This is the transcript, Chapter 4 of 4, for the Pace Makes the Race Podcast: Tournament Talk with KevRoc.
Dave Schwartz interviews Kevin Perau, discussing More Tips YOU can use for Tournament Handicapping in this chapter!
Dave: So you use preconceived objects, but do you also do any dynamic handicapping? Tournaments might sometimes be mountaineer, do you look at a particular distance?
KevRoc: All my handicapping now is what we use with the dynamic. I’ve been going back and forth with static objects. I’m using mostly all dynamic stuff now.
The filters are set up for, depending on the track of course because you have your Delta and your Charlestown with the small tracks, but generally speaking everything I look at is within a half a furlong. So if it’s a mile long race I’ll be looking at anything between seven and a half to eight and a half to narrow that part down.
Dave: Would you say pace is a big part of your handicapping?
KevRoc: Yes. I would say so. That’s why I think that a lot of my game is hard to play when I’m not at the computer. I can’t do it the night before. Late scratches could kill the pace. I could make selections beforehand and then I’m dead because I have to re-handicap the whole race.
Dave: Before we move on, let me ask you this. When you look at tournament play, do you see the kind of potential for making significant money in tournament play?
KevRoc: Oh absolutely. Not only in big ones, that’s the obvious one. What did the NHC winner just win just past January? Eight hundred thousand?
Dave: Well obviously in the big tournaments. I’ve had a couple of clients that have hit the Breeders Cup challenge.
What I mean in terms of day to day play, do you see that as having potential for you eventually. Maybe not today, or even this year, but do you see that as having potential for making a significant income?
KevRoc: Yes, I do. I see a lot of growth in the industry too. So, there will be a lot of different places to play and a lot of different games to play. You’ll be able to grind it out similar to how you would grind it out in pari-mutuel betting. It can also be used to augment your game.
You could be in a situation where you really have equity inside that tournament. Where you can make “hedges”. You can make pari-mutuel plays in conjunction with the tournament that you’re already in. That just adds to the value.
Dave: Do you do that currently?
KevRoc: Sure. Yeah I do.
Like I said, most of the wagering dollar goes to the tournament. Sometimes you have such an equity edge that you’d be siphoning money if you didn’t.
Dave: You know, one of my long time coaching clients is a guy who, probably five years ago, lost a tournament in Las Vegas by twenty cents. He finished in second.
He still collected. It must have been one of the bigger tournaments because I believe second prize was twenty thousand or thirty thousand dollars. He finished second by twenty cents because the guy that won the tournament played a long shot in the last race.
He went up to bet one hundred dollars on it. He got shut out at the window. Had his bet gone in, Steve would have won the tournament because the total return would have been slightly smaller.
I guess where I’m really going with this is, I’m not a guy who chases the big tournaments. I would have no interest in that, but I like the idea of day to day play.
So, my question is, do you have barn burners like that?
KevRoc: Sure. That’s just like the guy who plays online poker for a living, and plays multiple tournaments at a time. They run into these gut wrenching scenarios where, yeah in a vacuum it kills you.
But you’re doing so many and you know you’re getting the best of it because you know you’re a good player, that’s variance. You have to chalk it up to variance.
In a big tournament like that, no. On the day to day ones, mid level, you play a whole bunch of them and you can just chalk it up. There will be plenty of times that you beat those out too, but we tend to remember the ones we get beat on.
Dave: That brings up an interesting point. Do you play multiple tournaments at the same time?
Dave: Do you bet the same horses across multiple tournaments?
KevRoc: Yes, but I wish I had the courage in my convictions like some of the big players do. You may have these big guys like, Eric Moomey, and Tony Kite, and some of these big tournament guys. I watched them when they play and I’ve seen them take twenty five to one shots, spread them across multiple tournaments. That takes guts. That really does take guts.
A lot of times what I will do when I’m playing multiple tournaments is, and it depends on the type of tournament because a lockdown is a lockdown I can’t change the pick. If I’m in multiple live ones, many times I’ll take different horses.
You’ll catch a couple winners on one tournament, and then you’ll start to move up the leaderboard. You know you have a shot at taking it down. Yet in one of the other tournaments where you’re missing, you’ll start to play long shots in that one and the other one becomes your focus.
Dave: This may sound a little crazy but do you find there is a par level for what it takes to win a tournament?
KevRoc: Par as far as what?
Dave: How much money you’re going to have to get back or your score. Is there a final score that is going to be necessary? Do you project that in a given tournament?
KevRoc: I guess you could say yes but I don’t actively do it. When you’re handicapping you can see where “okay, there’s a few wide open races here, a high score is going to have to take this one down.” but I don’t nail it down to a price every time.
Also, with the different type of tournaments there are there, you have some that are win-place, some that are win-place & show where you have scores for show too. That’s a little nuance, you don’t want to be taking too much chalk in those.
The prices are really overvalued in that one, because you’re also getting the show price. So, if you’re going to catch up to somebody who catches a long shot by grinding out favorites it’s a little harder.
Dave: You mentioned a couple of the big name players. Do you think it is actually worthwhile to study the successful players? When I say study them I mean to actually watch tournaments for who they pick?
KevRoc: Yes and that’s the beauty of what I discovered with one of the sites. HorseTourneys, the one I said has a lot of qualifiers. They have a format called Pick and Pray. Basically you make all your picks beforehand, but on their site they show you all of the picks once the first race begins.
It’s all displayed on the screen, so you can look at it and get an idea. You could just base it off of morning line and see where they’re going, which races they’re going for long shots in, if they’re just throwing long shots right in the beginning. You can really get a feel for people’s strategy that way. I think it is worth looking at to see how the successful people do it.
Dave: I’ve never thought of it before but it is a source of finding good handicapping, I wouldn’t say materials, but you can see a player’s losing picks as well as winning picks.
And that’s a wrap for this transcript! We hope you enjoyed seeing the interview with KevRoc!
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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