• Bluelight

    A memorial
    to Bluelighters
    who have passed away

Rest In Peace, Alan (xtcxtc)


Staff member
Oct 27, 1999
Melbourne, Australia
On Australia Day, January 26th, the world lost a true original and Bluelight lost its patron.

Some of you may have known that Bluelight had a principal sponsor. Some of you may even have known, or guessed, who it was. It is safe to say that few knew how truly generous a man he was or how sincerely he loved this site of ours. There has always been a careful dance of privacy and respect when publically acknowledging who he was and what he has done for us, but now the time has come for full disclosure.

"xtcxtc" was his handle here but his real name was Alan Woods.

The official history of Bluelight, like most history, is a collection of names and dates that gives no real indication of the struggles and anxiety that the creation and growth of a community this size brings. Walter and Jase and all who came afterwards were always dealing with the problem of a site that was just getting too damn popular for its own good. A moment came when what began as a hobby was about to turn professional – in the sense that actual cash money was going to have to be spent on it – if if it was to continue at all.

None of us had ever attempted this before. Hell, it was almost ten years ago, back in the mists of the dawn of the Internet. No one knew you could actually make money off sites, at least not on a small, manageable size. These days every fool can "monetize" a "blog" but I doubt we had even heard either of those words at that time.

Not long after we began calling out for donations and ideas of how to go forward we received an email from a regular user who said, simply, "Whatever you need, just send me the bills". Literally, that was all that he said. If there was one thing that stayed consistent about Alan over the years it was his brevity.

Understandably it took a while for us to a) realise he was serious and b) realise that he could most certainly afford it. He had been around the site for as long as anyone could remember, adding his opinion to many a thread and posting up hilarious stories of high jinks that seemed, at the time, to be fictional. But we then discovered the next of Alan's consistent traits: he never lied. He was always good to his word, with the promises he made, as well as the stories he told.

It is hard to convey the relief we felt to know that we could put aside the worry of the financial elements and focus strictly on the site itself. Bluelight would not be the site it is today without that freedom. We have been able to use the talents and enthusiasm of our volunteers to improve the experience for everyone without ever having worry how the next server bill was going to be paid.

Those times are over but this is no cause for alarm. We will discuss where we go next in another thread, but this one is about Alan and it acknowledging that without his unflagging support we would not be the strong site we are today – a site that can cheerfully move forward to the next part of its life.

Below I have posted one of the many obituaries of Alan. It will give you an idea, if you weren't already aware, of how truly incredible his life story was. I will also later be adding some personal anecdotes of my (all too few) meetings with Alan and share some of the stories he told.

Bluelight is black today. A sign of respect for the passing of a friend, and for all the friends that are no longer with us. A time such as this is not about what we lost but what we share. And where we go next.

Horse Racing Guru Alan Woods Dies

January 28, 2008

The world's most successful horse-racing gambler, Australian Alan Woods, died in Hong Kong on Saturday night.

Woods, 62, recently diagnosed with appendiceal cancer, is believed to have suffered a pulmonary embolism. He had begun chemotherapy treatment two weeks ago and passed away in the intensive care unit of the Sanitorium Hospital at Happy Valley in the presence of family and friends.

Born in 1945 in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Woods showed an early aptitude for mathematics at school but was a losing punter in his earliest days at university and gambling played little part in his life until his 30s.

Working as an actuary in the late 1970s, Woods learned to count cards at blackjack and became a serious gambler for the first time in his life, travelling the world for three years as a professional card counter and undertaking all kinds of disguises and subterfuge to avoid identification by the world's casinos.

But his earnings at blackjack were tiny compared with his subsequent career in racing. Woods turned to horseracing in New Zealand in 1982 then shifted his life and focus to Hong Kong, and its big pools, in 1984.

A founding partner in the earliest computer betting team in Hong Kong, which split after a dispute between the partners in the early 1990s, Woods established his own hugely successful betting operation, with employees based around the world and had built a fortune estimated at more than US$600 million before his death.

Even as Woods grew to the point of dominating the Hong Kong betting scene in recent years, even over and above other successful computer teams, he also enjoyed his wealth and was famed in Hong Kong racing circles for his bacchanalian parties and celebrations.

Once a regular in Wan Chai's bars and nightclubs, Woods had become more reclusive and relocated to Manila several years ago, but his operation continued to annually lay out between one and two per cent of Hong Kong's entire racing turnover (which totalled US$64 billion in the last completed season).

He is survived by two ex-wives, two sons and a daughter.

"My father achieved great success at something so many people dream of doing well and fail to achieve but, along the way, he also provided jobs and support for so many friends - he kept them close to him and brought so many people together," said his daughter, Victoria, yesterday.

Last edited by a moderator:


Bluelight Crew
Sep 8, 2002
California Republic

I will always remember our talks. We still have a date with the ponies. If there's another side, I will eventually see you there. All of Bluelight is grateful for your immense contribution to our mission. I am grateful for the initial small conflict of values that led to our communications. Having found common ground with you taught me a lot about leadership, and that was before I ever knew you as anything other than a name on a message board. Thank you for guiding me and for the kick in the arse I needed. You never guided me wrong.

Thank you for your gifts to us. One would never expect a professional horse better to be a philanthropist, but you did so much for so many. Your memory lives on through all of us who knew you, however peripherally. You did it "your way" for sure. You lived one hell of a life, that's for sure.

To all: the reason you may not have known that Alan was our benefactor was that he expressed a wish not to be treated any differently than any other Bluelighter. For all Alan's success and all he gave us, he was never a braggart and never had a sense of entitlement.

Back to Alan: my life would not be what it is without you, and that is a small part of what you've done. Without Bluelight, I would not have my partner, my lifelong friends, and knowledge that may have saved my life. I will forever remember you with fondness, occasional amusement, and respect. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for everything. Goodbye, and see you at the races someday.


Bluelight Crew
Apr 19, 2001
rest in peace excellent sir.

i had a glimmer of hope to meet you next year in amsterdam. as it now stands, i'll have to wait a little longer. :(

Winding Vines

Nov 10, 2002
Hypers p a c e
You know, I feel like I've been hit with a bat. So many little times he and i would chat, always was great.

But to know, that with his support throughout the many crazy years (and you all know who i talk about when i say crazy :-D ). What a sad week, I mean god I wish i was best friends with him, what an amazing person and how so many of us impact eachother its beautiful. I hope bluelight becomes stronger throughout even the saddest times, this has been my home for the past almost 6 years, my mental institution and procrastination. ha!

I hope we all take time to appreciate what a special, unique and dynamic community we have, and how even I take it for granted, like a marriage, don't we all. Humility is so frail.

But damn, I don't know what kind of a person I would be without my best friends, lovers, fighters, and role models.

bless us all.

PS- Allan hope you are sittin with bud-ala-jes-a hoti and a sweet laptop with a T-3 lurking man. Thank you so much, I hope you are reincarnated, because this world lacks so much kindness.
Last edited:


Bluelight Crew
Aug 20, 2001
alan, you have left us all an amazing gift. the man may pass but the legacy lives on. RIP.


Dec 21, 2003
the grass was greener
the light was brighter
the taste was sweeter
the nights of wonder
with friends surrounded
the dawn mist glowing
the water flowing
the endless river
forever and ever



Nov 5, 2002
Columbus Oh
I'm not ready to make a complete reply to this.

Does anyone have some of the old content about Alan? Skydance posted some things long ago about his horse racing software, and some of his other ventures. Now that he's passed I don't think we need to conceal this information anymore. He was a extremely interesting person, and it would be nice to share some of life with everyone now.


Bluelight Crew
Jun 20, 2007
Yesterday was the first day I stumbled upon his gallery. Then I happened to stumble upon a thread about him in the lounge. This is completely unreal since I had JUST discovered him. Since I spend a lot of my time on BL I thought about him a lot today since I had always wondered who paid for BL. This is insane actually, and is deeply disturbing. Rest in peace :(


Nov 5, 2002
Columbus Oh

The story of computer-assisted betting in Hong Kong begins with Bill Benter, the US-educated, impeccably dressed technician who developed the first successful programme put to use at Happy Valley. The importance of his pioneering work is confirmed by rivals and experts alike. Benter got his start in the mid-1970s, when he discovered Beat the Dealer, a bible for blackjack card counters. He memorised the best-selling book's strategies and hit the casino circuit, where he met his future partner, Alan Woods, a former actuary turned counter. In Las Vegas Benter stumbled on a slim handicapping guide - and turned from casinos to horse racing.

Equipped with a $150,000 bankroll provided mostly by Woods, the two card-counters planned to apply the theories of winning at blackjack to winning at the races. Beat the Dealer, after all, had been written with the aid of a computer that analysed every possible situation at a blackjack table and assigned numerical values based on which cards remained in the deck. The idea, when you follow that best-selling guide, is to rigorously stick to its formula and bet high - even when you have only a tiny advantage. In the long run, despite frequent fluctuations and potentially long periods of losing, you will win a prescribed percentage of money.

By the time their computer programme had been fully refined, he and Woods had bitterly fallen out. But in the end, each wound up with an odds- and probability-crunching machine. Woods, now operating out of Manilla with a Hong Kong-based team, uses off-the-rack Pentium computers, still runs DOS, and employs an out-of-print program called Revelation for his database. At its core, it remains the original system.

Most telling of all, though, when winners cross the finish line, you don't hear even a whoop from Woods and his crew. As any punter can tell you, the real miracle of this technology is that winning fails to come as a surprise.

This isn't the content I'm looking for, but it's a start.