May

2

Here is a fascinating read on how to beat a 20% vig from Contingencies magazine. To whet your appetite:

"By the time he succumbed to pulmonary embolism in January 2008 at the age of 62 Woods and his pioneering partners in computerized horse betting had transformed the nature of the sport in one major world market and spawned and industry that is still lengthening its stride around the globe. According to his obituary in The Australian, Wood’s fortune was estimated at $670 million at the time of his death."

Michele Pezzutti comments:

Quoted from Contingencies magazine: “The only way to develop a consistent long-term winning system is to either have the unbelievable luck of making the right guesses on enough races or to know something the rest of the public doesn’t.”

One of the thing I liked most about this story is that the information is actually out there for everybody, there aren’t people who have a competitive advantage on information availability. Alan Woods has built a competitive advantage over the public starting from the same knowledge base, which was under everybody’s eyes but unseen by most.

But how sustainable is this? If I liked horse betting, I wouldn’t bet anymore after knowing that a lot of people have a competitive advantage over me. You could argue that this is true also for financial markets (maybe even worse, as information might not be really available to everybody). That’s correct, but a bet is a single shot– either you lose or win. In financial markets, duration of a bet is generally unlimited (provided that your capital allows it or a company does not go bankrupt) and positions can become profitable also after being potentially a loss. Moreover, if a company generates value, every investor will benefit from that.

Craig Mee writes:

I was speaking to a mate about this guy, his reply:

"It’s a sad story actually. I read about this bloke in last year or the year before Business Review Week Australia's Rich 200. He had sent a letter to the BRW asking for inclusion in the Rich 200. The BRW naturally thought it odd someone would want their wealth on display and also thought it odd they had never heard of the guy before. In his letter he professed to be worth about AUD700mio and said he could prove it with a list of assets all around the world. He said he was waiting to be in the top 10 before applying but unfortunately things were taking a turn for the worst as he had been diagnosed with cancer. He died six weeks after he sent the letter.

A guy who chased a dream and succeeded………regardless of the end…….he had a cracker life."


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