Most Well Known and Famous Bets in Roulette
I wrote a page here about Ashley Revell and his $135,300 bet, which includes a video of the actual spin of the wheel. I came across a few other very well known bets and I thought it was important enough to create a new page about them for those who were interested in roulette and wanted to know.
Joseph Jaggers - Jagger was an engineer and was one of the first people to figure out how to cheat at roulette through the biased wheel recognition. This took place sometime in the 1800's at Casino Beaux-Arts in the city of Monte Carlo. What he did was hire some people to watch the wheels and record which numbers the balls landed on. Like the computer software, the people actually discovered that 9 numbers were landed on by the ball more frequently than the rest of the numbers.
Ironically, this was due to a badly engineered roulette wheel during this time period. Afterwards, he decided to start betting on those numbers and won over $300,000 in only four days! This is when the casinos become suspicious and began watching him to see how he was winning so often. They responded by putting the roulette table and the wheel somewhere else, which forced Jaggers to play at a different table, where he started to lose of course. Jaggers caught on and realized that this wasn't the same table and he eagerly looked around for that table and found it again, where he won $450,000. Finally the casino caught on and modified the wheel. Jaggers eventually couldn't beat this and he lost $125,000 before this gold mine ended. At the end, he walked away with $325,000, which actually tops Revell's $270,600 win. Note that during the 1800's, three hundred grand was equivalent to perhaps millions of dollars nowadays.
Charles Wells - Also known as "The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo", won huge in roulette in 1891. He was actually a well known con artist from England who traveled to Monte Carlo in France to take advantage of the casinos. It was told that he thought up of some kind of mysterious roulette strategy and it worked on all the tables and roulette wheels in the casino. At one point, he caught a great streak of luck and won over a million Francs (French currency).
The casinos hired some detectives to try and figure out how he did it and what tactics he used. Amazingly, no one was ever able to figure out how he did it. Wells claims that it was just luck that he happened to win 23 out of 30 spins of the wheel, which is a 76.6% win ratio. Over long periods of time, the win ratio should be more like 50% if he was making outside bets such as "red or black", "high or low", "even or odd" ect. Fred Gilbert made a song "The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo" as a way to honor Charles Wells. It was also made popular by Charles Coborn as well. Some people speculate on what his strategy was. A few people say he just used Joseph Jagger's biased wheel methods to find a broke wheel. Others say he had a magnet or something to control the ball with. Some even say he sold his soul to the devil and many say it really was just an extremely lucky streak over the short term of only 30 spins.
Derren Brown - This was a bet made just recently in 2009. In this bet, he wagered 5000 British Pound Sterling (roughly $8100 in 2009). It was part of a strange and controversial TV series called "The Events". Derren Brown is known as a type of magician who used supernatural messages to try winning. Basically he used the money to make a bet on a single number, which had a 1 in 37 chance of winning on a European roulette wheel. He broadcasted this bet live with a hidden camera in his sleeve. Basically he said he was going to use the laws of physics to predict the number. So the wheel was spun by the croupier and after three seconds, he chose to bet on number 8. Unfortunately, he lost the bet and the ball landed on number 30, which was physically only one number away from 8 on the wheel, so it was close!
Pawel Piskorski - A politician from Poland is known for some major roulette betting in 1992. He was a member of the European Parliament and former Secretary General and currently the leader of the Stronnictwo Demokratyczne. It was told that he won nearly 5 billion zloty or equivalent to $175,000. There was some controversy involved because the maximum bet at casinos during his time was only about a million zloty. He would have made a 50,000% return on investment and he would had to win basically 138 times consecutively while betting the table limit. The odds are astounding and highly unlikely unless he had VIP table limits. Many say this was "clever accounting" to hide some kind of fraud when he explained his income due to gambling, at the revenue office.
Famous Fictional Bets in the Movies - Not in Real Life
The famous bets above were all real and nonfictional. Just for the heck of it, we will write about a few fictional (fake) bets from famous movies or elsewhere that you may have seen or heard about before.
Lola - Lola was a famous actress known for the movie "Run Lola, Run" in 1998. She did a similar kind of bet like Ashley Revell did, but she bet everything she had on a single number. Though the bet that Lola did was far more dangerous and you would need a lot of guts to do it (like Derren Brown did in real life). Basically she tried to get all the money she could find in order to get a 100 mark chip. In the movie, she came up just shy of 100 marks but an employee at the casino gave her the chip anyways. She makes a bet on the number 20 and actually wins. Though she stays in and bets all her winnings to ride on the number 20 again and wins again. She ended up with 129,600 marks total. She had enough to help her boyfriend pay 100,000 marks to his boss. The actual odds of winning two numbers in a row are 1369 to 1 on the European wheel. Obviously she didn't win that much money because the casino has a slight profit edge so she would always win less than true odds.
Casablanca - A film made in 1942 featured a trick wheel that would allow the ball to land on the number 22 on any spin. The wheel was housed at Cafe Americain by a man named Rick (character was played by Humphrey Bogart). In the movie, Rick tries to get a Bulgarian refugee to come in and play roulette. The refugee only had 3 chips and Rick tells the croupier to let him keep winning as the Bulgarian is urged to keep betting on number 22. Finally Rick lets him win after he lets all his winnings ride on the number 22. It turns out that the Bulgarian wins about 3885 Francs at the end.
Sting - A famous movie in 1973 which involved Johnny Hooker (character played by Robert Redford) at the beginning of the movie. Johnny takes his portion of some money that him and his team took during a "numbers runner" con and he bets all of it and losses it on a single spin of a rigged roulette wheel for perfect irony.
Palace and Main - This is a famous music video produced by Kent and featuring Harri Manty. Harri is seen in Las Vegas and wagers his entire video budget in a game of roulette. His budget was 300,000 kronor (or $40,000) and he bets everything he has on black. In the end he wins and doubles his money. In a happy ending, he donates all of his profits to charity and is seen driving off into the sunset.