• Dave Schwartz
    November 11, 2021
    In 2002 I consulted for an AUS group who was playing Japan.

    Most everyone knows that Bill Benter ruled Hong Kong racing from 1986-1992.
    The Gambler Who Cracked the Horse-Racing Code

    The primary boss of the AUS group was a guy who worked for Benter in HK. Like a lot of Benter's employees - especially the programmers - they all took a copy of Benter's software with them when they left.

    That's why Benter's edge in HK diminished and eventually became a losing proposition for him. That's why he stopped playing there.

    When I first saw the actual code for Benter's program, I was shocked at how simplistic it was. In fact, I thought it to be so simple as to be downright silly to play. Of course, I had forgotten that great quote by Erasmus, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

    Hong Kong is an enclosed system. That is, the season starts with 1,200 horses (plus 200 alternates) and nobody can ship in or out. Exception: "Invitational" races. (Hence the name. LOL)

    With only two tracks, this makes it very easy to compare horses.

    HK's system can best be described as CLASSLEVEL & WEIGHT ENVIRONMENT..
    That is, whenever a horse wins, the horse goes up in class. When the horse loses a few times it goes down in class. (A lot like dog racing in the US.)

    Thus, when a horse wins carrying x-kilos, if he runs at the same level the pack on the weight. If he goes up, he can maintain a similar weight.

    What Benter essentially did, was to become expert at UNDERSTANDING the class levels.

    But his real edge came from VALUE ADDED DATA. That is, he had people collecting metrics at the races to feed into the system. Think of it as having factors that nobody else had.


    Remember, also, that Bill Benter was 20 years ahead of his time and that the HK pools were abundant with money from unsophisticated handicappers. In addition, Hong Kongians (yes, I made that word up) just LOVE to gamble,

    About Benter's Software
    Benter's software was written in FoxPro a DOS-based, DBase clone that was ultimately adapted for Windows. It was a database tool that had a scripting language added, allowing people to write programs.

    While it was ahead of the curve in the 1980s, it is almost embarrassingly weak by today's standard.

    I was shocked to find that almost ALL the Asian teams used FoxPro - at least back in 2002.

    I know that almost all of you thought, "INFORMATIONAL ADVANTAGE is the key!" and you're right. But that isn't as easy as it sounds.

    I know you've seen foreign Past Performances. You've seen how sparse the data is.

    So, the question becomes, "How do YOU get an informational advantage?"

    The easy answer is, "You can't derive them from the past performances."

    Sure, sure. I know. The way you use Early Speed Points in conjunction with (say) 1st fraction ratings, BRIS Prime Power,, or something else is so different that nobody else is using it.

    While you can improve the results by choosing factors that meld together well, it is NOT UNIQUE!

    It's kind of like creating a recipe for stir-fried shrimp where you start with:
    • Stir fry vegetable mix
    • Shrimp
    • Soy sauce
    • Bean sprouts
    ... then change to:
    • Fresh vegetables
    • Marinate the shrimp
    • oyster sauce instead of soy
    • noodles for the bean sprouts
    • add water chestnuts.

    While it may taste better, nobody is going to say, "WOW! this is so unique!" At the end of the meal, it is still Shrimp Stir-Fry.

    Stay tuned for PART 2.

    Related Searches: bill benter hong kong racing

    <Special Thanks to @William Zayonce for providing the inspiration for this post.>
  • Dave Schwartz
    October 12, 2021
    Dave interviews Tony Kofalt, long time professional player and friend.

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