This is the transcript, Chapter 3 of 4, for the Pace Makes the Race Podcast: Tournament Talk with KevRoc.
Dave Schwartz interviews Kevin Perau, discussing Tips YOU can use for Tournament Handicapping in this chapter!
Dave: Next question. I believe I saw something that indicated there was kind of a master score board of each player’s history, or at least recent history, on the site. Is that true?
KevRoc: On DerbyWars they do have a monthly leaderboard as far as number of wins and dollar value.
Dave: So in other words, as you’re scoping out your opponent, you are also perhaps looking at what he’s done?
KevRoc: Oh definitely. You can see the people that are signed on to a tournament before you get in. So you may see a couple of guys that you know have your number and you think you’re not quite ready to beat them yet, so you kind of sidestep them.
Dave: Okay, so you enter into a tournament but that presupposes that they’ve already entered?
KevRoc: It shows you the number of people in it at the moment before you sign up, what the maximum is, what the minimum is for it to go. Sometimes they don’t fill if it’s not guaranteed.
Dave: And if they don’t fill then all bets are off.
KevRoc: Right, then everything is refunded unless it’s a guaranteed tournament of course.
Dave: In the horse racing world it’s amazing how many players claim to be winning players despite the fact that they aren’t. Being able to see that scoreboard, could that actually be a detriment for some players because it’s splashing their history up there?
KevRoc: Not really because it’s not going to show wins and losses. It just gives you how many wins they have.
They could be up at the top of the leader board but who knows how many times they played. They could have been in a million tournaments, you know they win one hundred but they played a thousand.
Dave: Oh so it doesn’t show your net profit for the year or for the month?
KevRoc: No, it doesn’t even show profit as far as a P&L. The dollar value, on DerbyWars at least, is just purse winnings.
Dave: Okay so it’s like an earnings box for the horse. It’s a little out of context.
KevRoc: Right. Yes.
Dave: Back to your handicapping. Tell us as much as you can about the way you handicap, the way you prep, etc.
KevRoc: Well, within HSH I’m always doing all the studies and everything there. I have analysts and everything already set up. So the actual handicapping race by race is pretty quick. I do set the races up, like I said before, you want to identify the key races within the sequence. You know, the way you’re looking for your prices.
So, I have everything laid out as far as which plays I’m going to make if it’s a live tournament. I’ll set those horses in already. I’ll make the picks on the site, because you can change them. So I put the picks in, and I have on a spreadsheet the odds that I am willing to accept in those certain races for those situations.
So, going by hit rate, I can have a horse that is my top horse but depending on how much I like it, I could say “Alright I’m not going to take less than five to two on this horse.”
Let’s use DerbyWars for example, I’ll go down to a minute on their clock which is roughly one minute to post on a real clock. If it’s at that five to two, I don’t change it. If it’s lower than that I’m going to move on to the next contender based on hit rate, to see what I put down as well, except for that horse and so forth.
Dave: In other words, you might have theoretically keyed in multiple horses in a race, but then you’ll make your final decision just like you might at the track.
KevRoc: Right. The only thing is there, you’re limited to one horse per. Whereas at the track I’d probably bet on multiple horses at varying dollar values. Here, you’re making a value determination.
That’s also early in the tournament. Like I said, you’re always trying to set up the endgame even in the very beginning. You want to have an idea of where in the sequence it falls.
I have a first time starter object that I swear by. Let’s say that in one of the races coming up, I have a first time starter that I am keying on that I suspect is going to be mid range price. Maybe even a seven/eight to one. The whole tournament could hinge on that horse.
So you want to set up your game there. You may be willing to take a lower price on some of your other horses to pad your score. You’re not looking to win the tournament in that one race, you’re looking to pad your score while everyone else might be fishing because you know you’re looking for a good run from that first time starter.
Dave: So is the leaderboard updated during the, for lack of a better word, the game?
KevRoc: Yes. After every race the leaderboard updates.
What I’m getting at with the endgame also is that, ideally, you’d like to have the lead. Where in the finale, the lower priced horses are free squares where you have enough of a lead that, you know, first choice – second choice, even if the other people have them, it’s not going to hurt you.
So you can be in a situation where you can, what they call, ‘block’ someone. If you have the same horse as them, they obviously can’t gain on you. You’d rather be ahead than behind.
Dave: Just like a horse racer you’d rather be in the lead at the first call and go and gate the wire.
KevRoc: Yeah, no traffic.
Dave: You mentioned handicapping objects. For our audience that does not know, what is a handicapping object?
KevRoc: It’s got handicapping factors inside of it that basically tell you what you’re using to handicap.
KevRoc’s Bio: Born and Raised in Brooklyn, NY. Currently living in Staten Island, NY. Married with 4 children. In my 40’s now, been handicapping since age 15. Commodities Executions Trader for 18 years, now does Inventory Control for Amazon.com. Grew up on backstretch of Aqueduct & Belmont. Spends summers at Monmouth Park. Database handicapper, has taken down numerous high stakes tournaments online. Largest pari-mutuel win was $61k pick six at Hollywood Park in summer of 2006. Dual qualifier for HPWS ’16 on BetAmerica.
Play 90% contests and 10% pari-mutual nowadays. Very excited about the growth of tournaments and hope to play in more large live events in the future.
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