You may be a great handicapper or sports bettor, but you aren't the best. It takes data, analytics, time, money, and a bit of luck to become even just a little good at picking a winner and living off those winnings. It's not a game built for the weak. And although you may know of some great propositional gamblers, there is one that stands out when it comes to horse racing.
Of those we do know, who are not hiding in the dark, Bill Benter is the best ever period. So how'd he do it? Great question. Below is the detail of what made Bill millions upon millions of dollars.
First and foremost, Bill Benter is a man of mathematics. An American from Pittsburgh, Bill studied advanced statistics. What he does isn't considered gambling. He learned to write software back in the 1980s.
He studied academic papers on horse racing and tried to figure out if the game could be beaten. Bill built an algorithm, a complex mathematical analysis, and used it to bet on horses where there was inherent value based on data and analytics.
But where to put the algorithm to good use, and how do you, one person, collect all this data? There was one place with the most money in horse racing in the 1980s, and that would be Hong Kong. Benter hired two associates and began coding his database based on thousands and thousands of historical outcomes of races there.
Now, not every outcome comes with glaring positive results. So Bill went to test this theory and algorithm of his in 1985. He went broke. The algorithm needed fixing. Like any algorithm, it takes time to evaluate, build, test, and reevaluate. It didn't happen overnight, but Bill flew back and started making more money than he ever imagined.
What did he do to tweak the algorithm? Well, for one, he made sure to get as much information as possible. Horse racing, like baseball, is a statistical anomaly. Having more data on races, horses, bloodlines, jockeys, trainers, owners, surfaces, weather, distances, and let's not forget, insider information can always help. Putting the right weights to those inside an algorithm is very important.
What else is important is knowing what everyone else is betting and why they're betting what they are betting. Knowing how much money will be on what horse and knowing who the public likes and dislikes allow a great handicapper to know where the inherent value lies.
The other real trick is true insider information. Knowing trainers and jockeys and their tendencies or finding data holes that no one else knows or can see was very important. Sometimes people also just can't help spilling the beans on a horse they know is a sure-fire winner.
What is unique about racing in Hong Kong is they have several multi-million jackpot-type wagers for long, odd scenarios, but they at times only payout to the one person who has all the combinations. Having any advantage to this could welcome several multi-million dollar scores. Bill hit so many of these wagers, at times, he didn't even cash the winners as to not raise any suspicion. He continues to bet and update his algorithm to this day. So how do we know about him then?
Bill went on to literally write the book on horse racing algorithms. It may seem a bit outdated now due to all the information readily available due to the internet, but let's not forget how important the information he had was in the '80s and '90s, which no one else had. He documented what it took and how hard it was to be profitable but showed horse racing could be beaten.
He's simply the best we'll ever see.