Bill Benter is a mathematical genius born in 1957 in Pittsburgh in America. After completing his degree in physics, he decided to use his skills to count blackjack cards in the gambling halls of Las Vegas. 7 years after the start of these activities in Vegas, Benter has been banned from many casinos in the city. It was then wanted to move to Hong Kong with a new friend, Alan Woods. The two worked on the creation of a formula allowing to predict the result of the horse lessons, as well as the first operation of game assisted by software. To date, it is considered the most successful.
Far from the classic tipsters who give you the free straight tip for tomorrow or other predictions, Bill Benter has done the impossible: He wrote an algorithm that could not lose on the track. Almost a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time.
Horse racing is a bit like a religion in Hong Kong, whose citizens bet more than anyone else on Earth. Their cathedral is the Happy Valley Racecourse, whose grassy oval track and illuminated grandstands are surrounded at night by one of the most beautiful views of sport: neon skyscrapers, constellation of illuminated windows, and at- beyond, hills with dark and dizzying silhouettes.
On the evening of November 6, 2001, all of Hong Kong was talking about the biggest jackpot the city has ever seen: at least HK $ 100 million (then about $ 13 million) for the winner of a single bet called the Triple Trio. The bet requires players to predict the three best horses, in any order, in three different rounds. More than 10 million combinations are possible. When no one chooses correctly, prize money is transferred to the next series of races. This sweet November night, the pot had not been claimed six times. About one million people placed a bet, the equivalent of one in seven city residents.
On the ground floor of Happy Valley, young women in beer bars passed foaming pints to laughing expatriates, while local Chinese, for whom gambling is a more serious affair, clung to the newspapers and looked at the running races. At the sound of the starter's pistol, the announcer's voice rang out on the loudspeakers: "Last step of the Triple Trio", he shouted in English with his Australian accent, "Let’s Go!" "
As the pack rumbled in the last corner, two horses leaned forward. "It's Mascot Treasure one length in front, but Bobo Duck is shooting it down," said the announcer, voice raised. "Bobo Duck in front. Defending mascot! The crowd roared as the runners ran across the finish line. Bobo Duck beat Mascot Treasure and Frat Rat placed third.
On the other side of the Happy Valley Road, 27 stories up, two Americans sat in an office, unaware of the live broadcast of the action playing muted on a television screen. The only sound was the hum of a dozen computers. Bill Benter and a partner named Paul Coladonato had their eyes fixed on a bank of three monitors, which showed a matrix of bets that their algorithm had made on the race - 51,381 in all.
Benter and Coladonato watched a script filter out losing bets, one at a time, until there were 36 lines left on the screens. Thirty-five of their bets had correctly called finishers in two of the races, qualifying for a consolation prize. And a bet correctly predicted the nine horses. The rest is history.