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I got back last night from Vegas, and it was a weekend that I'll remember for awhile.
Landed on Thursday night, and there was a very nice tail reception for all of us degenerate gamblers in the Treasure Island ballroom.
On Friday, I couldn't hit the side of a barn. It seemed that every play I had was the wrong one. Especially early on Friday morning, when the leader already had $123 by 11am and I had bupkiss, I had worried that I already had no chance though I only had 1 play in the entire contest to that point. I kept plugging away, as none of my longshots did anything. I had a 10/1 in the 5th at Santa Anita on Friday that had the lead the entire race only to get beat a snot at the wire. At that point, I didn't think it was my day, as I was also almost out of optional bullets for the day. A couple others at the table I was at in the ballroom had the first 12/1 winner and the 14/1 Oaklawn mandatory race winners so they were right there in day 1, with totals around $100. I thought, at least somebody at my table is gonna win.
Friday night, I discovered the greatness that is craps. Had a hot shooter that went for 25 minutes, the table was making hundreds on every throw. The atmosphere was crazy at the table. The shooter probably made about a couple hundred in tips. It was unlike anything I've seen in a casino. Though on my first roll, my naive self didn't know the rules of craps and I tried switching hands to roll, and the pit boss yells at me and threatened to kick me off the table Lol. But it was a ton of fun and was my best experience in Vegas to that point.
I was on about 4 hours of sleep on Saturday. I hit my first two winners, a 4/1 in the first mandatory race at Guldstream and a 7/2 optional at Fair Grounds (that was 7/1 when I played him with 2 MTP) and that got me off to a solid start as chalk was winning all the races early in the day. I was running 8th for Day 2 until the first capped horse won a mandatory race at Guldstream and that changed the leaderboard dramatically. I was now down to 150th for the day and still in the low 200's in the overall, so I am just plugging away on my betting like I normally would and playing the contest became more secondary.
By the time the 6th race at Santa Anita came around, there were 3 other mandatory races left though I still had my best bet, and the biggest ML price that I liked to win was 6/1, but I had a feeling that a bomb would win the 6th at Santa Anita so I went shopping for a big price. There was a ton of speed signed on, so I was looking at the closers. I was looking at Jade With Envy, Qiaona, and Good Party as my three possible plays. Jade With Envy had gotten bet down off his Morning Line and was only 7/1 so that was not an option. Good Party was about 9/1, which was a more viable option, but Qiaona was 20/1 during my deliberation. So, I take a look at Qiaona and I see that she is 12/1 ML that was 20/1. And I remember one of the ways to win at the races is to look for 12/1 ML that goes off at double. I decided to take a chance and put the odds's on my side to make her the best bet, thinking that was my only chance of making a significant move up the leaderboard. At the windows, I bet Mark's Mine to win because just in case I interpreted the race completely wrong, I wanted a win bet on the main speed. My secondary bet was on Qiaona, and as the race was going, I thought I was absolutely dead with my contest horse and Mark's Mine had the lead turning for home, so I was cheering for Mark's Mine when they turned for home. But there's this flash on the outside, I find out it's the 9. I think she is coming too late, but the leaders absolutely stopped. I didn't think I was gonna get there until she actually crossed the wire. And when she did cross the wire in front, I let out a scream that the rest of the ballroom probably could have heard .
That instantly put me up to 25th for the entire contest ($118 in the contest on one shot), and I still had 3 mandatories and 3 optional bullets left. The way Qiaona won may have had me react too strongly. This was my biggest problem with the whole contest, not so much the horrid horses I picked Friday, is that I couldn't compose myself quickly enough to clearly plot the rest of the contest. My last 6 plays only produced $7 for the contest, so I am a little disappointed that I couldn't finish stronger after hitting that big bomb. I got lucky that longshots got nosed in Santa Anita's 9th and Golden Gate's 8th and that was a definite worry that I would finish out of the money. Those worries turned out not to be true with that 31st place finish.
Afterwards, there was an awesome awards dinner with great food where they honored the winner and gave out the checks. It was a great 3 course meal and considering that they were serving hundreds of people at once, it was a quality meal. I met Traveller and GeneralChallenge there, and though they didn't play the contest, they were still in town and we played in the casino on Saturday night. At the single deck blackjack table, there was a guy on the last seat that was splitting 10's all the time and I wanted to go after that guy. I figuratively go the second time he did it, "What the love are you doing?" as he repeatedly takes the dealers bust card. That is the worst feeling and why I am a little turned off to blackjack, you could do everything right, and have 1 scumbag be an idiot and ruin everyone else. I had to calm down as I had some liquid courage in me at the time. That was the most infuriating I was on the entire trip as the guy splitting the 10s NEVER won both hands.
Considering that I had 1 winner in 14 optional plays, finishing 31st was very acceptable, some may consider it ridiculous success for a 21 year old. This was also my first LIVE tournament, so I hope I have room to improve. If I qualify again next year, I will need much better strategy in picking optional races because what I did this year didn't work. That, plus coning my emotions better when I have a big hit in the tournament are the two most obvious things I could do to improve my score next time.
Also, I didn't read any articles about the NHC until afterwards, but there was some shoddy journalism as I saw a 23 year old mentioned and interviewed on the NTRA website as the youngest contestant in the contest. At 21 years, 7 months, I believe I was the youngest guy there. I wasn't looking for an interview, but clearly the NTRA didn't do their homework .
I would like to thank you all for your support during the contest, it meant a lot to have so many rooting for me, but I have to give a special shout out to Lester. His handicapping strategies of finding the 12/1 ML that goes off at double was instrumental in me not only getting to the tournament, but also in the NHC. I only wish I used more of his adviSe during the contest. Next time I'm at Santa Anita, Sanka and Carlton's are on me.
Certified non player
Very nice, TT.
Just one question.. what is a "degenerate" gambler? Is that anything like a detergent gambler?
Can one be a Degenerate gambler if they make Dream Wagers? Congrats TT on your ridiculous success I am very proud of you.
Mr. Super Bowl
Ye without sin, in, this, business, cast, the, first, stone.
Great wrap up. And I agree with you - not a huge fan of BlackJack or Slots.
21.7 years old ???????
Amazing what a Fake ID can do for you.
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
Avatar: My cuzin Isaac Murphy - a jock I'm tying to emulate in character and winning percentage - almost 47% lifetime.
Nice goin TTT!!! Way to kick a$$!!!! Very impressive!
Avatar = SACRED LIGHT
No , he is the real thing, he has a very bright head on his shoulders
Good report TT
Nice trip report and congrats with being in the money TT!
Great report Triple Tea Bagger.Looking back at the tourney will you change your strategy next time? Next time you decide to play BJ take a lap around the pit first. See how the person is playing at 3rd base. If you like what you see grab a seat.If not take another few laps to you feel confident in your 3rd baseman.If not do as FFC always does. Look for single or DD deck and wait till a 3rd base seat opens. I promise you your odds of winning will sky rocket.Lemme know when your coming back to SA.I'd like to buy you some champagne and would love to make a toast in your honor.
Excellent report TT, and your top finish makes us all proud. Now what you have to do is qualify for the Breeder's Cup tournament so you can tell us what happens to your emotions when you have $10K to push through the windows!
nice trip report. glad you had a great time.
a shout out to lester for educating you on the 12/1 ml angle.
looks like it really paid off.
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