When someone asks Ron Cooper what he does for a living, the former social worker and auditor says he’s “a self-employed statistical analyst.”
When that response is met with a blank stare he simply says, “I’m a gambler.”
Cooper, 66, gave himself a raise on Sunday when he hit the Hollywood Park Pick 6 for $169,375 plus eight consolations worth $779.40 each for a pre-tax payout of $175,610.20 on a $210 play.
“I always get a nice, warm fuzzy feeling after a large hit,” Cooper said from his Williamsburg, Kentucky, home. “My biggest one was for about $800,000 in 2004, and I’ve had a couple around $500,000, but I’ve lost count of all the six-figure scores. I guess that’s a good problem to have or I’m getting old.”
Cooper uses the Plus V data files from Brisnet.com (as a TSC Elite member, Cooper gets 20% off Brisnet.com purchases) in a software he helped develop that not only selects contenders but also how to play them in multi-race wagers. It’s a system that makes Steve Crist’s ABC system seem like child’s play, as Cooper’s winning Pick 6 play was 29 different tickets for just 105 combinations.
“The method that I use is totally different than what most anybody you’d run into does,” Cooper said. “By the time I’m finished handicapping it’s all numbers to me. Back when I used to go to the OTB people—knowing I’m a professional gambler—would come up to me and ask me about such-and-such horse, and I wouldn’t have any answers for them. I only know them by numbers when I bet them.
Cooper does not go to off-track betting any longer because Kentucky OTB closed its Corbin location just south of Williamsburg, but Cooper is happy to have discovered the online convenience of TwinSpires.com, though, because instead of having to call out those 29 different Pick 6 tickets to a teller he can now upload them and play them all at once without fear of missing anything or losing a ticket.
“I don’t look at past performances or pay attention to the pundits,” he continued. “I trust my data, software, and formulas. My program uses a multiple-ticket approach. It might spit out say six horses in one race, but it doesn’t like all six horses equally, but if you use all six horses on every ticket then you’re using the sixth-ranked horse as much as your top choice, and I don’t like doing that.”
Cooper got his start in gambling on poker and moved on to counting cards at blackjack. After being kicked out of several Las Vegas casinos, Cooper said he realized he needed to shift his focus to beating other players rather than the house, and that’s when he discovered horse racing.
“Racing fascinated me right off the bat because I saw it as a game where you didn’t necessarily have a disadvantage like you do in roulette,” said Cooper who put his business degree to work researching racing statistics.
Cooper said he still gets the casino bug every now and then and makes the about-three-hour journey to one of the casinos north of the Ohio River for entertainment purposes, but betting on racing is his only source of income, and he does it nearly every day chasing multi-race carryovers coast to coast.