Winning at a casino is all about luck. And the great thing about luck is that it is entirely random. That means that any one, at any time, anywhere can win. Rich, poor, fat, thin… crazy casino wins are just a wager away, and you never know who, when, what, or why.
FedEx’s Fate Was in the Cards
When it comes to amazing gambling stories that have changed people’s lives, the story of Frederick W. Smith, the Founder and CEO of Federal Express (FedEx) is epic. Three years after founding the company in 1971, it was in serious financial trouble. With just $5,000 left in the bank, Smith made the unusual executive decision of hopping on a plane to Vegas, and betting that sum on blackjack. In an all but unbelievable turn of fortune, he walked away with $32,000 in the bank. While that’s not a huge sum for a major company, it was enough to keep business going for another few days, until miraculously other funding money came in. Today FedEx is a multi-billion dollar company, saved by a simple, old-fashioned gamble.
Proving that casino gamblers come from all walks of life, there’s the fantastic example of a group of MIT students who learned how to game the system. A similar version of their tale was told in the 2008 movie “21”, with the same moral to the story: the geeks managed to outsmart Vegas. They did this by counting cards. And while card counting is frowned upon both in Vegas and online casinos, it’s rather simple if you manage not to get caught. By playing as a team, and effectively distracting dealers, this group of students was able to avoid 9-5 desk jobs, instead pulling in millions of dollars in winnings over the years at the blackjack tables.
Betting it All
Then there’s Ashley Revell. Although he’s a professional gambler, his contribution to the world of crazy casino stories is no less. That’s because he made a move only a true hearted gambler could make – he sold all of his worldly possessions, travelled to the Plaza Hotel in Vegas, and bet the entire sum of $135,300 on Red on the roulette table. Besides the gall, the amazing thing is, he won, walking away with $270,000 after tipping the croupier.
It’s not only the casino vets that have all the luck. Newbies can also win as Jessica Agbunag proved when in 2008 she took her first trip to Vegas, bet $16 on a mega-jackpot machine in the California Hotel and Casino, and won $2.4 million!
When the Casino Forgot to Shuffle
Every once in a while you get REALLY lucky. How lucky? How about when the casino all but lets you win? That’s what happened in April 2012 at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. Somehow the cards in a game of mini-baccarat weren’t being shuffled between rounds. The 14 players around the table all took notice, and now knowing the cards in advance, continued to make increasingly big bets. In the end, the lucky 14 won a total of $1.5 million.
Single-Handedly Supporting Harrah’s
Of course, not all funny casino stories are all that ha-ha funny. In fact, the least funny of all and a good reminder that no matter how much money you have in the bank it’s always smart to gamble wisely, is the story of Harry Watanabe who spent over a year at Harrah's Casino in Las Vegas, gambling away over $100 million! In fact he gambled so much that his losses made up 5.6% of Harrah’s revenues that year. While Mr. Watanabe enjoyed the many perks and benefits his high-roller status bought him, he eventually ended up in court as Harrah’s wanted to claim his debt, and he in turn blamed Harrah’s for offering him all that enticement. Moral of the story, perks are fun, but should not be mistaken for a way of life.
Slightly Less Noble Wins
While we like to think that cheaters can’t win, in one unbelievable story one savvy poker player took the Ace up his sleeve strategy to modern levels, as he and an accomplice hacked into the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia’s video surveillance system. As he played, his accomplice reported on the other players’ cards, and in just eight hands of high stakes poker, the duo won $32 million dollars. Here’s the really crazy part. After the authorities figured out their scam, they let the pair walk, out of the casino and out of the country, with all of their winnings in tact.
You know you’re a pretty valuable player when you start getting the real perks, beyond food and drinks. Well how abut this one? A free Rolls Royce! True story. Chinese-Mexican businessman Zhenil Ye Gon was sent a luxury car courtesy of the Venetian in Vegas after spending more than $120 million at the hotel’s casino over the years. Maybe not the best value for his money, but a great perk indeed!
Crazy Casino Stories of Perseverance
Besides big wins there are other amazing casino stories that feature people’s sheer perseverance. Patricia Demauro, a grandmother from New Jersey showed that age is no barrier, or perhaps more accurately, there’s no knowing when luck will catch up with you when she broke the record for the world’s longest crap roll (at 4 hours and 18 minutes), with the record for the most consecutive dice rolls (154) without rolling a seven, at Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa. Just to be clear, the odds of running such a streak are approximately 1 in 1.56 trillion, which proves that when luck is on your side, the odds are all yours!
Phil Laak, a.k.a. the "Unabomber also showed incredible perseverance in his 115 hours straight of poker play, done with the double goal of setting a new Guinness World Record and raising money for the Camp Sunshine charity. For added inspiration, he did all this WITHOUT any stimulants at all, including no caffeine or energy drinks, and with maximum five minute breaks each hour.
A Winning Odyssey Across Atlantic City
For a final taste of inspiration, let’s take Don Johnson who combined perseverance with big winnings in a crazy run that had him winning $15 million dollars playing blackjack over a four-month period – a feat that landed him the title of “The Man Who Broke Atlantic City”. His odyssey began with $5 million in blackjack winnings from the Borgata casino, another $4 million from Caesars, and a final amazing display of $6 million in winnings at the Tropicana.
You Can Enjoy a Crazy Win Too!
Now that you know that amazing casino stories do come true, it’s time to try your luck. Start playing at Casino Tropez, and you might just find your gambles listed amongst the all-time crazy casino wins.