Player’s Diary–The BIG One at Laurel

By John Gaspar

(John Gaspar was one of 56 contestants at the 2017 renewal of The BIG One at Laurel Park. Shortly after the competition, Gaspar wrote a lengthy recap of his experiences and thought processes during his three days in Maryland. We thought veteran players might enjoy another player’s perspective–and that those unfamiliar with contest play might find it interesting to follow along with John through the great many decisions he was faced with over the two-day contest. What follows is John’s unabridged, 8,000+ word take on The BIG One.)

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Two Guaranteed Winners Each Week Now in Qualifiers for The BIG One

As we kick summer into full gear, so must we kick qualifying for The BIG One into full gear. Starting this Sunday, June 18, each HorseTourneys qualifier will offer two guaranteed, all-inclusive packages to The BIG One, rather than one.

As The BIG One devotees know, the September 23-24 extravaganza at Laurel Park is limited to no more than 57 entries—50 from HorseTourneys qualifiers, two from onsite qualifiers at Laurel, and potentially up to five buy-in entries (at $9,000 each). This relatively low number of entrants is significant given that a whopping 28 seats to major onsite tournaments are part of the prize pool. These 28 seats are comprised of:

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HorseTourneys to Offer $500,000 Lump Sum Bonus Tying 2017 The BIG One to 2018 NHC

The BIG One just got bigger.

HorseTourneys announced today that it will pay a $500,000 bonus to the winner of the 2017 The BIG One should that player go on to finish first in the 2018 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Presented by RTN, Stats Race Lens and Treasure Island. And we’re not talking about an annuity. The bonus would be paid in a lump sum of $500,000.

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Why The Big One is Big

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The Big One, to be held at Laurel on Sept. 24-25, isn’t the only tournament around offering BCBC spots, NHC seats, HPWS seats and cash. But you certainly won’t find another tournament that offers all of the above while limiting the field to no more than 57 entries. That’s why we call it “The High-Expectation Tournament”; when players walk into the Carriage Room at Laurel, they know they have an excellent chance to walk away with something meaningful.

And we’re not talking about a couple of seats to the BCBC and NHC. Last year, The Big One awarded the top 5 finishers entries to BOTH the BCBC and NHC, plus another five got NHC seats (finishers 6-10), and the next 10 (11-20) won HPWS entries. And more than $197,000 in cash went to the top 10 in the standings.

This year we hope to stick to roughly the same prize schedule, except that the goal is to give away eight BCBC seats instead of five — all while still holding participation to no more than 57 entries. If you are into tournaments for which the pay line is very deep, The Big One is where you want to be on the last weekend in September.

Of course, a The Big One package, available only at HorseTourneys or at select Laurel Park qualifiers, is much more than a $1,000 bankroll, a pat on the back and a wish of good luck. It includes a three-night hotel stay in addition to $500 in travel expenses. A welcome dinner and cocktail reception on the night of September 23 are also included, as is open bar and buffet on both days of the tournament. If you go home from The Big One without a BCBC, NHC or HPWS seat, you can chalk it up to bad luck, we suppose. But if you go home without being well fed, it’s all your fault!

NEW FOR 2016: In prior years, The Big One was a mythical-money tournament, but this year, based on player feedback, it will be a live-bankroll competition with a total starting bankroll of $1,000. Ten plays of at least $50 each must be made each day, with win, place and exacta wagering available. Each day, five plays must be made on designated mandatory races, with five others being optional, “player’s choice” plays.

SAME (ODDLY) AS IN 2015: As was the case in the dog days of last summer, participation levels in The Big One qualifiers have dipped in recent weeks compared to earlier- and later-in-the-year levels. These declines — if they continue — could ultimately have an adverse affect on final prize levels, but they also represent an absolutely terrific opportunity to qualify at HorseTourneys.com, where competitions typically carry two guaranteed packages regardless of the number of entries. There were 29 contestants each of the last two weeks, so contestants had approximately an 8% chance of qualifying for a tourney that would award major tourney seats to more than one-third of all participants. Sure beats buying lottery tickets!

The bad news is that there are only 18 spots left for which players may qualify online. So time’s a wastin’. The next direct qualifier is Sunday, July 24. We’ll also have a “Round 2” direct feeder the day before…plus low-cost feeders to both all week long.

Whether you are already qualified to The Big One or still hope to do so, you can stay on top of current qualifiers, weekly participation levels and the latest purse status by clicking on the special link located on The Big One graphic, which rotates constantly at the top of our home page marquee. Here’s just part of what you will find there:

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These pages are filled with Big One information and are updated each and every week so players know exactly where they stand, and the tournament stands, as the year progresses. Our current projected cash purse sits at $128,000, pending subsequent qualifier participation levels.

Transparency is very important to all of us here at HorseTourneys in everything we do. If you have any questions about The Big One — or anything else — send us an email at support@horsetourneys.com and we’ll do our best to answer it as quickly as possible.

The BIG One at Laurel Scheduled for September 26-27, 2015

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-Top Five (5) Win $10,000 Entry to Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (November, 2015)-Top TEN (10) Win Full Package to Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) (January, 2016)
-Places 11th through 20th win $1,000 Entry to Horse Player World Series (March, 2016) OR $1,000 Cash

Note that any DUAL QUALIFIERS to the NHC that finish in an NHC qualifying position will receive an additional $5,000 CASH prize in lieu of the NHC package. Note that all 10 NHC packages must be awarded, therefore the $5,000 prize comes at HorseTourneys risk/expense and is designed to provide compensation for dual qualifiers.

Purse and number of NHC and BCBC packages awarded to be adjusted based on final total number of entries and depending on volume through pre-qualifying events at HorseTourneys.com. Total purse may exceed $225,000 should all pre-qualifying contests sell-out at full qualifying parameters and additional buy-in entries are purchased.

WHAT
“The BIG One” at Laurel Park, an on-track handicapping contest with qualifying packages available exclusively through HorseTourneys.com.

WHEN
September 26-27, 2015. Two-day contest. Registration on Friday, September 25 and morning of Saturday, September 26.

WHERE
Laurel Park in Laurel, MD (outside Baltimore)

PRIZES
Estimated purse of $200,000 to $225,000 based on 50 fully sold entries (purse contributions will vary according to participation levels in qualifying events). Purse and purse distribution adjusted based on total number of entries at the discretion of tournament officials. Based on estimated purse of $200,000, expected prize levels:

Estimated prize distribution based on $200,000 purse. Note that these are DIRECTIONAL payouts only–final prizes and prize distribution to be determined by tournament officials once final purse number is determined.

Grand Prize: $80,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

2nd Place: $40,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

3rd Place: $20,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

4th Place: $15,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

5th Place: $10,000 +$10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

6th Place: $9,000 + NHC Package

7th Place: $8,000 + NHC Package

8th Place: $7,000 + NHC Package

9th Place: $6,000 + NHC Package

10th Place: $5,000 + NHC Package

11th thru 20th Place:HPWS Entry or $1,000 Cash

BCBC Entry: $10,000 full entry into the November 2015 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (Bankroll + Entry Fee) (one BCBC entry per 10 entries participating)

NHC Package: Seat to 2016 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (held in January, 2016) PLUS $500 travel reimbursement and complimentary 4-night hotel stay at NHC venue. NHC Packages awarded will be adjusted based on the total number of entries participating (one NHC package awarded per 5 entries participating).

HORSETOURNEYS.COM PACKAGES
Qualifying packages to “The BIG One” at Laurel Park available through HorseTourneys.com will be all-inclusive, including the seat to “The BIG One” at Laurel Park and purse contribution; $500 in travel reimbursement provided upon winning a qualifying package and complimentary 3-night hotel stay near Baltimore/Laurel area at a selected hotel venue.

Total value of package = $8,825 USD

CONTEST HOSPITALITY
Buffet and Open Bar throughout the duration of the contest. Cocktail/Dinner reception on Friday, Sept. 25 at selected venue, including dinner and Open Bar.

MAXIMUM ENTRIES
There will be a maximum of 57 entries allowed in “The BIG One” at Laurel Park. 50 of those entries will be made available exclusively for qualification at http://www.HorseTourneys.com. Five (5) entries will be made available on a buy-in lottery basis for $8,500 each. A total of (2) spots will be allocated to Laurel Park for pre-event on-site qualifiers. A player may play only one entry per person in “The BIG One,” however, players may continue to participate in qualifiers in their own name and transfer any additional packages won to another player, who must be present at the event.

FORMAT
Mythical contest format based on the expected conditions at the NHC Finals. $2 Win/Place wagers made on one horse per race. 30 total races (15 each day). 8 of the 15 races each day will be mandatory plays on races determined by tournament officials. The remaining 7 plays each day will be optional plays on racetracks selected by tournament officials. Payout caps of $42 to Win (20-1), $22 to Place (10-1).

HOW TO QUALIFY
Qualifying contests to “The BIG One” at Laurel Park will begin in January, 2015, and proceed through the week prior to the event. Go to http://www.HorseTourneys.com to check the upcoming schedule of qualifiers. The majority of qualifying contests at HorseTourneys.com will carry entry fees of $395, awarding one “The BIG One” package per 30 entries participating. Consolation prizes may be offered in some qualifiers.

BUY-IN ENTRIES
A minimum of five (5) buy-in entries will be made available to “The BIG One” at $8,000 each. If there are more buy-in requests than there are buy-in entries available, first preference will be given to those players that have participated in the most qualifiers to “The BIG One,” if applicable, in the order of number of entries played in qualifying events at HorseTourneys. Any remaining requests will be settled on a lottery basis. A $500 deposit will be required, refundable to those not winning a lottery selection and non-refundable to those winning lottery selection, if applicable. The number of buy-in entries and costs of those entries may be adjusted by tournament officials based on number of entries qualified to the event, including elimination of the buy-in option. To make arrangements to secure a buy-in entry, please email McKay Smith at support@horsetourneys.com for instructions.

QUESTIONS
Questions should be directed to McKay Smith, Operator/Tournament Director at HorseTourneys.com. Email: support@horsetourneys.com

Shawn “Spike” Turner takes “The BIG One” at Laurel; Johnson 2nd, Podratz 3rd

Longtime tournament horseplayer Shawn “Spike” Turner of Middletown, Maryland, took “The BIG One”, held at Laurel Park Oct 11-12.  Turner turned a single $25 feeder entry into a qualiifer into a haul of $70,500 in grand prize money plus a Breeders’ Cup Challenge and NHC berth.  Gary Johnson of Massillon, Ohio, was second, with Michelle Podratz of Santa Clarita, California, third.

Total prize money was $175,000, with the top five winners earning coveted seats to both the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge and NHC.  Finishers 6th thru 15th earned seats to the Horse Player World Series.  In total, nearly $300,000 in cash, prizes and amenities were awarded at this year’s event.

CLICK HERE FOR FULL FINAL STANDINGS

CLICK HERE FOR FINAL PRIZE LISTINGS

The BIG One is Back – in Baltimore! Oct 11-12 at Laurel Park, $200,000+ Estimated Purse, BCBC, NHC, HPWS Seats

 

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated Purse of $200,000 to $225,000*

PLUS

Top Five (5) Win $10,000 Entry to Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (November, 2014)

Top Five (5) Win Full Package to Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) (January, 2015)

Places 6th through 15th win $1,000 Entry to Horse Player World Series (March, 2015)

*Based on 50 entries. Purse and number of NHC packages awarded to be adjusted based on final total number of entries and depending on volume through pre-qualifying events at HorseTourneys.com. Total purse may exceed $225,000 should all pre-qualifying contests sell-out at full qualifying parameters and additional buy-in entries are purchased.

WHAT
“The BIG One” at Laurel Park, an on-track handicapping contest with qualifying packages availabile exclively through HorseTourneys.com.

WHEN
October 11-12, 2014. Two-day contest. Registration on Friday, October 10 and morning of Saturday, October 11.

WHERE
Laurel Park in Laurel, MD (outside Baltimore)

PRIZES
Estimated purse of $200,000 to $225,000 based on 50 fully sold entries (purse contributions will vary according to participation levels in qualifying events). Purse and purse distribution adjusted based on total number of entries at the discretion of tournament officials. Based on estimated purse of $200,000, expected prize levels:

Estimated prize distribution based on $200,000 purse. Note that these are DIRECTIONAL payouts only–final prizes and prize distribution to be determined by tournament officials once final purse number is determined.

Grand Prize: $80,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

2nd Place: $40,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

3rd Place: $20,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

4th Place: $15,000 + $10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

5th Place: $10,000 +$10,000 BCBC Entry AND NHC Package

6th Place: $9,000 + HPWS Entry ($1,000)
7th Place: $8,000 + HPWS Entry ($1,000)
8th Place: $7,000 + HPWS Entry ($1,000)
9th Place: $6,000 + HPWS Entry ($1,000)
10th Place: $5,000 + HPWS Entry ($1,000)
11th thru 15th Place: HPWS Entry ($1,000)

BCBC Entry: $10,000 full entry into the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (Bankroll + Entry Fee) (one BCBC entry per 10 entries participating)

NHC Package: Seat to 2015 Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (held in January, 2015) PLUS $500 travel reimbursement and complimentary 4-night hotel stay at NHC venue. NHC Packages awarded will be adjusted based on the total number of entries participating (one NHC package awarded per 10 entries participating).

HORSETOURNEYS.COM PACKAGES
Qualifying packages to “The BIG One” at Laurel Park available through HorseTourneys.com will be all-inclusive, including the seat to “The BIG One” at Laurel Park and purse contribution; $500 in travel reimbursement provided upon registration; complimentary 3-night hotel stay near Baltimore/Laurel area at a selected hotel venue and pro-rated NHC seat and NHC hotel/travel.

Total value of package = $7,750 USD

CONTEST HOSPITALITY
Buffet and Open Bar throughout the duration of the contest. Cockatil/Dinner reception on Friday, Oct. 10 at selected venue, including dinner and Open Bar.

MAXIMUM ENTRIES
There will be a maximum of 57 entries allowed in “The BIG One” at Laurel Park. 50 of those entries will be made available exclusively for qualification at http://www.HorseTourneys.com. Five (5) entries will be made available on a buy-in lottery basis for $8,500 each. A total of (2) spots will be allocated to Laurel Park for pre-event on-site qualifiers. A player may play only one entry per person in “The BIG One”.

FORMAT
Mythical contest format based on the expected conditions at the NHC Finals. $2 Win/Place wagers made on one horse per race. 30 total races (15 each day). 8 of the 15 races each day will be mandatory plays on races determined by tournament officials. The remaining 7 plays each day will be optional plays on racetracks selected by tournment officials. Payout caps of $42 to Win (20-1), $22 to Place (10-1).

HOW TO QUALIFY
Qualifying contests to “The BIG One” at Laurel Park will begin in February, 2014, and proceed through the end of September. Go to http://www.HorseTourneys.com to check the upcoming schedule of qualifiers. Entry fees for the majority of qualifiying contests at HorseTourneys.com will carry entry fees of $225, awarding one “The BIG One” package per 45 entries participating. Consolation site credit prizes will be offered in most qualifiers.

BUY-IN ENTRIES
A minimum of five (5) buy-in entries will be made available to “The BIG One” at $8,500 each. If there are more buy-in requests than there are buy-in entries available, first preference will be given to those players that have participated in the most qualifiers to “The BIG One,” if applicable, in the order of number of entries played in qualifying events at HorseTourneys. Any remaining requests will be settled on a lottery basis. A $500 deposit will be required, refundable to those not winning a lottery selection and non-refundable to those winning lottery selection, if applicable. The number of buy-in entries and costs of those entries may be adjusted by tournament officials based on number of entries qualified to the event, including elimination of the buy-in option. To make arrangements to secure a buy-in entry, please email McKay Smith at support@horsetourneys.com for instructions.

QUESTIONS
Questions should be directed to McKay Smith, Operator/Tournament Director at HorseTourneys.com. Email: support@horsetourneys.com