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Precision: Statistical and Mathematical Methods in Horse Racing [Hardcover]

C X Wong
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 29.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Mar 2011
"Precision ... Statistical and Mathematical Methods in Horse Racing" thoroughly discusses the mathematical and statistical methods in handicapping and betting techniques. Differentiations, combinatorics, normal distribution, kernel smoothing and other mathematical and statistical tools are introduced. The jargons and equations are kept to a minimum so that it is easy to understand for most readers. More than 20 professional programs are freely available to download, which can allow readers to easily apply the methodology introduced in the book.

This book can be divided into three main parts: horse handicapping (Chapters 2-6), wagering (Chapters 7-9) and theories in practices (Chapters 10-11). Chapter 1 will explain why long term gains are possible in horse racing. About horse handicapping, we will start with analysing racing forms in Chapter 2. Other handicapping factors such as weight carried, jockeys, trainers and pedigrees will be discussed in Chapter 3. Some advanced statistical methods, such as chi-square test and kernel smoothing, will be introduced in Chapter 4 to further analyse those handicapping factors discussed in previous chapters. The following two chapters are about probability estimations. In Chapter 5, normal distribution and multinominal logistic regression are introduced in estimating winning probability of each race horse. In Chapter 6, we will talk about some methods in misconceptions in estimating placed probability.

Two main concepts in wagering, Kelly criterion and hedging, will be discussed in Chapters 7 and 8. To hit exotic pools, those theories in combinatorics in Chapter 9 will definitely help the readers. The author will share his experiences in betting syndicate in Chapter 10, and tell you how to be a successful professional horseplayer in the last Chapter.

Some readers may find the mathematics in this book difficult, but the free program will take your pain away and do all the calculations. You can simply apply all the professional formulae by no more than a click, and pick your horses like an expert analyst.

As an awardee in Asian-Pacific Mathematics Olympiad, the author abandoned his career as an actuary and became a key member in a gambling syndicate. This book was reprinted in the 4th edition in Hong Kong, ranked #2 in the best-selling chart in the international Chinese weekly Yazhou Zhoukan, and now available worldwide.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (28 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1432768522
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432768522
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 472,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 18 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The kind of a book I was looking for, met all my expectations! Must read for those who want to make profit from Horse Racing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing of interest for the British Punter 4 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was a major disappointment and I learned nothing that could be used for British horse racing, and I am a speed handicapper.
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2.0 out of 5 stars not what I expected 3 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I couldn't make head nor tail of it.Did not give me any useful info I could use.Not value for money could not recommend it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish 30 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
impossible to read this book which is either badly written without any notion of English syntax, or poorly translated from Chinese. Either way a waste of money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new perspective with new insight. 26 April 2011
By zerocred - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I find this book is very helpful to give new perspective on assessing horse races. All the other books I have fail to describe why their selected example winners aren't just luck, this book shows why.

He uses plenty of examples to describe how you go about choosing your performance factors based on hard measured figures, then how to estimate the probability and find overlays. Importantly he shows how to identify which factors matter and those that don't. If you want to follow the maths, it can be heavy going, but the excel programs do the heavy lifting for you. There's enough layman explanations to keep you up to speed so you know what he is trying to show. There's also some interesting war stories about what it's like on the inside of a betting syndicate.

If you want to round out your betting knowledge but don't know excel this will be your best excuse to learn it! The book definitely covers material that I've never seen published elsewhere. This will be a reference along side my Automated Exchange betting and Efficiency of Racetrack Betting Markets.

I think this will help anyone trying to get to grips with the maths of gambling, its examples are from Hong Kong racing but the practical application of underlying principles can be applied to all sorts of markets.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a Hard Read 27 Dec 2011
By JJohns - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a hard read. First, it was originally written in Chinese and it is clear that the translator's first language is not English, because the grammar is incorrect in places. Next, it is written at above high school reading level and covers statistics formulas that can be difficult to understand at first (at least they were for me). However, I believe this can be a very valuable resource. If you already have an understanding of handicapping and are willing to do the work to learn the statistical formulas presented in the book, then I believe you can wager profitably at the racetrack.

If you are looking for a book to teach you handicapping skills, then this book is not for you. However, if you already have a good knowledge of handicapping and are looking for something to help your wagering become profitable, then perhaps you should give this book a look.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great addition to betting literature 14 May 2011
By Anthony - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable read from someone that plays the horseracing game in one of the world's centre of thoroughbred racing. What I enjoyed most is CXWong's effort to put together many ideas from the past and the present, and from the Western world as well as the Oriental world, and put them together in a nice and easy package for the reader to easily understand the concepts behind betting professionally on horse racing; this is probably one of the best effort I have seen anywhere. The author excels in the mathematics field, yet he is able to communicate in an everyday's language so that the reader do not have to be a maths genius to understand. Some of the content like Harville Formula (Chapter 6) and Kelly's Criterion (Chapter 7) are probably only for serious players who have a strong foundation in mathematics, yet there are also enough materials (e.g. Handicapping Factors in Chapter 2 and 3, and character of successful professional horseplayer in Chapter 11) to satisfy any regular horseracing player. Hong Kong racing is famous for its exotic pools opportunities; CXWong has provide in depth analyses and recommendations into various plays available in betting into pools involving a single race as well as multiple races. Again I applaud his effort here as I believe he is the first person to make a serious attempt to indulge into this area; it will be very difficult to find such information elsewhere. The book is written in the context of Hong Kong racing, yet readers from anywhere in the world should find a lot of ideas and information applicable to racing and other games elsewhere in the world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of a Bad Bunch 28 Sep 2012
By Book Barbarian - Published on
Most horse racing books suffer from one or more of these flaws:
1. They were written 20-30 years ago and either:
a. The game has changed - for example, many systems have rules like "discard any horse that has had more than a 10 day layoff," (Ainslie) which in the 21st century would eliminate entire fields, even entire programs of horses.
b. The methods still work (speed ratings) to pick winners but are so widely known as to depress the parimutuel prices *below* just picking horses at random, or betting all favorites.
2. the systems within NEVER worked and have no scientific basis (95% of others). The author cannot make money at handicapping, only at writing. Cherrypicked anecdotal evidence is given: old racing forms are reprinted, and the author works through his selection method, showing you how he picked the "obvious" 15-1 winner. Of course, he never (except Beyer) highlights the numerous examples where he was wrong, using the same methods.
3. The book spends many pages explaining how to keep records and calculate speed and pace ratings, when today, computer databases and spreadsheets are prevalent and equal or higher quality figures are printed in the Form or its competitors.

#3 is a proper method, these books (Quirin is the best example) are merely outdated, but at least are based in science and show HOW a winning system could be constructed using sound mathematical principles.

Wong picks up where Quirin left off. Not just a "system," he shows you how to use statistics to analyze data. Think of it as a math book where all the examples come from horse racing. Realize that though he provides many helpful tips, this is a work-intensive process. It's also somewhat challenging, though with careful study, and some external work, even the average educated reader will benefit. If you're mathematically deficient, and don't want to put in the work, you won't get much out of the book. I would rate the math required to understand the book as "Statistics I" and "Probability I" in college. Wong provides about 20 (downloadable) spreadsheets to aid the reader.

There are two flaws with the book:
1. The English is poor. While 99% understandable, nearly every sentence contains a grammatical mistake. I found myself reading each sentence, having to think about it for a second, then proceeding to the next. This could have been easily corrected by the publisher. I could do it myself, just fixing the errors, and not having to translate the Chinese from scratch.
2. Even though this edition has been "Westernized", it's based on Hong Kong racing. This isn't as big a problem as you would think. Wong doesn't make blanket statements like "bet every horse who..." or "the best jockeys are...," and teaches the reader to think for himself. However, a few minor confusions arise. When he talks about "barriers" in races, I initially thought he was referring to some sort of steeplechase race, until I realized he meant "post position".

Despite the flaws, I must give the book a five-star rating. It's a serious and workable approach to actually "beating the races." Beating the races may entail hundreds of hours of work, and your time may be better spent in other pursuits, but if you're determined, this book will be an invaluable headstart. If there were dozens of other good, more neatly written handicapping tracts published in the last 20 years, I would not rate the book so highly. But there are certainly not.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very good horse handicapping book 25 Aug 2011
By Klinsmann - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I always want to find a book which talks about horse handicapping from a mathematical point of view and now I have found it. This book mainly talks about how we can use statistical and mathematical methods to calculate, inter alia, expected value of each horse and therefore probability and ultimately how much we should bet by using Kelly Criterion. The author has tried his best to explain the methods in a simple way but I still find them a bit difficult because my mathematics is only up to O level (and therefore I do not know concepts such as differentiation). Anyway, most readers should be able to understand the concept and logic behind each method. The author also allows the readers to download his spreadsheets from his website and so readers can actually look into the formulas and understand what each model is doing. The only defect in this book is that Kelly Criterion is not explained although it is not a problem for me and some experienced horse handicappers.
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