Profile of a man who created a horse-racing algorithm and made close to a billion dollars


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/04/profile-of-a-man-who-created-a.html


#2

Well, I hope they’re still getting their cut…


#3

So, uh…is there an app for that?


#4

I suddey want to see if I can instantiate this in lobe.ai (https://lobe.ai).


#5

i love those stories about people that went to the library, learned all they could on whatever and then went on to do something amazing. I love them, and also seethe with envy


#6

Although curiously when I was in HK in the 90s there was a guy who became briefly famous because he said he was doing exactly this. The HK horse racing scene is based on there being just one legal bookie and the odds are set by tote - in otherwords, where the money is going, the odds get short. He claimed (and you’ll curse because I’ve forgotten his name) to be doing exactly this and then making lots of large bets to arbitrage the system. And claimed to have made huge money.
Then he committed suicide because he was massively in debt.
It’s funny how people with fool proof systems to beat the bookies choose to sell the system to other punters rather than make billions themselves…


#7

In the gold rush most money was made selling shovels.


#8

Same with real estate gurus selling audiobooks and seminars. Now, I love audiobooks, but the stuff seems targeted to people who haven’t cracked a book since they left High School.


#9

Or people who want to get through the Wheel of Time saga while sitting in terrible commuter traffic. Wait, I don’t think thats what you were talking about.


#10

I understand some of them event create bogus universities to pass on the bankruptcy-winning midas touch.


#11

The difference between Vegas betting and pari-mutuel is crucial to his success. There are books profiling great football gamblers and half the text is about how hard they had to work to find a place to place their bets, since no one wants to take the bets of a proven winner.


#12


#13

Thanks for posting this, excellent article!


#14

It’s interesting because over the years various people have claimed to have “the system” to predict odds, but it invariably turned out to be a scam. (I seem to remember it being used as plot point in more than one book)
It took until the era of affordable computers for someone to show that a system of horse betting could actually work, provided one put enough effort into the algorithms and input data.


#15

This article was very good. The part about how Happy Valley RC didn’t want to publicize the winner of the Triple Trio because it would discourage average gambler has been highlights an ongoing problem with exotic bets in horse racing since the early 80s. Exotic bets like Pick 6, where one picks the winners of 6 consecutive races, became widespread in the late 70s and early 80s to compete with lotteries which were luring away the tracks’ most profitable customers and leaving the tracks at the mercy of the better informed independent handicappers. Jackpots in a Pick 6 pool would rollover until it grew to a size that it became feasible to win the pot by covering x percentage of the most likely combinations making it statistically a sure thing for the bettor. By the early 80s this became the province of betting syndicates (true business syndicates, not organized crime in the mafia sense). Tracks never publicized the winners of these enormous jackpots when they were won by syndicates which was more often than not. And if some rube happened to win, then his face would be plastered everywhere for months.


#16

Then he lost it all playing the penny slots in Wendover, Nv.


#17

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