We’ve all been there. It’s the middle leg of a tournament online, things are going well and then the dreaded knock on the door. It’s the chatty neighbor returning a shovel or the UPS driver dropping off a package. You spend a minute or two exchanging pleasantries and then your heart completely stops. You say goodbye and run back into the house like American Pharoah but it’s a second too late. The clock has run down on the next leg of your contest. You totally forgot to choose your long shot. The horse wins, three players picked it, your day is done and once again money wasted. You can blame the neighbor or the UPS driver but ultimately it’s your fault. You were, what I call “distracta-capping.”

Plain and simple, playing distracted leads to disaster. There are some simple steps we can take to avoid throwing away money in online play. The first one is the most obvious, make all your picks ahead of time. Whether you have completely handicapped the card or not, fill it all in. You can always go back and change the picks once you have finished your handicapping. At least this method guarantees you have a chance to score points if the neighbor returns another shovel.

If you know you are going to be at work, a party or involved in something other than the tournament, look for those “Pick and Pray” or Lockdown games that the online sites provide. These are games in which all contestants are forced to make all their picks ahead of time and no changes can be made. These games are custom made for “distracta-cappers.”

A final step you can take is to find a quiet room or just stay away from the heavy traffic area of the house. My house is so busy with a wife, four boys, cats and dogs that even hiding in my “horse room” under lock and key seems not enough protection. The bottom line is that you need to find a comfortable place to reside for a few hours otherwise your profit margin will be smaller than your winning percentage.

Online contests provide great entertainment and a terrific way to enjoy horse racing. But unless you are playing in free contests they come with a cost. So take your time, prepare your card and most of all stay focused during the tournament. Trust me: you will enjoy winning more than losing.

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Dr. Anthony Trezza
Contest Strategy Expert / Multi-site High Stakes Winner twitter.com/Youare2020 Anthony Trezza is considered a top strategist by many of his peers, and takes pride in studying and getting to know his opponents well. He has won many of the major online high stakes games at multiple sites, including the 2015 Head to Head Championship at DerbyWars.