We are all aware that sometimes gambling can get out of hand. When spending time with friends or family what starts as a friendly game can end up with considerable amounts of money or even a car on the line. A wager is often the financial portion of pride in these tales. In casinos too people can start gambling a few dollars and soon find themselves gambling in the hundreds in a desperate attempt to win back what they lost. The more they lose the more they bet. Gambling is a dangerous game for the average man. Yet for those who are rich, it is a sport without consequence. There are many stories of the super-wealthy gambling insane amounts in the past and barely caring whether they won or lost.
William Lee Bergstrom is a man who must always be mentioned when talking about gambling feats. In the 1980s his name was not known but his actions were. He walked into a casino with nearly $800,000 (the equivalent of nearly $3 million today) and bet it all on the single roll of a dice. He won. The man who became known as the phantom gambler simply took his winnings, cashed out, and left. He barely uttered a word in the whole process. He would return again in 1984 and so the same thing with just over $500,000. Again, he won. A few months later he did it again, this time with $1 million, and this time he lost.
No one knows why he placed these large bets as people describe the man as not really interested in gambling. Some say he did it so that his name would be remembered for something. He even asked that his urn describe his last action as the man who bet $1 million on a single roll of dice. Sadly we will never know why as Bergstrom later committed suicide. While many people tried to pin the reason for the loss in his last bet, it is believed to have actually have been a result of losing a lover.
Kerry Packer is another name that goes down in history as a huge gambler. An Australian media billionaire, Packer had lots of money to waste. He would bet incredible amounts of money at casinos and was a very skilled gambler. So much so that he had been known to cause a number of casinos to go out of business. Yet he was not a selfish man and was known to tip any staff that he interacted with in huge amounts. He is known to have paid 6 figure tips, paid off mortgages and when he was once in need of an ambulance he paid each worker a tip of a million dollars. Many casinos have limits on the amount allowed to be gambled and Packer was known to always push them. He once played blackjack for $500,000 per hand. That night he left the MGM grand with $26 million and a lifetime ban.
Another famous gambler is Ashely Revell. While the amount he bet wasn’t so high it was everything he had, and we mean everything. The man sold all of his possessions including every item of clothes he owned. He rented a tuxedo and went to the casino with that, all of his money and nothing else. He bet it all on the spin of a roulette wheel. He chose red and he won, doubling his money. While the move seems a little foolish, it paid off. He ended up traveling Europe and falling in love with a Dutch woman. He now says that the bet won him a wife and two kids.
While there will always be stories of the great gambling winners we rarely hear about the biggest losers. Gambling is a game where more often than not, the house wins. Never bet money that you can’t afford to lose and never take on the house at their own game.