Benter was a more reserved presence. He could often be seen sitting at the end of a bar, engaged in quiet conversation. Over time an aura built up. To the small group of insiders who knew that software had conquered Happy Valley—perhaps a dozen people—Benter was the acknowledged master. Even Woods (in an interview he later gave to an Australian journalist) admitted that his rival’s model was the best. But the two men couldn’t resolve their differences. When Benter saw his old partner in Wan Chai, he would smile politely and walk away. They’d gone 10 years without speaking.
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The alternative draw is so popular, because usually the odds are very attractive. A classic strategy is to consequently bet on a draw until it happens. Of course you always need to keep an eye on the odds. The idea behind this alternative is to double the stakes until the draw becomes reality. Given you start with stakes of 5 £ on a draw of 1. FSV Mainz 05. You best choose the team with the most draws in the ranking. This is just a strategy and no recommendation, since you can also get rid of your stakes very fast.
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If you’ve ever been tempted by a flutter, you’ll know how bookmakers and casinos stack the odds against you. The clearest example is roulette, where there are 36 red and black numbers plus the green numbers 0 and (in the U.S.) 00. So that’s 38 possibilities in total. When betting on red or black, the odds of choosing correctly are 18/38, and a fair payout for a $1 stake is $2.111. However, the house pays only $2 and keeps the difference. In that way, it guarantees itself a profit.
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Benter taught himself advanced statistics and learned to write software on an early PC with a green-and-black screen. Meanwhile, in the fall of 1984, Woods flew to Hong Kong and sent back a stack of yearbooks containing the results of thousands of races. Benter hired two women to key the results into a database by hand so he could spend more time studying regressions and developing code. It took nine months. In September 1985 he flew to Hong Kong with three bulky IBM computers in his checked luggage.
Within six weeks, he found himself playing blackjack in Monte Carlo, served by waiters in dinner jackets. He felt like James Bond, and his earnings grew to a rate of about $80,000 a year. Benter abandoned any idea of returning to college. When his mother’s friends in Pittsburgh asked how his studies were going, she told them, “Bill’s traveling right now.”
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Benter had achieved something without known precedent: a kind of horse-racing hedge fund, and a quantitative one at that, using probabilistic modeling to beat the market and deliver returns to investors. Probably the only other one of its kind was Woods’s operation, and Benter had written its code base. Their returns kept growing. Woods made $10 million in the 1994-95 season and bought a Rolls-Royce that he never drove. Benter purchased a stake in a French vineyard. It was impossible to keep their success secret, and they both attracted employees and hangers-on, some of whom switched back and forth between the Benter and Woods teams. One was Bob Moore, a manic New Zealander whose passions were cocaine and video analysis. He’d watch footage of past races to identify horses that should have won but were bumped or blocked and prevented from doing so. It worked as a kind of bad-luck adjuster and made the algorithms more effective.
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Muscles are bundles of contractile fibers that are attached to bones by tendons. These bundles have different types of fibers within them, and horses have adapted over the years to produce different amounts of these fibers. Type II-b fibers are fast twitch fibers. These fibers allow muscles to contract quickly, resulting in a great deal of power and speed. Type I fibers are slow-twitch fibers. They allow muscles to work for longer periods of time resulting in greater endurance. Type II-a fibers are intermediate, representing a balance between the fast-twitch fibers and the slow-twitch fibers. They allow the muscles to generate both speed and endurance. Type I muscle fibers are adapted for aerobic exercise and rely on the presence of oxygen. Type II muscles are needed for anaerobic exercise because they can function in the absence of oxygen. Thoroughbreds possess more type II-a muscle fibers than Quarter Horses or Arabians. This type of fiber allows them to propel themselves forward at great speeds and maintain it for an extended distance.