Famous Roulette Bets

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Everyone loves a game of roulette, whether with friends at a glamorous party or playing in a casino online at home. The element of chance, as well as the often-fantastical outcomes, is enough to keep any casino fan on the edge of his or her seat, especially if you’ve hit one of the fabulous ‘lucky streaks’ that occasionally occur. But while you may play with friends for fun, life-changing fortunes have been won and lost at the roulette table over the years, with the players that have managed this going down in casino history.

You may have heard of the song ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’, but did you know this popular tune as actually based on a real life roulette champ? In 1891 a Mr Charles Wells managed to break the bank of every table he played on in a casino in Monte Carlo. This meant that he won all the money the table had on offer, meaning play would have to be stopped until the funds could be replaced. While it’s highly likely he did have a special technique up his sleeve, private detectives were unable to work out what it was, as Charles stubbornly put his huge wins down to a lucky streak. We may never know the truth, but it’s certainly the first roulette game to spurn a hit pop song.

However, Charles Wells was not the first man to take Monte Carlo by storm. A British engineer called Joseph Jagger (allegedly a distant relation of Mick), was one of the first people to note and exploit bias in roulette wheels. After heading to Monte Carlo in 1873, Joseph hired six people to watch each roulette table in a particular casino, noting the numbers and colours that were regularly landed on. It soon became apparent that a specific table had a bias to a specific set of numbers, meaning that a win on this table was more likely. Joseph headed to the casino to test his theory, and in the space of three days managed to win around £60,000 (more than £3m in today’s money).

Although the casino was soon on to him, and in an effort to win their money back switched their tables around overnight. Joseph soon began to lose money, but after noticing the switch and finding ‘his’ table again, he was soon able to recoup the difference. Luckily for the casino, he decided to head home with the rest of his winnings, but not before he went down in history as one of the most prolific roulette players of all time.

Many of us would never dream of sacrificing our homes, cars or even our televisions for a chance to win on the wheel: the risks are just too great. But in 2004 Ashley Revell achieved notoriety by spending all his life savings on a single bet in Las Vegas, and coming up on top. Ashley had sold his house, car and used all his savings to get to Vegas (infamously having to hire a tuxedo on the day), and placed over £76,000 on red. Within seconds he had doubled his money, winning the life-changing sum of £153,680. Ashley said he was relieved and surprised after his win, and announced that his first purchase would be some new clothes (presumably to replace the ones he’d sold).

Whilst daring bets and high wins are hugely entertaining, the idea of doing them ourselves is generally completely out of the question. But while it may not be something you’ll ever indulge in, these stories certainly make amusing anecdotes to regale friends with on your next casino night, as well as making yourself look like a bit of a roulette expert. Just be glad that the stakes of your game aren’t quite as high as the ones above!