Sometimes when we are staring at a very risky bet we take a moment to think about what would happen if we lost, and we weigh up our chances. Is the risk really worth the possible reward? These five people decided it was worth it, and the payoff was absolutely amazing!
FedEx or Bust
Everybody knows the famous courier company FedEx, but few know that in 1974 the business was in dire straits. With the goal of providing a delivery service anywhere in the world within 24 hours, the running costs of the company were huge, and after being in operation for 3 years they were down to their last $5000.
The founder of FedEx, Frederick W. Smith, realised that there wasn’t enough money in the company accounts to fuel the aeroplanes needed to complete deliveries the following Monday, and was left with a dilemma. He decided to try one last ditch attempt at getting the company going, and withdrew all the money in the account and headed to Las Vegas. He played Blackjack right through the weekend, and on Monday deposited $32000 into the company accounts! This turned out to be just enough to keep the business going for a little while longer, and just long enough to get the next bit of income in to start growing FedEx into the instantly recognisable brand it is today.
Scoring in the Future
Across the Atlantic under very difference circumstances, another man made a very risky bet as a result of extreme confidence in his grandchild. When Peter Edwards of Wales’ grandchild Harry Wilson was only 3 years old, he had already begun to show a keen interest in playing football. Edwards saw his grandchild’s fate clear as day, and headed on over to a William Hill betting shop to place a bet on his future.
William Hill agreed to accept a bet of £50 that Harry Wilson would one play football for Wales. The odds given were 2500 to 1. Thirteen years later, when Wilson was only 16 years old, he joined the team and ran onto the field as a substitute in his first national game. By simply walking out onto the grass that day, he earned his grandfather an enormous £125,000 win!
One of the rules responsible players always stick to is not to play what you can’t afford to lose. However, one man decided to give this a shot. After a big night out with friends and a few too many beers, Ashley Revell made the decision to sell all of his belongings, cash in his savings and head to Las Vegas to make just one bet. Once absolutely everything he owned was liquidated he managed to raise £76,840 and booked his flight. Originally he had planned to place his single bet at different casino, but they were uncomfortable with stakes of his all or nothing wager. Instead he travelled straight to the Plaza Hotel and Casino and amidst much fanfare of photographers, film crew, and media, he placed his bet at the Roulette table, all on red – and won! He walked away that same day with £153,680 in winnings.
Making Craps History
In a similar story of one person beating the odds, albeit with less risk of bankruptcy, Paula Demauro made betting history with the game of craps. Despite odds of 1 in 1.56 trillion, Demauro rolled the dice a record breaking 154 times without rolling a 7. The New Jersey native and grandmother of two chose not to disclose her total winnings, but several experts spent some time working it out and agree that she would have least been in the region of hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
Lightning Strikes Twice
Our last contender isn’t so much a story of great risk, but rather one of incredible luck. In 1989, Elmer Sherwin headed to The Mirage to play a few slots games, sat down at the Megabucks Slot, enjoyed a few spins and won himself a whopping $4.6 million jackpot payout.
Content with his lifestyle in his mobile home, Sherwin decided to save his winnings and lived comfortably off the interest for years, occasionally heading into the casinos for a few more spins on his preferred slots. His biggest purchase was a new Dodge Colt and he eventually moved to Las Vegas where he continued to live modestly, occasionally sharing his winnings with family.
Sixteen years after his first win, Sherwin decided to give his favourite slot another try. He headed out to the Cannery Casino and Hotel for the day, and was shocked when he once again won the jackpot, this time of $21 million! Sometimes, amazing things do happen twice in a lifetime, and Sherwin is living proof!