This is the transcript, Chapter 1 of 4 for the Pace Makes the Race Podcast: Tournament Talk with KevRoc.
Dave Schwartz interviews Kevin Perau, discussing Getting Started in Online Tournaments in this chapter.
Dave: Hi! I’m Dave Schwartz. Welcome to Pace Makes the Race Podcast. Today I will be interviewing the infamous ‘KevRoc’ or Kevin Perau. Known by his friends and family as KevRoc.
Kev’s claim to fame is that he plays tournaments. You’re going to hear all about it. He has won two entries to the Horse Player World Series this year already!
First of all, Kev, tell us a little bit about yourself?
KevRoc: I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I moved out to Staten Island after I got married. I have four kids.
I have been playing the races since I was 15, ever since I learned how to read the racing form. My grandfather and his brother used to work for the NYRA so I used to be at the track all the time, the Aqueduct Belmont.
Dave: Okay, thats great! Ever since you were 15? That was in 1990!
I’ve known you personally for awhile because you’ve used our software. So, tell me, almost all of your play now is tournament play, am I right?
KevRoc: Yeah, almost all of it.
Dave: Why? What caused you to turn to tournaments?
KevRoc: Well, I started out playing tournaments from an advertisement in an email and I thought I’d give it a try. I found some success pretty early on with it. Little by little I played more tournaments and found more success there. So I kept at it.
Dave: Now, I’ve never played in a tournament in my life. How does it work?
KevRoc: Well, there are different types of tournaments.
The most common one you will find is the one they call the ‘bullet’ where you get a mythical two dollar win-place bet. You make one selection per race and they’re all mandatory races that are listed. Anywhere from, I’ve seen as little as a six race tournament and I’ve seen as much as twenty.
You get a two dollar win-place bet, and it’s usually capped. Different websites have different caps. Some have thirty-two dollar win, eighteen dollar place. Others will have a sixty-four dollar cap and that’s the most that you can make in the race.
That mythical 2 dollar win-place bet would be your score. The higher the score, the better you do.
Dave: Are they typically all one day or one night tournaments?
KevRoc: Yes most of the time. They just range over the course of one day. But you can also have multiple day tournaments. The Horse Players’ World Series one is a three day tournament.
Dave: Okay. So, I’ve had friends who played poker years ago, Hold Em’ for example. There used to be different levels, like different tables with different maximums. Is there a hierarchy like that in the tournaments?
KevRoc: Yes, very much so. You can find tournaments out there for as little as a dollar. You could also have a buyin up in the thousands. The range is definitely very wide.
Dave: Now obviously your money doesn’t go to purse money anymore, it no longer goes to the track. But do you think that will have a significant impact on the pools?
KevRoc: I think so. But I don’t think it’s all negative for the game. I think it’s good as well. It gets people involved. You get a new breed of player.
Like you say for poker, people that come from poker: they’ll start playing tournaments and that may lead into ‘Oh I’m going to start playing pick fours’ and they start getting into the game.
Dave: So, you see it as drawing people in.
Well, tell me about the competition though. The levels that you play at, there are levels below and levels above?
KevRoc: Yes. Absolutely. Just like in poker where you see, in the big tournaments, the same names all the time. It’s very similar in horse racing tournaments as well.
They’re not successful by accident. You do happen to see a lot of the same names up at the top. But like we said before, you can be very successful in the lower levels too.
Dave: And you said there are day time tournaments as well as night time?
KevRoc: Oh yeah. Just about every track that is out there you can find tournaments for.
There are even some sites out there that are starting ‘Create Your Own’ like in daily fantasy sports and how that’s become so popular. Where people can create their own tournaments in that. Same thing in racing.
That’s relatively new but I do see it out there. I mean, the sky is the limit. We really are in the early stages of this and I think this is breathing fresh air into the game.
Dave: Especially where we are struggling with higher take out. I’m assuming the way it works is you pay an entry fee, then there’s a purse distribution at the end that includes the people who are running the tournament taking a percentage off the top.
KevRoc: Absolutely. That is the same thing with poker tournaments.
When we used to play a lot of online poker, when you were picking your tournaments to go into, you look for overlays. You look for the guaranteed tournaments that are guaranteeing a prize pool and maybe they’re not making enough entries at the time. So you jump in and you’re actually getting the better of it.
But, generally speaking the takeout is usually around ten to fifteen percent that they scrape.
Dave: Oh that much? Of course it’s over a period of time and it isn’t compounded on a per race basis.
KevRoc: Right. For instance, a customary fifty-five dollar buyin, five player game, and it’s winner take all, and the winner takes two-fifty.
Dave: Wait a minute, are you saying that there are only five people that you’re competing against?
KevRoc: Yeah, five total. I happen to like the small pools. You could play with hundreds of people in a tournament or you could play heads up, you know, one on one. It really varies.
Dave: So it’s really like sitting down at a poker table?
Chapter 2 coming soon…
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-mutual 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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