Building Relationships and Friendships at Contests


Building Relationships and Friendships at Contests

By Dustin Haluska

I have written close to two dozen stories on winning contest players since January.

Each time, I learned something more about the player than just simply game strategy.

Contest players from all over the country have shared stories with me that range from how they got involved with following horses to what they have done professionally in their careers.

I have enjoyed it tremendously, but the most rewarding thing that I feel my blogs have accomplished is friendship.

I have attended several live tournaments at various race tracks this year from Saratoga to Monmouth to Laurel.

I have lost money at nearly all of them, but have gained a friend at each tournament.

It’s allowed me to put faces with names of contest players that I have interviewed over the phone.

Writing contest blogs also led me to join the great team at TTE.

Anthony Trezza and Dustin Haluska at the Monmouth NHC Qualifier.
Anthony Trezza and Dustin Haluska at the Monmouth NHC Qualifier.

While interviewing TTE co-founder Anthony Trezza following another one of his 20K wins on DerbyWars, I learned about team he was building.

I began following Anthony on Twitter and really admired how TTE was dedicating its resources to helping contest players across the country.

So I begged him to join the team.

Well, I didn’t exactly beg, but I figured that I shared a lot of the same passion for contests that he and his team did.

Now, I’ve gained nearly 10 colleagues on TTE that I can also consider friends. We talk in a daily Twitter chat and support each other during tournaments.

It’s hard to find that type of teamwork out there. Especially since everyone is essentially competing against each other to win money.

What I have found out in the contest world is that everyone accepts the fact that they aren’t going to win every tournament.

Heck, major contest wins are months if you are lucky and sometimes a year or two between each other.

Players have embraced that fact and I think it’s one of the reasons that they can support one another on any given day.

When I found myself with a busted bankroll at a live tournament, I still find interest in watching the leaderboard because chances are that someone you met a long the way is in position for a big score.

I have seen those same contest players being busted at the end of the tournament too.

As contest players we commit ourselves to a tour that is bigger than the NHC or the weekly online cash games.

It’s a long list of tournaments that sometimes takes us away from our families and children on weekends. Maybe even our pets for those dog lovers out there like TTE’s Barbara Bowley.

But it unites us with a group of people that share the same passion which often leads to friendship and opportunity.