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Chapter 11 - The First Half

Before the beginning of the first race, Jack and Leonard showed one another what betting tickets they had purchased.

Jack, after asking Halle for her opinion, eventually settled on placing ten thousand mira on a trifecta of cars 5, 1, and 3. His reasoning was that cars 5 and 1 had the highest total number of races won, while 3 had shown a lot of potential in recent races. His bet was relatively safe and grounded in logic, but with just enough of an element of unpredictability to keep things interesting.

Seeing his choice, Leonard laughed, remarking,

'Someone hasn't changed.'

His ticket, meanwhile, was an exacta box on cars 1 and 3, on which he had placed a 20,000 mira bet.

Jack was surprised. The Leonard he knew would have gone for an exacta box on cars 1 and 5, or perhaps pushed his luck slightly and gone for an exacta on cars 5 and 1. Leonard, however, had defied expectation by going for 1, the second most popular car, and the recently successful car 3. If anything, Jack thought, that was the kind of bet King would have made.

Realizing what was on Jack's mind, Leonard's smile widened. 'My time in politics has taught me a lot of things, Jack.'

Fifteen minutes later, the result of the first race came in. Car 3 had come in first place, followed by 1, then car 5 in third. Car 3 had, it seemed, shown its potential yet again.

As a result of the outcome, Leonard won his bet while Jack lost. Jack's total mira decreas while Leonard's increased to almost 150,000.

Nike giggled. 'Seems we're off to a good start.'

Leonard drew her in close and whispered in her ear, 'All thanks to you.'

Jack averted his eyes.

Halle tugged on his sleeve to get his attention.

'Don't worry, Jack, we're only just getting started!' No matter what she said, though, there was a 60,000 mira difference in their totals right off the bat, and that was a significant difference.

The second race began.

Jack once again placed 10,000 mira on a trifecta, while Leonard went with a much more certain show bet. This time, however, he placed all of the 50,000 mira he had won from the first race on it.

Once more, Jack's bet fell short and his pool of mira dropped to 80,000. Leonard, meanwhile, was successful a second time and boosted his earnings to over 170,000 mira. Leonard now had twice the amount that Jack did.

The third race began.

For a third time, Jack placed 10,000 mira on a trifecta. Leonard went for a slightly more risky bet than usual and wagered 20,000 mira on an exacta. This time, both men lost their bets.

Finally, it was time for the last race in the first half to begin. Jack, seemingly undeterred by his continual losses, once again staked 10,000 mira on a trifecta. Leonard could only sigh at Jack's refusal to learn from his mistakes, but Jack paid him no mind. For his part, Leonard went for another exacta, but this time he placed 30,000 mira on it.

Leonard won his bet, and Jack lost his.

The race over, the first half came to an end. Jack was left with only 60,000 mira, while Leonard had increased his winnings to over 240,000 mira, roughly four times the amount Jack had left.

'Haha. Luck sure seems to be on my side today, huh, Jack?' Leonard taunted. Jack said nothing.

There was a roughly hour long break between the first and second halves. After beckoning Halle to follow him, Jack walked quickly out of the room and over to their waiting area.

Barely through the doorway, Halle threw up her hands and cried, 'What're we gonna do, Jack? If we don't turn things around fast, we're screwed! We need to start making safer bets next time and--'

Jack cut her off. 'Nah. Even if we were to win bets like that, they're not gonna be enough to close the gap between us. As soon as we start thinking like that, this gamble's as good as lost.'

'Well, sure, but still...'

Contrary to Jack's seeming casualness, however, he didn't really have any better ideas than Halle did. He was racking his brain for one just as much as she was. What he DID know was that the gap between he and Leonard was too great for them to be able to win based on instinct alone.

Halle suddenly brightened. 'Oh, yeah! I did notice something that stood out in the race data...'

As a general rule of thumb, betting on popular and proven teams tended to lead to relatively low payouts if they won, while unpopular and generally unsuccessful teams gave much greater payouts.

Races held at this track were somewhat different, though. In particular, major events like the one currently underway had higher than normal payout rates, meaning that bettors received much more than they otherwise would.

As one example of this, generally, teams that consistently lost accordingly paid the highest dividends dividends on the off-chance that they won, and far from deterring bettors, this often attracted lots of people who wanted to bet on underdogs and win big. In theory, large numbers of people betting on such underdogs would make the potential payouts decrease, but the payout rates were adjusted to make sure they didn't fall too much in order to keep things exciting for the gamblers who were betting.

Even factoring in all of that, Halle went on, there was one team whose potential payout seemed odd. Jack had a look, and sure enough, he found himself agreeing. It wasn't odd to the extent that the average person would notice, but she wasn't wrong.

The driver for that team was a man named Carlos, a real veteran racer who held the current official record for the most consecutive victories. It was an achievement that had earned him the nickname 'Legend.'

In recent years, however, he'd stopped winning at all, a fact that had led to more and more people calling him 'Legendary Loser' instead. He was also an old friend of King's. Jack himself had met the man, too.

Jack chewed over her finding for a minute then said,

'Thanks for the tip, Halle. I'm just gonna step out for a bit, okay? Soon as our break's over, head back on over to the VIP room without me.'

'W-Wait a second!' she shouted after him, but he paid her no mind and strolled nonchalantly out of the room.