Roulette is one of the oldest and most popular casino games in operation, and it’s fair to say that it’s enjoyed by players from all backgrounds and walks of life. Perhaps what makes roulette so universally-loved is its simplicity and stronger chance of winning compared to other casino games.
The game is predominantly based on luck which is another key factor for its universal appeal, and there’s certainly some players who have enjoyed better luck than others.
Those who have won big on roulette typically tend to generate some kind of fame afterwards, but they’ll always have a place in roulette folklore. Whether you play live roulette online or prefer to play it in a brick-and-mortar casino, there’s no reason why you couldn’t one day join our illustrious list of famous roulette players but until then, let’s take a look at some of them.
The curious case of Kim Larsen is still shrouded in mystery, but those who doubt the authenticity of his wins only increase his fame within the roulette world. Larsen is better referred to as Vegasdude, and he actually appeared on live TV where he supposedly won a very tidy sum. Unfortunately, there is no online footage of Larsen’s win but he was thought to be using a new technique but unless he emerges from the wilderness, it remains to be seen how much he won and what the exact strategy entailed.
Way back in 1837, when casinos were still in their infancy, Joseph Jagger was responsible for winning over £60,000 which amounts to roughly £3 million in today’s money. If, somehow, you haven’t directly heard of Jagger’s name, you’ll almost certainly be familiar with: “The man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo”. Jagger was something of a pioneer in the sense he noticed bias’ and imperfections within the roulette wheel at the world-famous casino. He and approximately six friends spent a number of hours studying the bias and realised more numbers were more frequently coming up than others. It took them three days to land the huge haul.
If Jagger was the original man to “Break the bank of Monte Carlo”, Charles Wells certainly takes more credit and his name is perhaps more synonymous with the term. Wells’ huge wins came in 1891 and he pretty much cleared up on every table he played at, spending nearly 12 hours doing so. Wells’ wins came twice that calendar year, where he used the Martingale Strategy to take home over a million Francs on his visits. Wells’ successes saw him named “Monte Carlo Wells” by the local press, and Frank Gilbert’s song “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo” was inspired by his wins.
Although Jagger and Wells are renowned for finding imperfections in roulette wheels, it’s reported that Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo is the first roulette player to fully prove it. He and his eldest son and daughter would spend hours just simply recording the outcomes of various spins, and he was able to take the information to successfully win. He improved his chances of winning by 10% from the normal house edge, which is fairly big in the grand scheme of things and his winnings amassed around $1 million. Unsurprisingly, Garcia-Pelayo was banned form a number of Spanish casinos so he turned to Las Vegas where he continued his hugely impressive streak.
If there are any sports fans reading this, you’ll be more than aware of Mike Ashley’s huge win from a Mayfair casino in 2008. The Newcastle United owner is perhaps just as famous for his sporting and business ventures as he is with playing casino games, namely roulette. Ashley’s visit to the Fifty London casino saw him place a variety of bets around his favourite number, 17. It didn’t take long to generate a hugely sizeable profit (just shy of a million off £480,000 worth of bets) and that alone would have seen him register a place in roulette folklore. “That’ll do me, thanks very much,” Ashley was reported to say once the win came in.