Big Casino Winners that Took Down the House


Beating the casino is always a thrill. You split. You double down. You beat the dealer. You play your lucky number and the roulette wheel plays ball. You roll the dice and the chips pile up.

For most of us, a night at the casino, or a few hours playing online, is not going to change our lives. For some, however, dreams have come true. Here are five players who really made the casino pay.

#1. The Man Who Broke The Bank

Believe it or not, most casinos are thrilled when a player wins a big jackpot or has a record night at the tables. The win is good publicity and can attract new business. It’s a marketing tactic that the Monte Carlo Casino was happy to use more than 130 years ago.

In July, 1891, Charles Deville Wells went to Monte Carlo with £4,000 and broke the bank 12 times in an eleven hour roulette session. The bank was ‘broke’ when every chips on the table was won.

Wells netted more than a million francs during the marathon session and returned four months later to do the same again. No one knows how Wells did it. His bets included successfully betting on the number five for five consecutive spins and hitting a 23 spin win streak.

The song ‘The Man Who Broke The Bank at Monte Carlo’ was recorded a year later about his winning ways.

#2. Double Down

Sometimes lightning strikes twice – or a Megabucks jackpot, if your name is Elmer Sherwin.

Not content with winning $4.6 million, in 1989, at the tender age of 76, Elmer continued to spin the slots and was rewarded again with a $21,147,947 jackpot 16 years later.

Now 92 years old, Elmer had used his initial jackpot win to travel the world. His bucket list was complete. In the end, he used his new winnings to support good causes and set his family up for life.

#3. The Run

If your win streak if so ridiculous they give it a name, you know you are making gambling history. Greek American Archie Karas sustained a six month long winning streak, turning $50 into $40 million.

‘The Run’ started for Karas in Las Vegas. He was playing limit Razz and turned $50 to $10,000. Then onto pool where he hustled his bank roll up to $1.2 million. Next poker, where he took over Binions and beat every top player – amassing $17 million. Finally, onto craps where he peaked at $40 million. You can read the bet by bet account here.

#4. All Or Nothing

Would you be prepared to bet everything on a single spin? In 2005, Ashley Revell did. He sold all of his possessions, including the clothes on his back, for one spin of the roulette wheel and a bet on red.

In the end, Ashley got lucky and doubled his $135,300 wager when the ball ended up on red 7. A television crew was there to capture the moment


Possibly gambling’s greatest legend is Kerry Packer. The Australian media tycoon is the ultimate whale. His tips paid off croupier’s mortgages and he was blamed for closing down London casino Aspinalls in 1990.

In Las Vegas, a Texan playing at an adjacent gaming table wanted to join Packer and said to him ‘I’m a big player too. I’m worth $100 million’. Packer just said: “If you really want to gamble, I’ll flip you for it”. Humbled, the Texan quietly returned to his table.

Packer gambled millions. The casinos wanted his business but they knew this was the man who could literally break the bank.

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