Gambling is a game of highs and lows. From seeing your number come up on a roulette wheel to backing your favorite sports team to a shock win, it provides you with a thrill that keeps you coming back for more. Some gamblers prefer to play games of skill like poker, where they have a little control over wins and losses. Others like to throw themselves into the arms of fate and spend their money on games of chance. Some gamble a little, and others gamble a lot!
So long as people don’t spend what they can’t afford to lose, gambling does no harm. It does sometimes make people go a little crazy, though. The internet is full of tales of unbelievable success, failure, and strange behavior at casinos both offline and online, and we’ve brought some of our favorites together for you in this article.
Backing A Tiger
Sports betting is the craze that’s been sweeping America during the past year, and with results like this, we're not surprised. In April 2019, golfing legend Tiger Woods won the US Masters for the first time in many years. Most sports commentators and experts thought that his best days were behind him, and so bookmakers priced him as an outsider to win the tournament. That made him an attractive bet to a man names James Adducci, who was in over his head with student debts, credit card debts, and a mortgage. He had $85,000 in the bank, but that was only a fraction of what he owed, and lenders were closing in.
In desperation, James put the whole amount on Woods to win. When Tiger came up trumps, he walked away with a profit of $1.2m and was able to clear himself of debt and start his life over again. At the time of writing, it remains the single largest sports betting win in US history - although we’re sure someone will break that record within the next year.
Spinning And Losing
Online casinos are a convenience. Unlike your local casino, which probably has opening and closing times and requires you to wear clothes, you can play the most popular game Rainbow slots at online casinos wherever you are, whenever you please, and wearing as much or as little as you like. Online slots websites have become a clear and present danger to the existence of traditional casinos - and not just because of their huge range of online slots. As well as offering that gambling staple, they also tend to offer other attractions. The better online slots websites usually host online roulette and online card tables as well as their slots - as a British gambler known only by his first name of Alex found out to his cost.
In less than half an hour, Alex placed bets worth more than $150,000 on an online roulette table - and lost the whole amount. The loss may not be as bad as it sounds - he'd started the day with significantly less money than that, and had built up some huge wins before he lost it all - but it's still a reminder that successful gamblers should always work out when to quit while they're ahead.
From Five Bucks To One Million
You’re never too old to become a first-time millionaire. Just ask 85-year-old Harold McDowell of New Jersey about his good luck story if you doubt us. Howard visited Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino with five dollars in his back pocket one afternoon when he was bored and had nothing else to do. By the time he went back home to his wife, he had turned that trivial amount of cash into a cool million.
The luck involved in Harold's big win was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. He placed his bet on a three-card poker game that also happened to offer a six-card bonus. When his cards were dealt, he had a royal straight flush in diamonds. The odds of that happening on any given hand are approximately one in twenty million. You'd be more likely to be struck by lightning during a storm than to receive that hand at a poker table - but Harold is living testimony that it can and does happen.
From Cards To Wheels
Earlier on, we said that all gamblers should know when they’ve hit their peak, and then collect their winnings and go home. There are exceptions to every rule, though, and British poker player Jake Cody is one of those exceptions. He was already having a good day when he landed sixty thousand dollars by winning a poker tournament, but he decided he was going to push things just a little bit further.
Jake was in Nottingham's 'Dusk Til Dawn' casino in early 2018 when he decided to place a bet that most of us would consider to be lunacy. After collecting his winnings, he passed a poker table and decided to bet everything he'd just won on a single spin, picking black over red. The wheel spun, the ball landed in black number 22, and Jake had doubled his money in the space of a few seconds. We wouldn't want to call it a clever bet, but he must have nerves of steel.
The Gambling Pastor
Believing in the divine doesn’t automatically make you a good person. Many people who claim to have strong religious beliefs have done deeply immoral things, but it’s always surprising to hear of a pastor going totally off the rails. Gregory Bolusan, the pastor of Las Vegas’ Grace Bible Church, went a very long way off the rails in 2017.
Pastor Bolusan robbed the M Resort Casino of Henderson in Nevada not once, not twice, but a whole three times, holding staff at gunpoint on all three occasions. Between the three heists, he got away with almost one hundred thousand dollars in cash, but the third time was one too many, and the police caught up with him. It later transpired that the pastor's wife worked at the casino and provided strategic assistance with the timing and planning of the robberies. This was an inside job - and not one that the good Lord would approve of. Bolusan is currently repenting in a jail cell, and he'll be there for quite some time yet.
Are these the craziest gambling stories you’ve ever heard, or do you know of one that’s even more bizarre and unbelievable? If so, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments!