Betting Professionals' Profile

Name Alan Woods (a.k.a Mr Huge)
Age 62 - deceased January 26, 2008
Birth Place Murwillumbah, New South Wales AUSTRALIA   Image
Residence Manilla, Philipines (at death)
Estimated Worth $670 million USD
Method Summary Value opportunities are identified through form analysis to establish a horse's probability rating which is then compared to it's market price.

Betting Professionals' Method

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  • Woods quantifies all form variables deemed as relevant. Some variables are easy to quantify while other variables are subjective, and therefore require extensive analysis of each horses past runs to arrive at a rating.

  • Variables are fed into a computer generated formula to arrive at a number which represents the horse's chance of winning the race (expressed as a percentage). The horse's percentage chance of winning is determined by applying a weighting to each form variable derived from the horses historical form.

  • The horse's percentage chance of winning is multiplied by its market price to arrive at a factor. The higher the factor the greater the opportunity that the runner represents. The best opportunities exist when the market over-bets on a particular horse in a race increasing the odds of other horses in the race that have a good chance of winning.

  • The computer generated formula is refined over time. For example the formula is tweaked to calibrate it to changing factors in the racing environment (e.g. significant changes to the racecourse characteristics, barrier placement).

  • The amount wagered on a runner is determined by Kelly's Criterion. This approach uses the horses percentage chance of winning to arrive at the percentage of the bankroll to risk e.g. a horse with a 20% chance of winning will require a wager equal to 20% of the bankroll.

Key Facts

  • Hong Kong racing was the key focus for Woods' analysis due to its attributes that make it easier to assess all runners and reduce the likelihood of unquantifiable factors impacting the outcome of a race. Some of these attributes include:

    • a small number of horses running in Hong Kong, minimises effort required for the sizeable task of form analysis,

    • with only 2 race tracks in Hong Kong it is easier to understand biases and other factors relating to the track that may impact the result,

    • with rarely more than 2 race meetings per week there are less races to assess compared to other major cities,

    • races are limited to 14 starters,

    • a strong vigilance on corruption exists within Hong Kong racing,

    • the one pool tote system drives big pools (as apposed to separate state pools) which results in larger payouts.

  • A key factor to Woods' success was having more information than the public. This information was obtained through his team's tireless research efforts and assessment of each runner's chances.
  • Woods claimed the value opportunities (those horses that were at higher odds than their form suggested they should be) existed because many people are influenced by their emotions when picking horses. He would always get at least one big value winner on each race card.
  • Woods had a team of people working for him across the globe, performing form analysis, assessing races and placing bets.
  • Woods preferred straight-out and exotic betting types like multi's.
  • Woods studied mathematics at University and worked as an Actuary, underlining his talent for numbers and statistics.
  • Woods experimented with horse races while at University and gave it away after his self maintained performance records indicated that he was not making a profit. He took it up again after leaving his Actuary career at which time he discovered his winning methodology.

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