Popular belief goes that the gambling system works in such a way that people don’t win, but rather lose in the long run. Allegedly, a player is influenced by psychological tricks in gambling venues. One of the main tricks involves providing a player with the opportunity to win a certain sum, rushing them into the game in order to take the shirt right off their back.
But there have been cases where people left the casino with millions of dollars in their pockets. Here you will find nine true stories about people who appeared to be dashed lucky. These players earned the biggest casino wins of all time.
One evening in Las Vegas, Australian billionaire Kerry Packer (first on the country’s richest people rating at the time of his death in 2005, with a fortune of $6.5 billion) decided to play baccarat and blackjack out of curiosity. That evening he won between $20 and $40 million (the exact figure of his biggest win in Las Vegas is unknown since there were several of them). Kerry started to splash money right away at the MGM Grand after his winning streak. For example, the tip of the head waiter and the waitress serving him was equal to as much as $1,000,000. Interestingly, in 1999, Kerry Packer hound himself in London, where he lost about $28 million while gambling.
In March 2003, a twenty-five-year-old engineer from Los Angeles came to Vegas to support his favorite basketball team. With a few hours to go before the match, he decided to spend some time at the famous Excalibur casino in Las Vegas. The young man got down to the slot machines, and all hell broke loose. Throwing the coins one by one, he had spent a total of $100 when the “jackpot” sign appeared on the screen and the music began to play. This, one of Vegas biggest wins, amounted to a phenomenal $39,713 982.25, can be compared with the average profit of the entire venue for a month. The winner decided to keep his name a secret so that he would be remembered as a “young engineer.” In addition, the winner asked the Excalibur management not to give him the gambling winnings at once, but to transfer approximately $1,500,000 to his account per year.
As you know, stubbornness pays off. Once, the Wheel of Fortune gaming machine paid $680,000 to a 60-year-old woman. However, the money did not drive the lady mad: instead of throwing the cash around, the woman continued to visit the gambling establishment regularly. She, so to speak, invested all her casino winnings in her gaming activity. And she didn’t go wrong: before long, her “investments” yielded a super-profit – she won the jackpot playing the Megabucks slot!
Winning a million dollars is nearly impossible. However, there are people who have done it twice. Elmer Sherwin, a veteran of World War II, was 76 years old when he hit a $4.6 million jackpot. It happened ten hours after the opening of the Mirage casino. Elmer spent the money on a world tour. After such a happy occasion, he continued to visit gambling venues regularly – twice a week. Sixteen years passed, and he hit the jackpot at the same place again, this time – $21 million. The veteran spent most of his second win not on himself but on charity: he helped those affected by hurricane Katrina.
From December, 2010 to April, 2011, Don Johnson won $15 million at three Atlantic City casinos, earning him the nickname “The Killer from Atlantic City” among the casino owners. In the Caesar casino, Johnson’s luck and skills won him $4.23 million and depleted the Borgata gambling house by $5 million. The twelve-hour session at Tropicana Casino brought Johnson $5.8 million; each bet was $100,000.
When Johnson decided on such a great game, he asked the casino manager to introduce some rules that reduce the advantage of a gambling house. One of the rules was to compensate 20% of a player’s losses if they amount to at least $500,000. They say the manager did not pay attention to the calculations and therefore accepted Don’s conditions. By the way, the careless manager was eventually fired.
Some suspicious observers of Johnson’s victorious march at the casino argued that the lucky gambler used a banal card count. Johnson categorically denies it. Moreover, he shared his secrets of a successful game. According to Don, there are only two rules that helped him win astronomical sums in blackjack. The first rule is the need to know the diagrams of the basic blackjack strategy intimately, and possess elementary mathematical skills. And the second secret is an easy attitude to victories and losses.
In 1996, postal official John Tippin came to Las Vegas for a vacation and set a world record by winning a $12 million Megabucks jackpot. Afterwards, he embarked on a spree of luxury limousines and beautiful women. It turns out that sudden money is not only a pudding bag but also a test. In 2001, John published the book I did it! My Life After Megabucks, where he told how he went from a jet-setter to a loser and an alcoholic. Mr. Tipping warns those who think that a big roll will solve all their problems. The book is a fascinating read, and it discourages trips to Las Vegas. However, eight pages illustrating a beautiful life produce the opposite effect on the reader.
“Need money? Ask, and it will be given to you,” said Amy Nishimura, a 71-year-old Hawaii dweller. Amy came to Las Vegas for the holidays where one game machine immediately attracted her. The woman felt that the machine seemed alive. Without using any gambling tips and tricks, she came nearer to it and began to talk to the machine, explaining why she needed money and asking for luck. Then Amy dropped the coin and got straight to the point. It should be noted that she had less than $100 in her wallet: luck would have to hurry if Amy wanted to hit the big time. Eventually, three hours later, the machine forked out a jackpot!
On June 7, 2006, Beverly Whitten probably thought that her life was nearing its end: she had recently retired after a 38-year teaching career. But almost a week later, on June 15, Beverly realized that life was just beginning! She hit the jackpot, in the amount of $3,718,311! She was playing a slot machine called “Golden Chambers” for two hours and won. Whitten did not know where to spend so much money, so she asked the casino to pay her in installments – $1,945 per month.
They say the rich get richer, and this is a completely true statement. The English billionaire owner of the Newcastle United Football Club, Mike Ashley, visited the most famous casino, called Fifty, in 2008. Since Ashley was a very busy man who appreciated his time, he decided to spend no more than 15 minutes playing roulette. Being an extraordinary person who loves attention, Ashley decided to do something memorable. He declared publicly that he was going to bet only once on a definite number – on 17! In his case, Lady Luck did not need too much convincing: Mike Ashley won immediately. After Ashley’s money was paid out, he thanked the casino staff and left.
A well-known roulette player Charles Wells has been dreaming about wealth and incredible popularity all his life. He spent all his money on roulette, and his efforts were not in vain.
It was Charles Wells who became known as the man who broke the bank in Monte Carlo, and his name went down in the history of gambling.
Back in July 1891, he went to Monte Carlo to play at a roulette wheel. To achieve his goal, he took out a loan from the bank on the security of his famous invention. Wells’ game lasted eleven hours, and within that time he managed to break the bank twelve times. After such a stunning win, the casino did not have enough chips to continue the game. He was able to win as many as 20 spins out of 30 and took home as much as one million francs from the casino.
Archie has collected a lot of money starting from a bankroll as small as $50. Actually, he lost $2,000,000 first and then decided to give it another try. Binion’s Horseshoe was the Las Vegas casino he entered to win the money back. He spotted a friend, loaned $10,000 from him, and rather quickly won around $17,000,000 on poker and dice. The Archie Karas story has a lot of ups and downs, but if not go into details, it was as simple as that. For his confident behavior, many people name him one of the best gamblers in history. He lost significant sums of money, then won more, and then lost again – and all that during four years (1992-1995). At some point, his bankroll reached over $40,000,000! He also experienced a lot of mini-streaks, for example, turning $40,000 into 1,000,000 at the Desert Inn casino. His intriguing journey through several casinos is featured in a collection of gambling-related stories by Michael Konik.
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