Handicappers’ Tour Offers Increased Purse of 25% in 2015

nhc, nhc 2013, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, NTRA NHC 2015 eventThe 2015 NHC Tour officially kicks off Monday, Jan. 26, and continues through Dec. 31, 2015.   Overall prize money for the Tour has been increased 25 percent to $250,000 total.

The most significant change in the NHC Tour rules is a new bonus available to players who finish in the money on the 2015 Tour. The top 20 Tour finishers will be eligible for an additional $25,000 that will be awarded to the person among that group who finishes highest at the 2016 National Handicapping Championship (NHC). This individual also will earn a berth in the 2017 NHC.

“We hope this will motivate participation and play,” Chamblin said, “and we like the idea that more players will be eligible to qualify for an end-of-the-season competition. While it’s not incredibly lucrative, $25,000 isn’t chump change.”

The overall top Tour finisher will also receive an automatic entry into the 2017 NHC. “This is the first time in a number of years we’ve done this,” Chamblin said, “But it seems like a fair reward for such a difficult achievement.”

To participate in the NHC, one must purchase a $50 Tour membership. As was the case this year on the Tour, the top 150 Tour points leaders will be guaranteed entry into the 2016 NHC, where the overall, season-ending NHC Tour points leader will be eligible for a $2 million bonus should he or she capture the 2016 NHC.

A tentative schedule of 2015 NHC qualifying events will be released very soon. Tour Registration is already open. 

FREE Online Tournament to follow Championship Event

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that it will host a free, online handicapping contest at ntra.com that will allow fans to follow along with the action at next week’s $1.6 million Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) at Treasure Island Las Vegas. In its 13th year, the National Handicapping Championship is the most important tournament of the year for horseplayers.

The one-day “Play Along With the Pros” contest will offer a $1,000 prize pool to the top five finishers plus free 2012 NHC Tour memberships to the top 20 finishers. There is a limit of one entry per person. “Play Along With the Pros” will take place on Saturday, January 28, which is the second and final day of the NHC. Contestants must make mythical $2 win and place wagers on eight designated mandatory races. The eight races selected will be same as those chosen for mandatory play on Day 2 at the NHC. For more information, visit http://games.ntra.com.

Prize Structure for “Play Along With the Pros” contest:

$1,000 pool

1st: $500


3rd: $150

4th: $100

5th: $50

“’Play Along With the Pros’ is designed to expose the NHC to players who may not be familiar with the excitement of tournament play,” said Keith Chamblin, senior vice president of the NTRA. “It also gives fans the chance to see how they stack up with some of the outstanding handicappers battling for the $1 million grand prize at Treasure Island.”

The NHC Tour is a yearlong bonus series offering additional prize money and qualifying berths to the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. Tour members receive NHC Tour points for top finishes in NHC qualifying events held during the year. Registration for the 2012 NHC Tour will begin shortly.

Finishing 10th on the 2011 NHC Tour Leaderboard

Rich Nilsen, founder of AGameofSkill.com, finished the year in 10th place overall on the NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) Tour leaderboard, based on 9,075 points. Designed to create added interest in handicapping tournaments throughout the year, the Tour is based on players’ best five finishes in contests. Tour membership costs $45/year from the NTRA, and this also gives players access to some free online tournaments during the course of the year.

Paul Shurman, an attorney from New York, accumulated over 13,000 points which earned him the title of the NHC Tour Champion. For his win Shurman earned the $75,000 grand prize. He is now eligible for a $2 million bonus as the Tour champ if he goes on to win the NHC at the end of the month.

“Winning the NHC Tour is certainly the highlight of my handicapping career,” said Shurman. “Many of the most respected handicappers in North America are Tour members and compete for the Tour championship.  It is very gratifying to know I can be competitive with some of the best and that on this occasion, I was fortunate enough to come out on top. Playing in handicapping tournaments and on the Tour has not only helped me hone my handicapping skills, but most importantly, has led to many friendships that I believe will last a lifetime.”

In past years Shurman and Nilsen were part of a 3-player expert panel that managed the Players’ Pool syndicate, a group wagering fund that would go after large Pick-6 carryovers.



“A Game of Skill” wins NHC Qualifier at DerbyWars.com

Derby Wars contest

Highly recommended contest website

So, I got in the DerbyWars.com tournament that I had been telling visitors about over the past couple of weeks. At only $25 per entry, and with the site paying out more than they were taking in, it was a great value this past Friday to play. Well, through the first 6 races of the 12 mandatory events, I was tied for dead last. My score was easily to calculate. I had zero. That’s when I went on a tear, scoring with 4 nice winners in the second half of the contest, including a big-priced winner in a turf sprint at Keeneland. I moved into first place with one race to go, a claiming race at Keeneland that ended up being won by the obvious choice and favorite. The standings up top did not change and I had held on to defeat 206 other players.

Since I am already qualified for the “Big Dance” – the $2 million National Handicapping Championship (NHC) – the main prize was given to the 2nd place finisher, some guy with the handle “Frank S.” However, in addition to the $115 cash prize I won, I earned 3,000 NHC Tour Points.  What’s that? Players who pay a $45 annual fee not only get to play in some free online contests hosted by the NTRA, but they get to compete on the “Tour.” The Tour points for the year are calculated by taking the 5 best finishes by contest players during the year.

I now have finishes of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th in 2011, which gives me over 9,000 Tour points, good enough for 8th place overall on the Tour.  The overall Tour winner gets $75,000 cash and the Tour pays out to the top five. Thanks to my win in the $25 DerbyWars.com tournament, I am now in position to possibly get in the top five. If there are more opportunities like this at DerbyWars, I will be in them.

Rich Nilsen