Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NHC Tour: To Join or Not to Join

So I'm thinking of joining the 2009 NHC Tour.

I'm definitely intent on making it out to Vegas next January (heck, I have a blog dedicated to the quest), so the decision could appear to be a no-brainer. But as I've previously indicated, discretionary funds are not unlimited, so I want to carefully vet each dollar spent for what chance it gives me to qualify. In other words, if there's a $100 contest in my backyard that qualifies 3 of 100, sign me up; if there's a $400 contest across the country that qualifies 1 of 300, I'll pass.

It costs $125 to join the NHC Tour. As I see it, the primary benefit is the five online contests free to Tour members over the course of the year, which offer a total of nine spots to Vegas. The NTRA's Fritz Widaman told me there were about 800 or 900 (he said one or the other, I just forget which) in the Tour last year, and he expects 1,000 or so this year. So, $125 for a chance to be one of 9 qualifiers out of 1,000 isn't bad, as far as contest probabilities go.

Tour members also earn points based on contest placings, and it looks like the top six in the final standings also go to Vegas in 2010. I personally don't see much value to this qualifying route, though, as it clearly favors more regular players with deeper bankrolls. Final points are determined based on a player's top-five finishes, not just cumulative points, but still, you're much more likely to show a strong top five if you played in 30 contests rather than 10.

There's also a $2 million bonus awarded if the NHC winner is an NHC Tour member. This is kind of an abstract concept to someone who's scratching and clawing just to get in the tourney, let alone win it....but still, wouldn't that be a pisser if missed out on the two mil because I was too cheap to buck up $125?


  1. Terry,
    If you're intent on making the NHC Field, I think the $125 is money well spent just to participate in the five online contests.
    At Santa Anita, there is a contest twice/week ($40 entry: $10 buy in, $30 live money) on Fridays and Saturdays playing for $800 prizes ($500 1st, $200 2nd, $100 3rd) w/ 1st place each day earning a spot in the "finals" on April 18. The overall winner is the only one moving on to the NHC with final purse structure $5,000 - $2,000 - $500.
    Good luck whatever you decide. I'll keep watch.

  2. Terry,

    I just found your blog recently. Good luck. I tip my hat to handicapping contest types like yourself. It's foreign to me as a handicapper the process you go through and the speed that you're able to make your selections. As Chas in "Wedding Crashers" tells us, just live the dream.

    Good Luck.