Tim Anderson of Columbus, Ohio, came out on top in the 25-Seat Guarantee online tournament presented by TwinSpires.com on November 21, earning a first prize of $10,000 and a spot in the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship XI (NHC), which will be held January 29-30 at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
In addition to various cash prizes, the second- through 15th-place finishers in the 25-Seat Guarantee earned an entry into the NHC, while the 16th- through 25th-place finishers qualified for the Horseplayer World Series, which is expected to be held February 17 at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas.
With a $300 entry fee and entries limited to two per person, the 25-Seat Guarantee attracted 560 entries. Contestants were given a mythical bankroll of $48 and were required to make mythical $2 Win/Place bets on 12 mandatory races. Mutuel payoffs were capped at $52 for Win and $26 for Place, and the player with the highest accumulated bankroll was deemed the winner. Anderson ended the contest with a bankroll of $131.70, winning by a margin of $8.80.
The next three finishers were separated by a margin of $3.10. Derek Isenberg of New Haven, Connecticut, was second with $122.90. Chris Parkinsom of Forest Hill, Maryland, finished with $121, while Sam Decicco of Kingston, New York, had a final bankroll of $119.80.
Isenberg, who earned his first ever berth into the NHC, said he has been playing the horses for 14 years and has participated in handicapping tournaments for five years.
"This contest was more difficult because there were mandatory races whereas in other tournaments I’ve participated in you’ve been allowed to choose your own races," Isenberg said. "I had to mix up both favorites and longshots when normally I wouldn’t use favorites.
"I’ve been using BRIS products for about 2 1/2 years, since I opened my TwinSpires.com account," Isenberg added. "I like to use the race shape boxes at the top of the past performances in particular to see how horses have run at the distance."
Stanley Bavlish, who won the NHC in 2007, finished 19th. A resident of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Bavlish has been a BRIS member since 1988.
"I think TwinSpires does a great job both overall and with the tournaments," Bavlish said. "The contest card was a very good selection of races. Bang for the buck, the ability to play for 25 spots to Vegas from the comfort of your home can not be beat."