Famous Roulette Players
Written by: H. Howard
Not everyone loses at roulette, as these famous roulette players go to show. This detailed look at famous roulette players throughout history shows that not only do some people win all of the time, but some win so consistently that the rules of roulette have to be changed, or the player gets banned from so many places, a change of career is needed.
Let’s take a look at the top 11 famous roulette players throughout recent history.
Famous Roulette Player Norman Leigh
13 Against the Bank
Famous roulette player Norman Leigh and 12 employees hit the Casino Municipal in Nice in 1966 and each walked away with a profit of the equivalent of around £4,230, shaking the French gaming industry enough that Leigh was banned from every casino in France! Over a two-week period, the team, having been selected by rigorous a interviewing and training process, gambled with a system new to the casinos; the reverse Labouchere. Opposite of the Labourchere system, this system involves increasing bets only when you are already ahead. Although Leigh had borrowed this system and simply made some minor adjustments, it was his use of team play and accumulated starting capital from the large team that allowed him to win big and to shake the casinos of France. Following his success, Leigh further increased his profits by recording his experience in a book titled ’13 Against the Bank’
Famous Roulette Player Kim Larsen
Legend has it that Larsen, also known as Vegasdude, was been booted out of numerous Vegas casinos and became famous after playing a bankroll of $500 to $10,000 in just one day in front of live recording cameras. Despite the win, the appearance put his profession into jeopardy as casinos across America now recognised his face. Following this he reportedly spilled his chaos theory strategy secret on the internet. However, little more information can be found about this mysterious Vegasdude and neither his strategy nor footage of his win can be found, some even claim that he was simply selling someone else’s strategy.
Famous Roulette Player Benno Winkle
Also known as Benno Angle, is reportedly the most successful German roulette player
Joseph Jagger ‘The Man Who Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo’
In 1837, Joseph Jagger put his theory to the test that roulette wheels would have imperfections that caused bias in the game play. He, and 6 accomplices took to Monte Carlo where they recorded all the numbers that occurred at each wheel of the casino. Having done this, Jagger noticed a bias at one table whereby 9 numbers came up more frequently than the others. He used this knowledge to bet on these numbers and accumulated a win of £60,000 in just three days, the equivalent of £3,000,000 today!
Famous Roulette Player Charles Wells
‘The (real) Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’!
In 1891, not long after Monte Carlo’s run with Joseph Jagger, Charles Wells hit the scene and, like Jagger, broke the bank of every table in the casino over 11 hours of play. He did this twice in the same year, winning over a million Francs each time. While Jagger used bias wheel section betting, Wells assigned his success to use of the Martingale system and, more importantly, luck! There are many speculations, however, about how Wells got so lucky, with some even suggesting that he sold his soul to the devil! Regardless of the how and why, Wells earned big and was the real inspiration behind the song ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’ by Fred Gilbert (popularised by Charles Coborn), despite the popular belief that the song was based on Joseph Jagger.
Famous Roulette Player Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo
The Man Who Took Vegas to the Cleaners.
Over 100 years after Jagger, Garcia-Pelayo employed the same tactics, patiently watching and hunting for imperfections in tables until he found ones suitable. By carefully recording and analysing the numbers generated by each wheel, Garcia-Pelayo turned the house edge of 5% into a player’s advantage of 15%! Starting in the Casino de Madrid, Garcia-Pelayo continued until all the casinos in Spain were weary of his presence. At that point he hit Las Vegas, taking the same tactic and ending with $1.5 million in the bank! Unfortunately, his success was the end of his success as he became too well known worldwide. Although picked up on in many casinos, Garcia-Pelayo’s tactics were deemed lawful by Spain’s Supreme Court when one casino attempted to sue!
Famous Roulette Player Chris Boyd
At what point in a persons life they decide to save huge sums of money for the sole purpose of a big gamble I do not know but in 1991 that’s exactly what this 40 year old computer programmer from the UK found himself doing. Over three years Boyd saved himself a neat $220,00 with the intention of making a profit in the game of chance; roulette. Having secured his enormous bet, Boyd was tasked with finding a casino willing to take this in a single spin. He was turned down by a number of Vagas casinos before being sent to Binion’s Horseshoe Club who allowed him to bet all on red. With the ball landing on red 7 he doubled his money! Aware of his considerable luck, Boyd had his money securely locked away and vowed never to gamble again!
Famous Roulette Player Ashley Revell
Live on camera risking everything he had, Ashley Revell, in 2004, placed a single bet of $135,300 on red. The young, London born man, decided to gather all the money he could by selling all his possessions. He and his family then flew to Vegas to make this huge gamble at the Plaza Hotel. After agonizing moments of suspense, the footage of this gamble shows the ball drop into red 7 (spooky following Wells!) – he had done it! Revell walked away with $270,000, having doubled his money and tipped the dealer $600!
Famous Roulette Player Mike Ashley
Another famous roulette player, billionaire businessman and owner of Newcastle United Football Club and Sports Direct reportedly placed £480,000 on a single spin at a Mayfair casino. The bet was complicated and included every possible inside bet that included the number 17 and bets were also made on black, odd, the first half, middle column and middle dozen. A complicated bet and a profit of £820,000!
Famous Roulette Player Derren Brown
In 2009, as part of television series ‘The Events’, Derren Brown took £5000 to bet not just on red or black but on a single number! His theory was that he would be able to use physics to predict exactly where the ball would land and he placed his bet about three seconds after the wheel began to spin. All on the number 8. The ball landed in pocket number 30, just one pocket away from the winning number! A close call but a big loss!
Famous Roulette Player Pawel Piskorski
Polish politician, member of the European Parliament, former Secretary General, leader of the Stronnictwo Demokratyczne and big winner of the casino! Rumour has it that in 1992 Piskorski won nearly 5 billion zloty in roulette betting. There is, however, controversy surrounding this story as the maximum bet of the casinos at that time was 1 million zloty, meaning that he would have had to win 138 times consecutively, an extremely unlikely event, unless the limits of his tables were increased. Many say that this story simply covered for fraudulent activities of the politician when accounting for his revenue.
Modern day casinos tolerate system players, and even encourage use by providing score cards and pens as they know that in the long run all systems will fail.
Professional roulette players are rare, with the gambling professionals often preferring games such as poker which are seen to be less due to chance than roulette. However, there are some elements of play that can turn this exciting game into a profession. For example, any professional gambler would claim that it is important to learn all that there is to know about the game, to watch, talk to and model already professional members of the game and, most importantly, lose the ‘just once more’ attitude. When making gambling your profession it is important a) to have a backup income, for example an investment and b) to set limits that can comfortably be lost and fiercely stick to them. In this way you ensure that there will always be a ‘next time’ to gamble!