Synopses & Reviews
An ex–Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball’s famed sabermetrics to place bets that would beat the Vegas odds on Major League Baseball games—with a 41 percent return in his first year. Trading Bases explains how he did it.
After the fall of Lehman Brothers, Joe Peta was out of a job. He found a new one but lost that, too, when an ambulance mowed him down. In search of a way to cheer himself up while he recuperated in a wheelchair, Peta started watching baseball again, as he had growing up. That’s when inspiration hit: Why not apply his outstanding risk-analysis skills to improve on sabermetrics, the method made famous by Moneyball—and beat the only market in town, the Vegas betting line? Why not treat MLB like the S&P 500?
In Trading Bases, Peta shows how to subtract luck—in particular “cluster luck,” as he puts it—from a team’s statistics to best predict how it will perform in the next game and over the whole season. His baseball “hedge fund” returned an astounding 41 percent in 2011—and has never been down more than 5 percent. Peta takes readers to the ballpark in San Francisco, trading floors and baseball bars in New York, and sports books in Vegas, all while tracing the progress of his wagers. Often humorous, occasionally touching, and with a wink toward the sheer implausibility of the whole project, Trading Bases is all about the love of critical reasoning, trading cultures, risk management, and baseball. And not necessarily in that order.
"You dont have to be a baseball analyst or former stock trader to connect with Trading Bases...Trading Bases will help you to be that fan." - Dallas Morning News
“Fascinating…reads like a mash up of Liars Poker
“[A] swaggering story from frantic stock trader to professional sports bettor....Even casual baseball fans could learn from it. Serious fans should slurp it up like ballpark beer.”—Los Angeles Times
“He reminds me of Nate Silver—hes able to blend different worlds (in this case, baseball and finance) using his intense knowledge of each to give us a very entertaining read.”—Play-by-Play Announcer for the San Francisco Giants and ESPN National Sportscaster Dave Flemming
“Peta created a reliable system for beating Vegas odds throughout the 2011 Major League season…but its clear he loves the game as much as the winnings. Moreover, he asks a number of salient questions, such as: How can businesses on Wall Street and beyond apply thinking used by baseball sabermetricians to strengthen their own organizations? The answers, and how Peta arrived at them, make for great reading.”—Booklist
An exWall Street trader improved on Moneyballs famed sabermetrics and beat the Vegas odds with his own betting methods. Here is the story of how Joe Peta turned fantasy baseball into a dream come true.
Joe Peta turned his back on his Wall Street trading career to pursue an ingeniousand incredibly riskydream. He would apply his risk-analysis skills to Major League Baseball, and treat the sport like the S&P 500.
In Trading Bases, Peta takes us on his journey from the ballpark in San Francisco to the trading floors and baseball bars of New York and the sportsbooks of Las Vegas, telling the story of how he created a baseball hedge fund” with an astounding 41 percent return in his first year. And he explains the unique methods he developed.
Along the way, Peta provides insight into the Wall Street crisis he managed to escape: the fragility of the midnineties investment model; the disgraced former CEO of Lehman Brothers, who recruited Peta; and the high-adrenaline atmosphere where million-dollar sports-betting pools were common.
About the Author
After earning an MBA from Stanfords Graduate School of Business, Joe Peta
was a Wall Street market maker and hedge fund stock trader for fifteen years, but he was a sports bettor for even longer. A lifelong baseball fan, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters.