• Dave Schwartz
    203
    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.

    ABOUT BILL BENTER
    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.

    TALK ABOUT HAVING AN INFORMATIONAL ADVANTAGE!

    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.

    SO HOW DOES THIS HELP YOU?
    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.

    BUT HERE'S THE PROBLEM
    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.

    SO, WHAT'S THE ANSWER?
    Stay tuned for PART 2.

    Related Searches: bill benter hong kong racing

    <Special Thanks to @William Zayonce for providing the inspiration for this post.>
  • William Zayonce
    26
    Thanks for the informative read Dave.
    Looking forward to part2.
  • Tony Kofalt
    284
    Really enjoyed so far!! I too am looking forward to the remained
  • Ken Fee
    22
    Excellent, looking forward to the rst!
  • Pete C
    1
    Hmmm, curious about where this goes. Looking forward to part 2.
  • RanchWest
    331
    Looking forward to it, Dave.

    But on a FoxPro note. My software, which I do not share or sell, is written in Harbour, another dBase offshoot that had Clipper as the in-between. Any half-way decent language can make horse race calculations. While I don't claim to be the greatest handicapper around, I do well enough to post my selections online nearly every day. The cool part is that I can make any modification I want at any time I want.
  • Dave Schwartz
    203
    But on a FoxPro note. My software, which I do not share or sell, is written in Harbour, another dBase offshoot that had Clipper as the in-between. Any half-way decent language can make horse race calculations. While I don't claim to be the greatest handicapper around, I do well enough to post my selections online nearly every day. The cool part is that I can make any modification I want at any time I want.RanchWest

    Indeed.
    I, too, used dBase & Clipper.

    They do a fine job of programming.

    However, historically, they process painfully slowly because they're scripting languages.

    The very idea that an organization that is betting millions of dollars would use anything but the fastest, cutting edge tools is shocking.

    But my real point was that I'd never understood why all those Asian & AUS groups used FoxPro - until that time in 2002 when I got Benter's code.

    He literally invented the whales' basic system by doing it first and then provided everyone else with the tools to compete! Of course, they were always behind the curve - his curve - until the big budget guys entered the picture.

    BTW, any discussion of Bill Benter would be incomplete without mentioned this guy - Alan Woods (gambler).
  • RanchWest
    331
    In my opinion, speed is not an issue with Harbour. My output is to HTML files and today I wrote 109 files (all of the races in NA), 49 megabytes, in 2 minutes. That's with 17 sections (bloodlines, jockeys, past performances, special calculations, etc.) for each race, including much of it being color coded. And with many, many complex calculations.
  • Dave Schwartz
    203


    I'm not familiar with Harbour so I looked it up.

    That is certainly NOT the dBase-Clipper -FoxPro-type of language software from the '80s. LOL

    Wonderful to see that those old database engines are still supported.
    Is the old CODE supported as well?
  • RanchWest
    331
    Yes, Harbour will handle Clipper code with extremely few if any changes. And it runs on today's machines as compiled C code. It also can incorporate a GUI interface and other features from Windows and other modern requirements. It can handle the dBase/Clipper files (Clipper handles more fields than dBase) as well as other database engines. i forgot to mention that my output i mentioned was using input from a Clipper file.
  • William Zayonce
    26
    What happened to "Part 2"
  • Dave Schwartz
    203
    Lack of interest.
  • RanchWest
    331
    I'm interested.
  • Bill Madsen
    7
    @Dave Schwartz

    Over the years, your stuff has made me a better player & now that I'm coming back to it, I'd like to read as much as possible of what you have to say.

    Can this help?
    If so, I second the motion of continuing this.

    Madsen
  • Darren
    3
    @Dave Schwartz

    Me, too.
    I'm as guilty as everyone else here. Just checking back every few weeks seeing if you have said anything that would help me play better. When I don't see anything, I just leave.

    What of I promise to post if you do?

    I know your posts will be better than mine, but I promise to do my best.

    We need this place to work because PA is dead and there really isn't anywhere else.
  • RanchWest
    331
    We need this place to work because PA is dead and there really isn't anywhere else.Darren

    I agree. I'll try to do better, too. We need more discussion on the serious aspects of handicapping.
  • Conley
    356
    I know that this posting I am about to put up is off the topic of the op but I would like to throw a few ideas around and see if anyone would like to start them

    1) A Panel on Stakes Races and other important racing days with posting an analysis with selections or having a "LIVE" session via Zoom or some online video (even Facebook messager does a great job)
    I think if there were a few of us here who wanted to do this I would be willing to be a helping hand here and this would be mostly for big prep races for the KY Derby/Breeders Cup but also other stakes around the county and here in Canada :)

    2) Writers for Blog Posts for Horse Racing Sports Stocks etc
    Again I would be willing to help in this situation but in this case, this is not about me but others who are way more advanced than me on certain topics! The writers can write whatever they want (well I didn't mean you know xxx stuff or political stuff lol) and this will create an "audience" and the writer can also take suggestions along the way to write about topics; The point is that the more than a writer can teach on here and gain a public showing the more they can feel confident in writing and in life! The majority of the topics will mostly be on Horse Racing (ex Why Favourites are Good Bets or Creating a Value Line For Longshots) and also on Sports/Sports Betting (ex Finding Value in College Sports or Gaining An Competitive Edge on Football)

    That is all I have right now I don't mean to be all "me me me" or trying to take over this forum I just wanted to have a helping hand in improving and expanding the forum to new heights plus having fun along the way! Let me know folks how these ideas sound and we can go from there

    Thank you
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