About Dave Schwartz

I’m your host, Dave Schwartz, respon­si­ble for just about every­thing on this site. This is a place for me to rant about hand­i­cap­ping to my heart’s con­tent. Rest assured that this is not another blog about what’s wrong with rac­ing (although there is plenty), who the great­est horse of all time is (clearly Sec­re­tariat) or how great my prod­ucts are (yes, I sell stuff). This site is about handicapping!

My Story
I was born in Ft. Laud­erdale, Florida and grew up in Hol­ly­wood, just a few miles from Gulf­stream Park and even closer to Calder. The South Florida of the 1960s was full of gam­bling in spite of the many “blue laws” still in effect back then. My father once owned a gam­bling house in Nia­gara Falls and was a very savvy gam­bler. His belief was that all males will even­tu­ally be intro­duced to gam­bling in one form or another and that it was bet­ter to win than to lose. There­fore, he set out to arm me with as much gam­bling knowl­edge as pos­si­ble. I like to say that I was raised with a pair of dice in one hand and a deck of cards in the other.

I was a pre­co­cious child. It is prob­a­bly safe to say that I was the only child in my 3rd grade class that could explain why there was only one way to win a hard eight and ten ways to lose or that the house advan­tage on roulette was 5.26%. Although teach­ing a young child how to gam­ble is not some­thing I agree with, it cer­tainly armed me with a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on life.

When I was nine, a friend of my father’s came to visit. He asked, “Can the kid deal?” I said, “Sure!” and pro­ceeded to illus­trate by deal­ing cards around the table much as any nine-year old would do.

“He’s got the cards in the wrong hand!” says the friend. “No, this is the way I do it,” I replied.

My father told me to put the deck into the other hand and never deal right-handed again. Seven years later, when I was work­ing my way through high school deal­ing black­jack at an ille­gal casino in Miami, I would come to under­stand that it is a big advan­tage for a black­jack dealer to be left-handed because it was eas­ier to see the top card (before it is dealt).

Mine was not a nor­mal childhood.

Dave Schwartz, Gambler
At sev­en­teen I was a col­lege student/pool player, at eigh­teen a begin­ning card counter and at nine­teen a sol­dier. After the mil­i­tary and a stint in the life insur­ance busi­ness, I found myself in the most log­i­cal of places for me: Las Vegas. It was there that my skill at card count­ing brought my first real gam­bling suc­cess. I was very tough to beat because I could not be cheated. (“It takes one to know one” is an applic­a­ble axiom here.) When you remove cheat­ing and uneth­i­cal prac­tices from the game of black­jack it begins to look like it does on the din­ing room table.

After about 18 months of play and rack­ing up about $500k in prof­its (a lot of money in the 1970s) I found my black­jack career over. I sim­ply could not find a game to play.

1978, My Year of the Horse
By now the die was cast (so to speak), so I looked for some­thing else to beat.

I con­sid­ered sports bet­ting, but the­o­rized that, after win­ning for a cou­ple of years I could eas­ily find myself unable to make a bet just as with black­jack. The thought of going through all that again and wind­ing up barred was just intol­er­a­ble. Horse rac­ing was the log­i­cal choice. At least they don’t bar you from the track for winning.

The year was 1978 and micro com­put­ers were brand new. I was sure that about six months of run­ning data through my Apple com­puter would yield me a win­ning sys­tem and a life­time of income.

Nine years later, in 1987, I became prof­itable for the first time. Along the way I had become a full-fledged com­puter pro­fes­sional. By then I also had a fam­ily and was sup­port­ing myself as a craps and black­jack dealer in Reno (a much nicer place to live than Las Vegas) and doing com­puter con­sult­ing on the side. I decided that the time was right for me to become a full-time player and for over a year I sup­ported myself bet­ting the horses every day.

It was a tough time. In the race­book at 6:30am to get ready for the day’s races, play­ing all day and return­ing home each night around 10:30pm after the late races. I recall start­ing each month with about $600-$800. At the end of the month I would grind out just enough money to pay the bills and start the next month with about the same bankroll. I worked very hard at “not working.”

Dave Schwartz, Horse Rac­ing Businessman
In 1989 I decided to take the two things I enjoyed most in the world, horse rac­ing and com­put­ers, and put them together in a busi­ness. The fol­low­ing spring, in April, 1990, I released my first com­mer­cial soft­ware prod­uct, Thoro­Brain, a neural net­work hand­i­cap­ping tool. I designed and wrote the neural net myself, an espe­cially dif­fi­cult feat because at the time I had never heard of a neural net­work. Years later I found out that what I had writ­ten was called a “com­peti­tor” net­work. MY work pre­dated the other com­peti­tor net­works by at least two years. Not bad for an un-papered, two-fingered typist.  (Starting with “Thoro­Brain V” the name belonged to someone else. That is, it was not my software.)

Over the years I have writ­ten many dif­fer­ent arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence approaches to hand­i­cap­ping. I have writ­ten genetic algo­rithms, my version of swarm intel­li­gence and, most recently, deci­sion mar­ket processes, all of which exist in our cur­rent soft­ware, The Hors­eS­treet Handicapper.

I am also the cre­ator of The Hors­eS­treet Pars. My par times, first released in 1991, are the stan­dard for track-to-track adjust­ments today. Every March we release a new set of the pars.

I have writ­ten two money man­age­ment man­u­scripts: Horse­Mar­ket Invest­ing, a stock mar­ket approach to horse bet­ting, and The Oppo­nent Method, an anti-Kelly approach.

Recently I produced a new, break through product – Improve or Decline: Unlocking the Mystery of Form, which has met with tremendous acceptance by its users.

My client-base today includes sev­eral Asian, Aus­tralian and U.S.-based “whale” teams as well as more than a hand­ful of pro­fes­sional play­ers. World­wide, my pro­fes­sional clients wager almost a bil­lion dol­lars each year

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