Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sad Passing of a Legend

Alan Woods was the "Tiger Woods" of punting and yet chances are,with the possible exception of some of our Hong Kong readers, his name means little or nothing to the majority of us in the betting/racing industry. This "larger than life"character ran an on line betting syndicate and was responsible for wagering as much as $1 billion on the Hong Kong tote annually! Alan was in fact one of the most successful horse racing gamblers ever. Woods past away late January of this year in a Hong Kong hospital at the age of 62.His incredible betting operation, which used betting algorithms to find the value horses in Hong Kong races, and was the subject of a fascinating profile in a book on Gambling by Mike Atherton, which is a great read, Atherton has in fact turned out to be as entertaining a writer as he was a cricketer. The Alan Woods chapter is essential reading to anyone interested in horse racing, it delves into the Woods theory of a man who was far more interested in the numbers expressed as mathematical probabilities than in the horses they represented. Alan and his team of mathematical hotshots would not only analyse form but betting patterns for Hong Kong races as well and when they found an overlay according to his handicapping formulas , (a horse that was trading at 10/1 when the correct odds of it winning the race were around 6/1 ) they would place a massive wager on the horse. In most instances they had no idea what the horse's name was nor it's breeding its owner its trainer or even jockey, nor did they care.This system sounds like a hit and hope scheme and extremely dangerous yet year in and year out this syndicate made a small fortune with millions won and lost on a single horse race and at the time of his death it is estimated that his personal fortune was in the region of US$600 million. He also earned a reputation as a hard social "player" and left behind two ex-wives, and was known for moments of wild and wonderous celebration when his computer fundis picked up a big win.Woods died from a suspected pulmonary embolism as he was undergoing treatment for cancer.
RIP my friend gone but never forgotten.
The Big G

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