With NADAC bringing back Gamblers as a class in August of 2019 we thought everyone would like some info on the updated format and what to expect.   So we’re going to cover the what, why and rules, and talk a little about why Gamblers originally left NADAC, and why we feel it’s ready to make it’s return.

Why did Gamblers go away in the first place?

The main reasons for Gamblers leaving in the old days was because NADAC was going in the direction of obstacle flow and safety.  Something that the Gamblers of that time period did not really accommodate.    It would be a very common occurrence for handlers to leave mid course once they had gotten their gamble, skipping multiple obstacles on their way to the exit.   It was also common place for handlers to perform unsafe maneuvers with their dogs,  and fixing those issues back then would have caused quite an uproar.

What is the reasoning for adding a class?

We really wanted to bring back a strategy class for NADAC, while maintaining our core values of courses always having a logical flow to them, and the dogs performing sequences in a smooth manner.

We also wanted a class where time was a factor in earning points, as well as a moderate amount of distance.  

Gamblers is a great test of spatial awareness, time awareness, and ability to design your own course as well.  All fun aspects of agility.

How do we play?

The basic goal of the game is to:

  1. Earn points by successfully completing obstacles
  2. Successfully complete the Gamble, which is a 3-6 obstacle section of the course with a handler limitation
  3. Do all of this in less time than your Standard Course Time for your jumping height.

For placements you want to earn as many points as possible, while staying under your Standard Course Time (SCT)

What are the more specific rules?

  • Each jumping height has their own specific SCT,  Currently 34 Seconds for a 20 inch jumping dog, with each lower height getting an extra 4 seconds.   With the 4″ height having 50 seconds total.
  • For the Elite level dogs must earn 50 points, plus successfully complete the gamble in order to earn a Qualifying score.   For more info on the point requirements in lower levels please check the rule book as it gets closer to August.
  • The gamble can be attempted at any point during the run
  • The team will earn an extra 2 points for every full second under SCT for their jumping height.    For example, if your SCT is 34 seconds and you run in 30 seconds, you will have earned 8 extra points.
  • You can earn a maximum of 10 points from being under time
  • 2 points will be deducted from your score for every full second above SCT
  • Back to back performance of an obstacle will negate the point value of that obstacle when done the second time. Example:   you can perform a jump and receive your point, if you then stop your dog, and put them back over the same jump you will not receive another point for that second performance.
  • Flips into tunnels, or out of tunnels on to contacts will negate the point value of the second obstacle performed. Example:  You can put your dog through the tunnel under the dog walk and receive your points for the tunnel, but if you ‘flip’ them directly on to the dog walk you will not receive points for the dog walk.
  • Your dog can not go more than 35 feet without performing an obstacle. This will count as an E for the run.   Dogs running around doing the zoomies do not count towards this rule, only blatant handling choices that cause the dog to skip large sections of the course.
  • The finish obstacle MUST be completed. This is what will stop your time and it can not be bypassed.    If your dog runs past it, it’s in your own best interest to get them back through it as fast as possible.   Your dog completing it in the opposite direction is still acceptable.
  • Obstacles can be taken multiple times while still being counted for points, just not back to back.
  • A successfully completed gamble is worth 10 points.
  • Once a dog does two gamble obstacles in sequence they are now attempting the gamble, whether it was intentional by the handler or not.
  • Any dropped bars that are part of the gamble will negate the gamble, even when taken out of sequence.
  • The gamble can not be re attempted, once it has been failed there is no chance to re attempt.
  • Individual points of each obstacle during the gamble is also given
  • General rules of Chances lines will apply in regards to four feet across the line negate the gamble attempt
  • Each obstacle has a max number of performances that will award you points.
  • Faulted obstacles will receive no points. Example: missed contacts, knocked bars (which negate points for that obstacle for the remainder of the run), unsafe weave poles.
  • In order to Qualify in the class you must have successfully completed the gamble, and gotten the required number of points
  • Placements are based off highest number of points in your height and group
  • There is a maximum time on course of 70 seconds.  You’re time will be stopped and you will be asked to leave the course.   If the judge deems that you were Training earlier in the run and eliminated you, then the normal 60 seconds training time applies.


How many points are the obstacles worth?

Dog Walk = 7 Points (7 Point Limit)  (The Dog walk is only worth points when taken in the direction the judge of record specifies, this ensures they can actually judge the contact from their position)

A-Frame = 5 Points (10 Point Max)

Set of 6 Weaves = 6 Points (12 Points Max)

Tunnels = 3 points ( 12 point Max)

Jumps and Hoops = 1 Point (10 Point Max)

Barrels  = 4 Points ( 12 Point Max)

Time Bonus = 2 points for every full second under SCT

Gamble = 10 points


Do I have to enter at Novice?

If you are running in a higher level of a gamblers type class in another venue you can grandfather into the Elite level for NADAC.

If you only run in NADAC we are allowing our competitors to grandfather in as well, as long as they have 30 points in Elite Chances.

What awards will this count towards?

For the first few years it will only count towards the All Around NATCH, which currently requires Hoopers and Barrelers, plus the other classes.   With the introduction of Gamblers you will be able to earn a AA-NATCH by earning 130 points in Elite Gamblers, and skipping Hoopers and Barrelers all together.

Will this replace Chances?

No Chances will continue on as normal.   The skill sets between the two classes are vastly different, so replacing Chances with Gamblers isn’t a viable option since it’s requiring a very different set of skills.

What does a course look like?

Here is an example course, as well as a run by Maureen DeHaan and Kiva