Can Live Money Find a Home Online?


Can Live Money Find a Home Online?

By Dustin Haluska

While speaking with Michael Beychok this past August in the carousel at Saratoga, he told me something that I didn’t expect to hear.

One day removed from a second-place finish in the Battle of Saratoga, a live money tournament, Beychok told me, “I am so excited because live money tournaments aren’t my thing…I’m a $1 exacta box, $1 trifecta kind of player.”

This coming from a guy that won a million dollars by taking down the National Handicapping Championship?

It didn’t take me long to connect the dots and believe that Beychok’s message was truly authentic.

For one, he didn’t win a million dollars betting live cash as the NHC uses the bullet play format.

Second, the big score hasn’t changed Beychok much. He didn’t simply wake up the next morning after winning the NHC and start sending in $1,000 win bets on his top selections.

I then pitted “live money” vs. “bullet play” in my head.

Currently, online tournament sites utilize $2 win-place format also known as “bullet play” in each race to determine scores.

On the flip side, the majority of live tournaments across the country use the “live money” format where a player can risk his entire bankroll on one horse and possibly clinch a tournament win.

Longshot Ria Antonia proved key to the 2013 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge, a live-money game. (Photo: Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders' Cup Photos)
Longshot Ria Antonia proved key to the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge, a live-money game. (Photo: Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders’ Cup Photos)

In online tournaments that isn’t possible. One longshot cap horse isn’t going to win a high stakes game alone.

So how would outcomes be different for some tournament players if they were able to make their stronger opinions stand out in a contest?

And, what if there was some level of protection from stabs that take place late in live tournaments as well as online bullet play contests.

I feel that I have spent most of my years handicapping as being a selective (spot player).

On most days I struggle through 10 of the 13 races that are included in a high stakes online tournament. Those 10 races would be passes for me if I was betting cash, but I am forced to make a selection.

TTE handicapper Robert Felty would echo that rationale and he actually turned my blind eye to it.

I often think about an online tournament where I can sit with a $100 bankroll and divide it among the horses I really like. Maybe I am given two free passes for the races I don’t like.

Maybe I am dreaming out loud.

Or it could be possible that other contest players in my inner circle feel the same way.

If contest players are given an opportunity to utilize their strengths instead of being taken out of their element, they will find more success.

It’s only a matter of time until they find it!