Bill Benter: The Man Who Won Nearly  Billion Betting Horses

Bill Benter: The Man Who Won Nearly $1 Billion Betting Horses

31 Dec

For many of us, horse races are a fun way to wager some money and spend time with friends. That’s not the case with William Benter, however. Benter used his mathematical skills to earn nearly $1 billion betting on Korean horse races.

Origins of a Hustler

Benter was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a physics degree in 1977. As a young man, Benter knew he was talented with math, and the future professional gambler wanted to use his skills as a way to make a profit.

He went to Las Vegas and decided to test his skill at counting cards in blackjack. He eventually read Edward Thorp’s Beat the Dealer and improved tremendously. He eventually became so profitable at blackjack that he was banned from all the casinos on the Vegas strip.

Success in Hong Kong

It wasn’t until Benter met fellow gambler, mathematician and horse-betting expert Alan Woods that he began his career in betting horses. In 1984, the two moved to Hong Kong to pursue their horse-betting dreams.

Although horse racing is very popular in America, the unpredictability of the sport made betting on it a crap-shoot at best. In order to achieve consistent results, bettors would need a method to collect reliable data and information about all the horses in a race, and Hong Kong was just that.

In Hong Kong, the horses race regularly on the same tracks and in the same conditions. This allowed Benter to use a statistical model to pinpoint factors which could lead to more consistent picks. For example, early on in his analysis he found that the most important factor to a horse’s success in a race was the number of races the horse had ran in the past. More races led to worse results.

Using this statistical model, Benter and his team created a software that “beat the system,” and Benter was able to earn nearly $1 billion in Hong Kong.

Gambler, Professor, Philanthropist

Aside from crushing the Korean horse racing scene, Benter spends his time as both a professor and a philanthropist.

He and his wife, Vivian Fung, created the Benter Foundation to help people and organizations throughout the world. The foundation stands for education, human service and global citizenship.

Benter also donates a hefty sum of money into politics. He’s a part of the Democracy Alliance, which donates to various liberal non-profit groups. In 2007, Benter donated over $100,000 to Democratic candidates.

Benter also works as a visiting professor at Southampton Management School’s Center for Risk Research. He has also spoken at top American universities like Harvard and Stanford, as well as The City University of Hong Kong which also has a scholarship in his honor.

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