1 year ago - 6 minute read

Meet the Speakers: Harry Enten, the man changing the way we think about political betting


Harry Enten is one of a new generation of analysts revolutionising the way the world thinks about politics. Ferociously bright and numerically led he focuses on letting the data make sense of a political world that seems constantly in chaos. He’s not interested in the theatre, but who is going to win. And that makes him one of the most valuable analysts when it comes to the rapidly growing world of political betting.

The man known as “Whiz Kid” has the sort of sharp analytical brain that can make you feel sluggish in comparison. He draws from a range of sources including polling, demographic and historical data to form concise unbiased conclusions that let the numbers do the talking. He breaks down politics the way a professional trader breaks down a horse racing market, looking at the form, the most recent data and the markets to construct probabilities.

At the Matchbook Traders Conference he will be speaking about the future of political betting and how you can profit in a world where surprises are becoming the new normal. Read on to find out a bit more about the man behind the data.

Harry Enten: Senior Political Writer and Analyst for FiveThirtyEight

Harry Enten is a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, the research organisation focused on statistical analysis of politics, economics, culture, and sports. A graduate of Dartmouth where he gained a government degree with a specialism in statistics he rose to prominence through his now defunct blog Margin of Error where he mixed weather predictions with personal anecdotes.

After graduating he continued to blog on politics and often used his sharp analysis of data to take contrarian views that challenge conventional wisdom, which is something he still does today. After picking up freelance writing assignments from the likes of the Guardian in the UK he turned it into a full time role and caught the eye of Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight where he became one of his first hires when the site was relaunched under ESPN.

At FiveThirtyEight Harry is leading a significant shift in the way that political journalism is practiced, one that relies on polling data rather than human sources and that tells stories based on numbers rather than anecdotes — conclusions that are as free as possible from assumptions. Enten was described by the Columbia Journalism Review as being of a new generation of political journalists, focusing on data-driven journalism.

Harry at the Traders Conference

The future of political betting. After one of the most seismic periods of change in the modern era when the US and UK elections have consistently delivered up “shock” results he will look at the lessons learned and how this should shape our thinking in the future. It’s a broad topic but one that is full of subtle detail and potentially huge opportunities for traders.

Harry will talk specifically about what we can take from the 2016 election betting markets – particularly the US Presidential Election and Brexit – and how to apply this knowledge to profit from upcoming elections both in the UK and the US. He will also discuss his approach to analysing political markets and his use of both current and historical data to arrive at conclusions.

Why should you be interested?

Harry is part of a new generation of thinkers who strips out the emotion and need for a narrative and replaces it with cold, considered analysis. His methodologies, insight and approach are a hugely valuable resource to tap into and can help you understand and gain value from what is becoming one of the biggest new betting markets.

The recent US and UK elections were some of the biggest exchange betting markets in history, and some of the most volatile with huge swings not just in the months leading up to the day but during the election nights themselves. What was most significant of all, however, was the value and accuracy of the markets as a prediction tool and the implications for how to use this to bet and trade these markets in the future.

Right now, it appears that prediction markets have arrived at a paradoxical place: Their reliability, the very source of their prestige, is causing them to fail. Belief in the correctness of prediction markets causes them to be too stable. Traders are treating market odds as correct probabilities and not updating enough based on outside information.

Harry will help show how historical factors, greater interrogation of available data and an approach that treats it more like a horse race than an emotional contest can help you make sense of an ever more confusing political world.

Where can I find out more about him?

Read Harry’s latest work over at FiveThirtyEight or his twitter
@forecasterenten. You can read an in-depth profile of him in this long read at the Columbia Journalism Review.

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