The biggest bets of all-time


Gambling is an exciting pastime for many people, and although most of us are able to enjoy the fun and thrill of it now and again, it can be a very fickle mistress. Gambling, simply put, creates winners and losers, and high rollers looking to place significant amounts of money on any one particular outcome risk losing it all just as much as they have a chance to walk away with a life-changing sum of money. So which risk takers have made it onto our list of the biggest bets of all time?

Mike Futter, Grand National

The Grand National is a huge date in the horse racing calendar, and it’s a time when even those who wouldn’t typically follow the gee-gees chance their hand and place a few randomly selected wagers in the hope of cheering their rider and racer on to an unprecedented victory. For Mike Futter, his flutter turned into an incredible £1 million-plus win back in 2003 when he gambled on his own horse, the eventual winner Monty’s Pass. Along with the horse’s other co-owners, they made a series of bets of £5,000 with odds standing at 33-1 each way and a massive £10,000 each way bet at 20-1.

Terrance Watanabe, Vegas Losing Streak

Unfortunately, not all big bets end well for the gambler, much to businessman Terrance Watanabe’s dismay in 2007. Watanabe spent a year in gambling capital Las Vegas and managed to lose nearly $127 million of his own fortune that he had accumulated over the past 20 years. His 12-month Vegas gambling splurge resulted in record losses, earning his endeavours the title of being one of the biggest losing streaks ever to hit the streets of Sin City.

Archie Karas, One Last Chance

From an unbelievable losing streak to an incredible stroke of fortune which managed to completely turn things around. Former waiter Archie Karas had almost nothing to his name, but after being lent $10,000 in stake money for a hugely important head-to-head poker tournament at the Binion’s Horseshoe casino in Las Vegas, his luck changed significantly. Karas progressed through the tournament and even faced off against 15 of the world’s best poker players. Karas eventually went on to win the contest, and even after that, he wasn’t quite done. With a trip to the craps table, he was able to extend his winning streak and finally ended up with $17 million in winnings.

The Newport Accumulator

There’s not a lot that high street betting shops won’t take a wager on, whether it’s a sporting or TV-related event or even trying to predict the outcome or a certain development in some aspect of society or pop culture. While popular online sites such as King Cashalot give you the chance to pick up potential big winnings off the back of a small initial bet, mixing a certain number of possible predictions can also lead to a huge win, much like it did for a 40-year-old Welshman in 1989. He placed a £30 bet on “Eastenders,” “Neighbours” and “Home and Away” still being active soap operas on British television by the year 2000, as well as U2 remaining a pop group and Cliff Richard being knighted, all by the turn of the millennium. The odds given were 6,479/1 and it managed to net him an incredible £194,400 payday.