Alan Woods (gambler)
|Died|| (aged 62)|
|Net worth||AU$670 million|
Alan Woods (1945 – 26 January 2008) was an Australian and Hong Kong professional gambler and mathematician considered among the biggest gamblers in the world. Woods focused on blackjack and betting on horse racing. He has worked with Bill Benter and Zeljko Ranogajec during his career and "pioneered quantitative gambling by betting on Hong Kong horse races". His estimated net worth at the time of his death was AU$670 million.
Woods was raised in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia. His parents ran a newsagency, followed by a cordial factory and a hotel. Woods was not exposed to gambling in his youth and played solo whist with his family. He studied mathematics at the University of New England, in Armidale but dropped out his final year before graduating. There Woods began playing poker machines and described himself as a losing player. He stopped due to a relocation to Sydney where poker machines were not available. He also worked for a time as an insurance actuary.
Woods was introduced to card counting in blackjack from his fellow bridge players. He tested the method and won a few thousand dollars. Woods did not focus on gambling seriously until his wife left him in 1979. Afterwards, he played blackjack in Hobart and won $16,000 in four months. He moved to Las Vegas where he won an additional $100,000.
Woods retired from professional blackjack in 1982 and focused on horse betting in Hong Kong due to the small pool of horses. There he met Bob Moore and Bill Benter. Benter and Woods worked on a computer model "based on mathematics, to choose race winners based on formulaic consideration of track, form, weather and other factors". The model began generating $100,000 in the 1987 racing season. That same year Benter and Woods dissolved the partnership.
Woods died of appendiceal cancer on 26 January 2008 shortly after he was diagnosed.
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