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Gambling's Greatest Wins, Runs, Records and Legends - Part 215 December 2001
SON, I'LL TELL YOU A STORY
Roulette naturally lends itself to the fantastic but true realm of casino gaming stories as it is the oldest game with the longest tradition and the most written about it worldwide.
Try these stories on for outsize:
Over a seven year period, between 1904 and 1911, William Nelson Darnborough from Bloomington, Illinois, challenged the monstrous Monte Carlo casino at roulette, winning close to a half million dollars (in early 1900s currency, mind you). He did this after winning untold sums playing roulette in the United States in illegal casinos operated in saloons. Darnborough was a wheel watcher, a man who could anticipate with an unusual degree of accuracy where the ball would land. After winning his fortune, he quit playing to marry a beautiful young woman of noble blood whose family frowned on gambling. He lived happily ever after on a huge estate in England.
In 1971, Dr. Richard Jarecki operated on the casinos in Monte Carlo and San Remo to the tune of $1,280,000. Dr. Jarecki was a biased-wheel player who looked for wheels that were "off." He found them and stitched together quite a winning streak.
In a three-year period, from 1986 to 1989, Billy Walter's roulette teams won approximately five million dollars from casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, also playing biased-wheels.
But all the above biased-wheel players owe a debt of gratitude to the grand-daddy of biased-wheel play, the man who might have "invented" it, one Joseph Jaggers who won $325,000 in 1873 from Monte Carlo. (How much would that be worth today?) Jaggers staggered Monte Carlo because until that time no one -- and I mean no one -- had ever had sustained a winning streak of his proportions at the famed casino.
Those are some of the men who performed heroically in the face of Lady Luck by using skill at roulette, but what about weird and wild streaks that were just old-fashioned once-in-a-lifetime crazy luck?
Here is an eyewitness account from Barney Vinson, author of the acclaimed books Casino Secrets and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas, of something that has only happened twice in "recorded" roulette history:
"Here's a true story, and I saw it happen. At Caesars Palace on July 14, 2000, at 1:35 p.m., the number 7 came up six times in a row at Roulette Wheel #211. To figure the odds of such an occurrence, multiply 38 x 38 x 38 x 38 x 38 x 38, or over three billion to one! The dealer said it was the first time he had seen this in his 27-year career. Another sidelight. After the ball landed on 7 four times, the floor supervisor told the pit boss, 'I'll bet you a million dollars that it won't come up again.' Then here it came again, and again." During this twice-in-a-century event, with players and pit bosses and dealers all agog at the incredible repeating 7, how much money did Roulette table #211 lose? Hundreds of millions? Millions? Hundreds of thousands? Thousands? Nope, a mere $300!
Barney Vinson saw something that has only been recorded one time before. The number 10 appeared six times in a row on July 9th, 1959, at El San Juan Hotel in Puerto Rico. There must be something about the month of July (the author of this article was born in July -- another amazing thing!) since Caesar was said to be born under a lucky star and July is named for him.
Now, some other wild roulette "eyewitness" accounts aren't as reliable as Barney Vinson's, but I give them to you nevertheless, and you be the judge of their veracity. Black was said to have come up 23 times in a row at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas (a dealer told me this in the early 1990s) or was that 22 times in a row at Caesars in Atlantic City (mid-1990s)? Red once came up 21 times but I can't remember who told me or where it was. I just remember I was in Vegas and someone saying to me: "Here's another glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, sir, and Red once came up 21 times at that roulette wheel over there, no, no, turn your head, sir -- that one over there!"
If you're looking for strange to go along with your odds, try this one: A roulette ball rocketed off the roulette wheel, almost hit a croupier in the eye but he swiped at it just in time, hit it up in the air, where it bounced off a chandelier, came back down, ricocheted off a patron's cigarette holder, then dropped back into the roulette wheel, where it landed in the four pocket. This happened in England. It was told to me by a flight attendant for American Airlines who claims to have witnessed it.Next time: "In the area of craps, the greatest interest is usually centered around monster rolls, rolls that last more than 20-30 minutes and make everyone at the table a bundle of money."
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Best of Frank Scoblete