Homeracing

The $2 Win-Place Format & Contest Selection

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Barry Spears

June 7th, 2016

Handicapping contests come in all shape, sizes and lengths. It can be a difficult, and sometimes overwhelming, task to choose which contest to play and why. Several factors are involved with making this kind of decision about handicapping contests, which include the type of contest, how many players will be in the contest, the sequence of races involved, and the cost associated with entry into the contest. All of these factors contribute to a contest player being able to put themselves in position to win contests and be a successful contest player

First, we will take a look at some types of contests available. I'm going to concentrate on two of the most common types that you will see in the handicapping contest world.
  1. The $2 WP Handicapping ContestScores are calculated according to the actual payouts of the race results. The payouts are based on $2 Win and $2 Place prices that the winner and 2nd place finisher pay as determined by the track involved. However, the payout cap (maximum score) is $42 in the win spot, and $22 in the place spot. In this format, you can make and/or change your selection up until post time of the particular contest race involved. The total payout at the end of the contest is your score. The player with the highest score wins the contest.
  2. The $2 WP Handcuff Handicapping ContestScores are calculated according to the actual payouts of the race results. The payouts are based on $2 Win and $2 Place prices that the winner and 2nd place finisher pay as determined by the track involved. However, the payout cap (maximum score) is $42 in the win spot, and $22 in the place spot. In this format, all selections for each contest race must be made BEFORE the 1st race of the contest is run. You are not able to make any changes to your selections after the 1st race of the contest, which leads to the “Handcuff” name of the type of contest. The total payout at the end of the contest is your score. The player with the highest score wins the contest.
There are certainly more types of handicapping contests than just these two. The $2 Win-Place format remains to be the most common format out there. The nuance of the “handcuff” provision changes the game slightly and certainly alters the strategy used. In future blog postings I will go deeper into these and other types of contests as well as strategy involved.

In regard to the $2 WP formats discussed the contest player has to decide whether or not to get involved in a particular handicapping tournament on a given day. As a handicapping contest player, you always want to accentuate the positive. Find a sequence of races within a contest that highlights the best part of your handicapping. If you excel with maiden races, try to find a contest that has a few maiden races in the sequence. If you are great with picking winners in stakes races, you may want to play on a big day with a lot of stakes races on a card. Keep in mind that being selective in the contests you enter will aid your efforts in improving your contest play greatly. Playing too many tournaments and especially those that do not highlight your strengths as a handicapper can slow down your improvement and confidence while playing contests. Ideally, you want to put yourself in the best possible situation to maximize your chance of winning any handicapping contest you decide to enter
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