The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code

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  • The GOAT himself: Bill Benter
  • When they won, there were satisfied smiles only. They were professionals; cheering and hooting were for rubes.
  • a statistical phenomenon called gambler’s ruin. It holds that if a player with limited funds keeps betting against an opponent with unlimited funds (that is, a casino), he will eventually go broke, even if the game is fair. All lucky streaks come to an end, and losing runs are fatal.
  • In pursuit of mathematical perfection, he became convinced that horses raced differently according to temperature, and when he learned that British meteorologists kept an archive of Hong Kong weather data in southwest England, he traveled there by plane and rail. A bemused archivist led him to a dusty library basement, where Benter copied years of figures into his notebook. When he got back to Hong Kong, he entered the data into his computers–and found it had no effect whatsoever on race outcomes. Such was the scientific process.
  • Wagered $1.6M on the Triple Trio. Won it (of course), left prize money to charity.
  • Multiple hundreds of millions of dollars in lifetime winnings