07/06/2016 12:16PM

Public leaderboards help educate players


Ever since the new DRF Tournaments platform was launched, customers and contest aficionados have been united in one message: They missed the public leaderboards that were once available at NHCQualify.com, BCQualify.com, and DRFQualify.com. They will be pleased to learn that as of last weekend, public leaderboards are back.

Public leaderboards offer contest players a great way to keep track of who is winning what in the contest world. In some instances, they give you a chance to root for your friends. Other times, you’ll see familiar names and have a chance to follow their progress as they chase major goals like seats to the National Handicapping Championship or Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge.

But public leaderboards are more than just a way to help you enjoy tournaments from the outside looking in. They can also be a valuable teaching tool. Since DRF Tournaments launched, 30 percent of the players to compete on the new platform are new to contests. They definitely face a learning curve. But the steepness of that curve can be greatly reduced with the help of public leaderboards.

When Eric Moomey started playing in tournaments back in 2013, a careful examination of leaderboards helped him on his way. Over the last several years, he has gone on an impressive run, winning the NHC Tour in 2014, finishing second in 2015, and sitting in third place this year despite not being able to play in live contests the last few months.

“The first thing I wanted to do when I started playing in tournaments was to understand my competition because what I’ve noticed is that there are a handful of people who go to the top most every time,” he said in “The Winning Contest Player.”

He contrasted the ability to see what consistent winners are playing with the parimutuel game, where “you have no idea if the guy next to you is winning or losing,” and live tournaments, where “there is just not a lot of information available about everybody else.”

With public leaderboards, all the information is available at your fingertips. “For a player starting out, the first thing I would encourage them to do is identify who some of the top players are and then look to see what they do,” Moomey said. “What kinds of horses are they picking? Are there any patterns?”

In Moomey’s case, he studied the players he thought were the best and most consistent and charted them. He was looking to answer several basic questions, including: What prices did players in this group play early in contests? Were they playing favorites or longshots throughout? If they were playing multiple entries, were they playing the same horses on each ticket?

“When I did that analysis, I found that there was a lot of commonality between those top players,” Moomey said.

Of course, learning how successful players play is just a starting point. “You can’t just mimic what they do because you’d just end up being an inferior version of them,” he said. “So, after you spend some time learning about your competition, the second thing you have to do is learn to be different.”

Friday contests

There are five contests scheduled for DRF Tournaments for Friday. All will use the all-in format, where all picks must be in before the scheduled post time of the first contest race.

There are three feeders, all of which will send the top 10 percent to a qualifier.

For $26, you can win your $235 entry in Sunday’s NHCQualify event or Saturday’s qualifier to the Santa Anita Autumn Championship. For $25, you can win your $225 buy-in to Sunday’s BCQualify event.

Additionally, there are two credit-builder contests with $15 buy-ins, one a $150 winner-take-all limited to 11 players, the other a $500 credit builder where the purse will be split among the top three finishers.

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

4:09 Belmont 3

4:30 Santa Anita 1

4:41 Belmont 4

5:00 Santa Anita 2

5:13 Belmont 5

5:30 Santa Anita 3

5:45 Belmont 6

6:00 Santa Anita 4

6:17 Belmont 7

6:30 Santa Anita 5