It is said that roulette is the casino game with the greatest chance of winning – after all, in most cases it is a choice of simply picking black or red. The following people are famous at the roulette table for having won large amounts of money. Unlike other casino games, there are few “professional” players but the following people have all made large amounts of money from choosing red or black.
Chris is one of the first people in modern history to attempt to make it as a professional roulette player. Chris is a software developer from the UK who saved up around $220,000 over a number of years with the intention of spending it all at casinos in Las Vegas. He was refused when he tried to spend all his money on a single spin, but some negotiation with casino staff led to him playing in The Horseshoe Club – a game that has a minimum bet of $100,000. After a few practice spins, he was permitted to spend all his money on a single spin… and won. This was the beginning and the end of his gambling career and after the win, vowed never to do so again.
Another British man, Revell thought he could recreate Chris Boyd’s win. The only difference is that he was already a professional gambler when he decided to sell everything he possessed to raise enough money for a single spin in Las Vegas – his stake was $135,000. It created a media stir and reporters from all over the world followed his progress and were actually present during the spin. He won and doubled his money to $270,000. Like Boyd, he also decided never to gamble again. He did put the money to good use, putting it towards setting up his own poker site.
The world’s first professional roulette player, Jagger is also the first person to hypothesise that no two roulette wheels are alike. He thought he could calculate (rather than guess) the outcome of a spin. Many people have followed this theory and worked on the basis that a wheel will have flaws. If it is off centre slightly, damage (no matter how minor) and other imperfections will weight a wheel in favour of landing on certain colours or certain numbers. Putting his ideas into effect by examining all the wheels in Monte Carlo, he and several friends identified a wheel most likely to present a win. Jagger did win big and gained himself the title of “The Man Who Broke the Monte Carlo Bank”.
Eighteen years after Joseph Jagger, Wells became the second man to break the bank in Monte Carlo and he did it using the same wheel in the same casino. After Jagger’s win, casino staff realised there was indeed a problem with the wheel. Whatever the problem was, years of use had brought it back again, weighting it in favour of certain results, and Charles Wells was the first to identify that the problem had not been solved. He took advantage of the situation and placed a large bet based on his prediction. Wells was already a professional gambler until this enormous win – successfully predicting 23 out of 30 spins and winning several million Francs in just three days.
More recently, a Spanish man took advantage of the possibility of flaws in any one individual wheel. He analysed thousands of spins of a single wheel in order to identify not the flaws, but the most common numbers and colours that would come up as a result of the imperfections in the wheel. He compiled “hot spots”, areas where the ball is most likely to fall. Based on the number of nodes on the wheel, he predicted that each number should come up within a normal range and standard deviations from an average of 135 occurrences. Any number that came up more than 170 times would be considered a result of a flaw.
Famous in the early part of the last decade, German born Kaisan began gambling in Leipzig in 1972 when he developed a fondness for horseracing. At the time, gambling laws in Germany changed so that casino games could now be played legally. He played cards on a camping table that day and over the years became more interested in casino games until a Japanese friend introduced him to roulette. He never looked back and has played roulette all over Europe using his method that he said could predict the landing place of a ball on the roulette wheel.
Another “man who broke the bank” at roulette, this particular gentleman did what Jagger had done nearly a century before. In 1966, Leigh won 800,000 French Francs. The win was so large and the ripple so shocking that he was banned from every casino in France. His flawed method, which he said would guarantee persistent winnings, was later discounted and his big win chalked up to pure luck – the major reason most people win at roulette in the first place.
Another famous German, Winkel was known as “Roulette King” and said to have won 1.5 million Deutsch Marks in the space of a couple of short months on the roulette wheels of Hamburg. Now considered one of the most successful players of the century, it seems he stands as one of a few to make a living from his winnings on the wheel – and all within a few months.
Though famous as a professional chess player, Jarecki and her husband won a substantial amount of money on the Monte Carlo and San Remo roulette wheels scene in the 1970s. Like many others before them, they examined wheels for flaws that would lead to a results bias. Just another in a long line of people benefiting from imperfect systems.
Whereas some of those above have used mathematics to calculate where the ball will land on a roulette wheel, Kovacs went one further in using an electronic device which he put in his shoe. A single tap and the device would calculate the speed of the ball on release and give a good estimate of where the ball might land. Kovacs won thousands of dollars in Australia. He was charged but not convicted with cheating because he had broken no laws or rules. He was deported back to Hungary.