Las Vegas has a strong history with gambling, so it should come as no surprise that there have been some pretty outrageous bets and wins over the years. From literally betting it all to winning millions after just betting a few dollars, slot machines and table games in Las Vegas hold many tales. Learn about some of the biggest record-breaking wins, along with the fascinating stories that go along with the bettors who placed those life changing bets.
When the MTV hit reality show, “The Buried Life”, came to Las Vegas with their bucket list item to try to make $1 million, they headed to Golden Gate Casino. The boys put $125,000 on even money roulette bets and tried to roll it over 3 times, and ended up making the largest roulette bet in Vegas history of $250,000. Their first bet of $125,000 on red won, earning them $250,000. Betting their winnings on black for round two, unfortunately, did not win, cutting them short of their $1 million goal. However, Golden Gate did give $50,000 at the end to donate to charity.
Sure, there are bets higher than Ashley Revell’s bet, but not many other bettors put quite as much on the line as he did. In the months leading up to his remarkable wager, Revell decided to sell every single possession he had – including his house, car, personal possessions, and even his clothes. By the end of selling it all, Revell had nothing but $135,300 to his name. At the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, he decided to place his entire life’s fortune on red at the roulette table. The wheel spun and the ball landed on 7 Red, earning Revell $270,600.
Also known as the Suitcase Man or the Phantom Gambler, William Lee Bergstrom is a story of extraordinary wins – and extraordinary losses. On September 24, 1980, he traveled to Las Vegas and entered Binion’s Casino with two suitcases. One of them was empty, but one of them contained $777,000 in cash. He placed his bets at the craps table, won, filled his empty suitcase, and left. He went on to win $538,000 and $117,000 in 1984, but his luck unfortunately ran out when he lost $1,000,000 on a bet, resulting in the end of his gambling.
It is estimated that the probability of hitting the ‘Megabucks’ progressive jackpot is 1 in 49.8 million spins – pretty low odds. However, one man managed to beat those odds. Twice! Elmer Sherwin managed to win big in two different Las Vegas casinos, once in 1989 and once in 2005 as a 92-year-old. In 1989, he collected $4.65 million for his $3 stake at The Mirage as the biggest Las Vegas slot jackpot at the time. His 2005 win earned him $21.1 million at Cannery Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. He donated much of his winnings to charitable causes over the years.
Kerry Packer was no stranger to spending extravagant sums of money. From giving an ambulance crew $1 million for their services to tipping casino staff $1.3 million after causing them to lose a $40,000 bonus due to his win, Packer knew how to spend well. He also knew how to win well. So well, in fact, that he was banned from dozens of casinos. One casino, MGM Grand, did not ban Packer from gambling. Instead, they allowed him to gamble $500,000 a hand on blackjack shortly before banning him for life after he won $26 million in a single evening.
You could find Archie Karas, a man who came to America from Greece with no money in his pockets, seated at the poker tables in Las Vegas. Archie’s bets weren’t as impressive as others on the list in terms of one-time wagering, though it is said his streak is the longest winning streak in Las Vegas. Over 3 years starting in 1992, Karas turned $50 and a $10,000 loan into $40 million by the start of 1995 by playing poker and pool. At one point, Karas had won all of Binion’s casino’s $5,000 chips. His luck ran out in 1995 when a streak of losses over 3 weeks lost him $30 million.
Think you can stack up to these big bettors and win big? While the big wins might seem inspirational, remember to stay responsible with your betting to avoid the big losses that some of these winners faced. Stop by Golden Gate Casino to place your bets. Maybe you’ll even break the Golden Gate roulette record that “The Buried Life” set! To make your winnings even sweeter, be sure to become a Club One Players Club member to earn even more benefits from your time spent on the casino floor.