They call it 'deep state' handicapping. It's the method used by shrewd computer geeks to make millions of dollars on Hong Kong racing.

The average punter has no idea of the penetrating analysis the 'deep state' experts go into to flesh out a race and assign a 'value' price to each runner.

The man who has stood at the forefront of such analysis is the American William 'Bill' Benter. He's amassed a huge fortune through his betting exploits in Hong Kong.

Early on he was an associate of the Aussie punting marvel Alan Woods (now dead). Both carved a brilliant path through HK racing.

'Deep state' syndicates are still thriving in Hong Kong.


So what did Benter do that worked so magnifcently - and continues to work? Here are some details (source The Great

(1) Benter identified 130 variables (e.g. past runs, speed etc) that influence the result of a race. He and his team review past runs to assign values for each horse against each of these variables. It is understood that these variables reflect both the horse's form and how the race will be run.

(2) The variable information is fed into a computer that simulates potential outcomes of the race. The results from these simulations allow Benter and his team to assign probabilities to each runner, representing their percentage chance of winning the race.

(3) Benter then compares the horse's probability of winning against its market price and identifies cases where the market price for a horse is significantly higher than the computer simulated chance of winning - referred to as value opportunities. Value theory suggests taking 'true odds', where the horse's odds (market price) are equal to its chance of winning, will result in you breaking even over time. Therefore if you always take horses that are over the odds, that is where their odds are greater than their chance of winning, then well tested probability theory warrants your success over time.

(4) When Benter started applying his method he used only 16 variables for his form analysis. The increase in variables to 130 highlights the learning nature of Benter's method. The growth of these variables can be attributed to the tireless quest of understanding how poor results occur. In many cases it is likely that poor results are due to a lack of information used to assess the race and its runners. The answer? Understand what other factors may have influenced the outcome of the race and add them to the pool of variables to be assessed for future races.

(5) Benter is recognised world over for his work in applied mathematical modeling, probability theory and statistical analysis. His predicative modeling expertise is so well regarded that he lectures at several universities across the US, Europe and Asia including Harvard, Hong Kong and Southampton Universities.

(6) Benter's method is reported to deliver him a 24% profit on turnover.

And what about Alan Woods? The punter from Murwillumbah NSW was a giant figure in Honbg Kong betting. He was known as Mr Huge.

(1) 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.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) Woods had a team of people working for him across the globe, performing form analysis, assessing races and placing bets.

(5) Woods preferred straight-out and exotic betting types like multi's.

(6) Woods studied mathematics at University and worked as an Actuary, underlining his talent for numbers and statistics. He 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.

(7) It's estimated that Woods was worth more than $670 million (US) when he died of cancer in 2008.