Famous (smart?) Roulette Betting

Risk is a word that is always associated with gambling.  So are chance, luck, and strategy.  Over the years, there have been some individuals who seem to have defied the odds and became famous for their gambling adventures. 

Ashley Revell of London is one person who did the unthinkable to make money at a game of total chance.  In 2004, he sold all of his possession, including his clothing.  He walked away with $135,300.00.  He brought it to the Plaza hotel In Las Vegas and put it all on “Red” at the roulette table.  He made a double or nothing bet.  The ball landed on “Red 7” and Revell walked away with $270,000.  His odds were 50/50.  If the ball would have landed on black, you guess it, he would have been broke.

Not all famous gambling moments take place in real life.  In the Humphrey Bogart 1942 classic Casablanca, Rick’s Café American has a trick roulette wheel.  The croupier, or dealer, has the ability to get the ball to land on 22 at will.  Bogart, who plays Rick, urges a Bulgarian refugee, whose case he has sympathy, to put his last three chips on 22.  He then motions to the dealer to let him win.  After the ball lands on 22 Rick tells him to let it ride again all on 22 and lets him win again.  The details aren’t mentioned in the film, but it appears that Rick has given the refugee 3885 francs.

A guitarist Harri Manty goes to Las Vegas and bets an entire video budget on black.  He wins and the profits are donated to charity.  This is in the music video for Palace & Main.

Another film, 1998 Run, Lola, Run, Lola uses all her money to purchase a 100 mark chip.  She’s actually short the 100 marks but is able to sweet talk a casino employee to make up the difference for what she has.  Here she places a single number bet on 20 and wins.  She then lets it ride on 20 and wins again walking away with total winnings of 129,600.  This would be extremely rare in a real roulette setting.  Single number betting alone has very poor odds.

Films seem to be popular mediums for glamorizing the game of roulette.  In another 1973 film starring Robert Redford called The Sting, Johnny Hooker (Redford) uses his share of money conned from a number runner and loses nearly all on a single bet on a rigged roulette wheel.  I guess they don’t ALL win in the movies.

Finally, in a South Park episode, the town, facing destruction by Native Americans, decide to bet $10,000 in order to raise money to save the town.  Of course they win, but then get greedy and let it ride.  Ultimately they lose it all.  What else might one expect from a South Park episode?

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