatsoever to have a chance! Good luck Handicapping!