For many, roulette is the ultimate gamble. Whether in reality or on film, most of us have nervously watched a player bet it all on the outcome of the wheel’s spin; and wished we had the guts (some would say stupidity!) to do it ourselves. While we wouldn’t recommend betting more than you can afford, there’s no doubt that if you’re a regular at the roulette tables, you’ve probably dreamt of following in the footsteps of these legendary gamblers.
In 2004, Ashley Revell, a 32-year-old from Kent, made headlines when he travelled to Las Vegas and bet a staggering £76, 840 on red – and won. What made this story more interesting was that Revell, a professional gambler, had amassed the betting money by selling all his worldly possessions, mainly at car boots sales and auctions. His exploits gained enough attention that Sky One followed him to Vegas and broadcast his wager to the world. When interviewed after the win, Revell said that the first thing he intended to buy was some new clothes! If you’d like to know the likelihood of such a bet coming off, check out the Roulette odds payout infographic below.
Another Englishman, Boyd was a 40-year-old computer programmer who followed his Las Vegas dream a decade before Ashley Revell. Boyd too had amassed a considerable fortune, in this case through three years of frugal living. He managed to save $220,000 (over £100,000) and headed to Las Vegas to find a casino that would take his bet. Most establishments refused, but Binion’s Horseshoe Club, whose limit was $100,000 on red/black, accepted the extraordinary wager. Boyd placed it all on red 7 and doubled his money when his number came up. He vowed never to gamble again.
Just last year, a mystery Hawaiian man also got lucky at Binion’s. These days their house limit on a single bet is $20,000, showing how far the casino has reigned it in since Boyd’s $220,000 bet nearly twenty years previous. The unknown man managed to convince the house to accept his $66,200 bet on “even”. Eight came up giving the man enough money to buy a house. Terry Caudill, the owner of Binion’s, said he accepts bets of that scale on a case-by-case basis: so even if you have the money you might not even be able to make that huge bet.
Mike Ashley is well known in England as the founder of Sports Direct and the owner of Newcastle United Football Club. His wealth is valued at around £1.5 billion, making him the 15th richest person in Britain. He has a reputation for being a recluse (one journalist likened him to the late Howard Hughes) and thus not much ever surfaces about him in the news. However, in 2008, he won £1.3 million at Fifty London casino in Mayfair when he placed a ‘complete’ bet on 17, a bet that required him to wager £480,000. 17 is Ashley’s luck number and the one on the back of his Newcastle shirt.