Who Is Bill Benter?

Who is Bill Benter? Born in 1957 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania was a baby boy named William Benter. Little is known and written about his life prior to his university days but it was known that he was smart and had a very mathematical brain. He graduated with a Physics degree in 1977, a difficult mathematical subject. 

First Gambling Experience

Little is known about what or why William started to gamble. But it is known that Blackjack was his game of choice in local venues in Pittsburgh. He liked the idea that mathematical prowess increases the chances that you can win in this popular Casino Game. It’s not known if Bill discovered the book Beat The Dealer (by Edward O Thorp) or Blackjack first. But it was a deadly combination that saw Bill Benter banned from Casinos in Las Vegas some 7 years after his arrival in the desert gambling mecca. 

Card Counting Blackjack 

It is a known fact that you can count cards in BlackJack to gain an edge over the house. The book Beat The Dealer in the right hands teaches you how to do just that. Bill’s mathematical head allowed him to count cards in his head. Even with the knowledge few people can count cards. Even then the profits can be small but the losses big. It isn’t illegal to do it using your own brain. It’s impressive that Bill got so much success that they banned him. It’s likely many card counters have lost as much as they have won. Bill was that bit better than most counters. 

Horses For Courses

With no way to play BlackJack Bill was undeterred and possibly also felt that his skills deserved a better edge. It wasn’t until he met Alan Woods that he found his next game, or rather sport in this case horse racing. Wikipedia mentions that Bill was also somewhat into computers; the two combined notes and started to discuss elements and statistical patterns. Bill was the brains and Woods had been the creative investor. But as Bill earned Woods wasn’t needed as much. 

The year is now 1985, Alan was interested more in the Asian horse racing and gambling scene- it is said due to the smaller pool of horses. Hong Kong to be precise was where he started to study the vocation. 

The Bill Benter Horse Racing Algorithm 

Bill created a computer algorithm which crunched data and came up with likely winners. It took 9 months to feed 5-10 years of Alan's research on horse racing results and data into the computer. There were big losses of around $150,000 in the first year which generated friction between the pair and led to discussions on direction. 

In 1987 they made $100,000.00 but after the initial losses; a year later they dissolved the relationship. Woods moved onto Manila and had a lot of success with what he took from the project. 

The Hong Kong Jockey Club 

Bill didn’t give up after the net losses (as winnings had started to come in) using the system over 30 years later he amassed around a Billion. It had worked very well for both of them, but Bill moved on with a forked version that he would develop further himself. It started to predict winners so well the Hong Kong Jockey Club became interested and offered to ‘help’ Bill. Without a doubt getting close to a customer spending so much but winning wasn’t going to come without offering him a treat. They organised him a system to be able to place more bets using a direct terminal. Also they started publishing statistical data not previously shared. The result was more volume of bets and a better algorithm. But the computer algorithm just made Bill even more money. It was even better than before. Eventually the Jockey club had to end the arrangement after Bill was reportedly making 5 to 10 Million per day! 

Bill also became the president of the Hong Kong Rotary Club and met Vivian Fung. 

William Benter Personal Life 

Bill married Vivian Fung in 2012, a Hong Kong national, so in another way this city had a big impact on his life. They settled in Pittsburgh, Vivians apple falling much further than his! Bill’s religion is not mentioned online.

Bill Benter Modern Life and Today 

Bill has used his wealth providing funding to many organisations, usually political (Bill and Vivian are Democrats). He created the Benter Foundation in 2007 and has been a benefactor to Israel and Arabic charities among many others: 

University of Pittsburgh 
Democratic Party of Virginia 
Rabbis for Human Rights 
A New Voice for Maryland 

He is often invited to give talks and lectures on statistical modelling and mathematics at universities across the world including Harvard and Stanford. City University of Hong Kong created a scholarship in his name. 

Today as of 2021 he is said to be worth 1Billion dollars even having given a lot away as a philanthropist. 

There are many videos about Bill online, here he has an interview discussing how horse racing is a great basis for statistical modelling and the problems that the betting public can cause with some of their strange behaviour. 

Interesting that twice he refers to ‘rolling up the sleeves’ being essential for success in predicting outcomes and that many just can’t do that aspect. 

The 9 months of hard work crunching 10 years of 200 horses and umpteen races is something he hasn’t lost sight of being a vital ingredient. 

He also mentions that the bookmakers are very capable of looking out for themselves and they have nothing to fear from his algorithm.

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