Poker players seem to get all the celebrity attention when looking back in gambling history, but there are some famous roulette players who definitely deserve more attention. This special feature will introduce celebrity roulette players who were renowned for their achievements on the wheel.
In casino circles, there is a famous song entitled “The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo”. That man was named Joseph Jagger, and it was 1873 when he inspired the creation of that illustrious title. Jagger did not build up his considerable winnings purely out of gameplay, but because he looked for an edge.
Back in 1873, Jagger refused to believe that every roulette wheel was the same. He felt that each wheel would differ from the next, with the more pronounced flaws impacting how often certain outcomes would occur. After forming his hypothesis, Jagger collaborated with other Monte Carlo roulette players to test the wheels.
Days later, Jagger found that the most flawed of the wheels had nine numbers that appeared more often than any others. Knowing those numbers, Jagger was able to win the equivalent of £2 million in today’s money.
Monte Carlo was the 19th century version of Las Vegas, but more exclusively geared towards the rich and the wealthy. Today, however, Monte Carlo is not the gambling holiday destination it once was, and one reason could be the roulette scammers who took the casinos for large sums of money.
Nearly 20 years after Jagger targeted Monte Carlo, Wells also tried to break the bank in 1891. The small-time London criminal brought his own stake over, but didn’t even need to employ the sneaky tactics of Jagger.
In the case of Wells, he merely used extremely large stakes to quickly exhaust tables of funds before their long-term advantage would come into play. That was his story, anyway, with Wells saying he preferred the Martingale system, but some stories suggest he played on the same wheel as Jagger.
There seems to be merit in Wells’ philosophy that heavy betting has the potential to quickly exhaust a casino’s funds. In 1966, Norman Leigh went to Nice’s Casino Municipal with 12 other players. As a team, they used clear tactics that paid out handsomely.
The story goes that the team used a reverse version of the Labouchère system, whereby the players would only raise their bets when they were ahead. The sheer size of their collective capital meant the strategy worked and Leigh ended up being banned from every casino in France.
The first woman on this list is Carol Jarecki, who proved in the 1970s that Monte Carlo’s casinos were still ripe for breaking. Renowned for being a professional chess player, Jarecki visited the region with her husband and examined for flaws before playing. A century after Jagger, Jarecki proved it was possible to still win thousand because of imperfect roulette wheels.
Considering the sheer volume of outcomes, it’s little wonder that the most famous roulette players had to use special systems or else look for flaws to earn their winnings.