Alan Woods was born in 1945 in the Northern NSW town of Murwillumbah. Alan passed away as a result of Appendix cancer on the 26th of January 2008 at the age of 62. Over the course of his life, he established himself as one of the all-time Punting Stars.
Woods fortune at the time of his death was estimated to of been north of $500 million. He is survived by two ex-wives, a son and a daughter.
Woods plied his trade in Horse Racing markets around the world but it was Hong Kong, and betting into the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s (HKJC) Tote that Woods really dominated.
In fact, it was reported in The Australian back in 2008 that Woods’ betting syndicate accounted for 2% of the HKJC’s $US64 billion turnover during the financial year 2006-07.
“I would not think that estimate is an exaggeration,” said John Schreck, former chief steward for the Australian Jockey Club in Sydney and later for the HKJC in the late 1990s
“To my knowledge, he never ever came racing while I was there (Hong Kong). But he had in his employ dozens of Filipinos running around carrying mobiles and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash waiting for instructions on how and what to bet.
“There was a time the Jockey Club closed his account but this was through a silly policy adopted from a misjudgment in management.
“In the main, the Jockey Club was and is sensitive about these people (betting syndicates) being the big customers that they are. I saw these people as professional gamblers and not a problem at all (to the integrity of racing).”
Alan Woods had a famous partnership with a fellow computer-based punter, Bill Benter, and their subsequent split is now infamous in horse racing circles.
Both went on to be ridiculously successful with Woods admitting in an interview that he thought Benter’s model was more accurate despite Woods arguably going onto be the larger and more successful punter.
Woods also had business dealings with Zeljko Ranogajec and was known as one of the top three punters in the world.
Like many of the worlds biggest and best punters – Woods loved playing cards and of course, dabbled in card counting.
He terrorized casinos all around the world and made thousands throughout the 80’s and 90’s.
Woods also admitted to ‘having a slap’ on the pokies in his early days!
“I can’t say I gave up poker machines because I was losing … I think it was because in Sydney they weren’t available to me. Was I aware of the government rake, or the disadvantage I was betting into, in those days? No. I wasn’t. Now, it seems bizarre to me that people can’t be aware of the disadvantage the average punter has.”
Back to the card counting – of which he started in 1979 after his break-up with partner Meredith and used his card counting skills to build up a betting bank that he later applied to his horse racing betting fund that he originally started with Bill Benter.
Alan Woods – The Horse Racing Punting Superstar
Woods is a born statistical punter and in Tony Wilson’s article he stressed multiple times all of the core principles of a disciplined punter.
Libertarian Investment Limited established itself as a world-class mathematically driven betting machine that applied their edge into various betting markets around the world.
Woods although at times a bit quirky, delivered many great lessons and reinforced key punting principles in his brief media outings.
- betting to maximize your edge
- knowing when to bet, and when to stay out
- not becoming emotionally affected by single outcomes
- sticking to a plan and following processes
He didn’t shy away from his love of a party drug or two but was also very generous with his time in money in supporting local communities and people.
He always had at least one (normally multiple) women by his side and for many – he lived the life that aspiring punters around the world dream of.
It wasn’t always a path to the top for Woods, though.
He and Bill Benter wiped out their first $150,000 bankroll in the first two years of their Hong Kong operation and then again a further $60,000 re-injected by Alan.
Things started to turn eventually but it wasn’t until Woods and Benter severed ties (in 1987) that Woods roll really started to skyrocket.
In 1987-88 he won HK$3 million. The next season $7 million. Then 11. Then 19.
In the space of a five years, he was a multi-millionaire and one of the most astute horse racing punters in the world.
So, how successful was Alan?
Well – a man by the name of Alan Wood famously sent this email to the BRW’s Rich 200 team the following email just weeks before his death.
“Dear Sir,” the email started.
“For some years I have considered contacting you in order to ascertain whether you might be interested in including me on your top 200 rich list…
“…I anticipate I can show about $700 million in hedge funds or time (sic) deposits plus equity in an unlisted company worth about $500 million.”
Incredible stuff and given the fact some of his ‘habits’ are rather expensive to finance just shows how much money he made over the years from betting.
Alan also was smart enough to dodge the tax man through a simple yet brilliant strategy.
“Theoretically I’m not resident anywhere, given I come here (the Philippines) on a tourist visa,” he told Tony Wilson.
“And my plan has been for some years not to be resident of any particular country for the rest of my life.”
We hope you enjoyed our collaboration on the great Alan Woods.
Credit to the following articles for providing some extra insight and info into our coverage.