High Flying

High Flying

November 1, 2020

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by Trey Nosrac

I handed a script to my pal and said, “Show this brilliant concept to your cronies and lawyers in Silicon Valley. If they design the app and make a billion dollars, remember it came from Trey.”

HIGH Flying

ACT I

SCENE ONE

(RICK and MIKE are in their late twenties. They sit in seats 8A and 8C of Delta Flight 807. The young men do not know each other. Both are wearing masks; the middle seat is vacant. RICK pecks at his iPad. MIKE leans slightly towards RICK and asks,

MIKE

What are you playing?

RICK

I’m gambling. I log in and play in my free time. It’s real-time, real money, and a real sport – horse racing.

MIKE

(Points at the screen)

I saw that kind of racing once, with the carts.

RICK

Harness racing, it’s fun. Sometimes I gamble seriously. Today, I’m killing time playing Race Triplet. It’s a simple way to bet on real races.

MIKE

No kidding.

RICK

Want to see a game?

MIKE

Sure.

RICK

(RICK tilts his screen slightly towards MIKE, taps a button on the screen, and points to a list of racetracks)

Players begin by highlighting a racetrack and clicking on the name. I’ll click on the Meadowlands. It’s a track in New Jersey. See how my screen reads,

Meadowlands, Race Triplet,

Races 4-5-6.

Race 4 begins in THREE minutes.

Click one horseshoe icon to select your random number.

MIKE

So, it’s just a random selection? Any number can be behind any horseshoe?
RICK

Yes, purely random. When a player clicks on a horseshoe, the horseshoe will dissolve into a number, and they have the same number for all three legs. Here, watch. I get my number by when I double-click one of these horseshoes.

(RICK taps the third horseshoe from the right, and the horseshoe morphs into a large yellow flashing number 6)
MIKE

I see. So now you have horse number 6 for the next three races. What does it cost you? How much can you win?
RICK

$5 per play. The first race goes off in a minute. The countdown clock is at the top. If number 6 wins, I will win $25. If any other horse wins the race, I lose my $5. Let’s watch and see how I do.

(RICK and MIKE watch the Livestream broadcast of the horse race. The number 6 horse wins! Mike and Rick exchange air high fives.)

MIKE

Now what?

RICK

Here is where skill enters the game. If you win the first level, the first race, you have a decision to make. You can cash out or let it ride. I have two options at this point. I can reinvest my $25 in winnings or click on the cash out button. If I cash out, $25 gets added to my account.

MIKE

What happens if you reinvest?

RICK

If I let the $25 ride on the next race and if horse number 6 wins, my earnings rise to $250. This decision-making is essential for legal reasons; it keeps the wager as a game of skill.

MIKE

What are you going to do?

RICK

I usually let it ride on the second level. Most people who are not horse experts play level two, to the second race. Players who understand horseracing and handicapping make more reasoned decisions. Should I believe the number 6 horse does not have a prayer; I might cash out. It’s a statistical thing.

MIKE

Backup, let me see if I have this correct. If the number 6 horse win the next race, a race that begins in nine minutes, you win $250?

RICK

Yes, and while we were talking, I logged on to a few sites and did some quick research. The six in the upcoming race is one of the top choices. Plus, get this, the name of the number six horse is HIGH FLYING. That might be a good omen. I’m playing.

(RICK and MIKE excitedly watch the horses warm up. Rick explains some of the details of horse racing like post position and racing strategy. The race goes off! Mike and Rick find themselves cheering aloud for HIGH FLYING, who wins by several lengths.

MIKE

Dude, you just won $250, now what are you gonna do?

What are your choices? Did you ever get this far before? How much can you win if you play the next round?

RICK

Whoa, whoa, slow down. Let me answer one question at a time. I’ll start in reverse order.

If I let my wager go to level three, in gambling, that’s called “letting it ride.” If horse number 6 wins again, I will win $2,000.

And yes, I have reached this point several other times. I have let it ride and lost. I cashed out other times because the horse in the last leg was a longshot – longshots rarely win, and I would have lost everything.

MIKE (excited)

What does horse number 6 look like in the third race? Is it worth the bet?

RICk

Let’s see (he taps around his computer screen). Horse number 6 is listed at 6-1. To serious horse gamblers that means they believe the horse has a realistic chance. The name of the horse is BOTTLENECK. When you understand a racing program, BOTTLENECK is not a favorite, but it’s not a longshot. If I let it ride, I would win $2,000. If BOTTLENECK doesn’t win – I would lose it all. We have less than three minutes to decide. What do you think?

MIKE

I say go for it! And I could get into this game.

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