At HorseTourneys, You’ll Always Know Where You Stand

The three Cs of buying an engagement ring are cut, color and clarity. For contest operations, HorseTourneys has three Cs as well: clarity, clarity and clarity.

Imagine paying money to play a game in which the rules are unclear. A game in which you are not told whether you must finish first to win, or if second-place is also good enough to win an equally good prize. Such information can be crucial in determining one’s contest strategy, especially in the latter stages of a live-format tourney. And even in a Pick & Pray game, where such strategy isn’t really a factor, the frustration and anxiety associated with not knowing if you are in the money or out of the money can be maddening.

This won’t happen at HorseTourneys. Once a tourney begins, one of our very first priorities is to display that little green box in the upper right of the contest page that shows the number of prizes available, along with any breakage returns that might be in play. The boxes can look like this for a cash game:

Or like this for a direct qualifier:

Sometimes the number of entries for a direct qualifier is such that one might wonder whether one prize or two prizes will be offered. We, ourselves, can never be certain of prize offerings until entries close, of course (unless it’s a guaranteed tourney). But once they do close, we use the green box to make this clear at the very outset of the competition. An example of this took place in last Sunday’s Wynn Handicapping Challenge qualifier:

The rules of the Wynn qualifier had specified that there would be one winner per each 20 entries with a minimum of 17 entries (at $116 each) required for the contest to take place. With 38 entries enrolled, the contest was obviously taking place. But how many $2,000 Wynn entries would be awarded? One or two?

The correct answer was two, as the green box denotes. Because once we clear that first “round” of 20 entries, we determine whether a second prize will be awarded based on the number of entries needed for us to at least break even on that second prize (in this case, 18 entries). Had we reached 41 or more entries, we would have awarded two prizes plus breakage. Had we reached 58 entries (40 + 18), we would have awarded three prizes, with breakage kicking in at the 61-entry point.

Obviously when we go forward with a 17-person tourney that was designed to be a 20-person tourney, it is not ideal for us. In this Wynn case, where a seat is worth $2,000, 17 entries at $116 (the entry fee of the Wynn qualifier) each, means that we take in $1,972 for a $2,000 seat. It would be a slight loss for us, but one we are willing to swallow in exchange for a tournament to go off as scheduled. But once we do achieve our target on the first round of entries (e.g. 20 entries in the Wynn qualifier for prize #1), we are happy to add additional seats on a break-even basis, if need be, rather than just pay a whole lot of breakage. Don’t get me wrong, breakage is great…but it’s not really the reason why people are playing qualifiers to onsite tourneys in the first place. We’d rather pay out seats.

For those of you who are simply interested in what time it is and less interested in how the watch works …well…that is what the green box is for. And we do know that the number of prizes on offer is a fundamental piece of information for you once a contest begins (sometimes even before it begins)—which is why we take pains to tell you right away (not in a couple of hours…not the next day) exactly how many prizes are at stake, plus any breakage that may be involved.

Would any of you enter a contest if you weren’t going to be told what the entry fee was until sometime after the contest had begun? Of course not. We feel it is every bit as important for players to know what the precise prize pool of a given tournament is. In determining value, one is as important as the other.

It’s all a simple matter of clarity and attention to detail. We don’t want our players seeing red, when they can be seeing green.