Legends of Roulette – Fraud, Luck and Skill

Everyone who plays roulette dreams of hitting a winning run that will change their lives forever. Few truly manage it, of course, but the following gentlemen certainly won big on the spinning wheel. Read on for the details.

Joseph Jagger

The accolade of being the first true legend of roulette has to be handed to Joseph Jagger, an engineer who began his winning ways in the 1870s in Monte Carlo. He employed the services of six clerks who recorded wheel spins at roulette tables which Jagger used to assess whether any wheel bias existed. Sure enough it did and he went on to win in the region of $3m (in today’s money).

William Nelson Darnborough

A lesser-known casino legend is William Nelson Darnborough who also targeted roulette tables in Monte Carlo but instead of assessing wheel bias, he had trained himself to predict how a ball would spin after being released by the dealer. After years of practice he went to Monte Carlo in 1908 where he would wait for the ball to be spun before placing his bet, allowing him to make upwards of $10m in today’s money!

Charlie Wells

One legend who really should have quit when he was ahead was Charlie Wells who used thousands of dollars that he had conned from various acquaintances to fund a trip to Monte Carlo in 1891. Luckily for him (and his duped investors) he won hundreds of thousands of Francs (millions of dollars in today’s money). He returned a second time when he won over a million Francs yet again. Lightening didn’t strike thrice, however, as he lost everything on this third trip, later admitting that he had been employing the Martingale system all along. The fact that he was arrested for fraud and ended his days a pauper should tell you all you need to know about the Martingale system: it doesn’t work!

Ashley Revell

Let’s end on a positive though. When 32-year-old Brit Ashley Revell sold everything he owned – and we mean everything except the clothes he was wearing at the time – to put it all on a single spin of roulette, his friends and family thought he’d gone mad. But luckily his $135,000 bet on red came in and he doubled his cash – to the relief of himself and his family!

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