Odd Lots: How a Professor Made 500 Percent on His Money by Gambling on an Obscure Sport

Computerized trading of a different sort.
Source: Lander Eizagirre, Wikimedia Commons

Every week, hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so-random walk through hot topics in markets, finance, and economics.

This week we talk to Steven Skiena, a professor of computer science at Stony Brook University, who tells us about the time he made 500 percent on his money by gambling on the obscure sport of jai alai.

For those who don't know, jai alai is a little bit like racquetball or handball, except the ball is extremely hard and can travel nearly 200 miles per hour. It's a Basque game that's mostly just played in South Florida where it's become a popular venue for gambling. 

Armed with computers and algorithms, Skiena and his team were able to crack the betting system and rapidly multiply their money. Skiena tells us how he beat the system and the lessons that can be applied to much bigger arenas, such as algorithmic trading in the stock market.

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