The Man Who Gambled Away Over $200 Million
Terry Watanabe is one famous person you will always hear of in the famous Las Vegas casinos. Apparently, he amassed a notable fortune when he sold away all his stake that he had inherited from his family’s business, the Oriental Trading Company.
With all the money and time on his hands, he packed his bags and set to the City in The Desert, Las Vegas where he became a tale of excessive gambling, drinking and amassing significant losses at the Harrah’s and other casinos located in Vegas.
While he enjoyed this high life of being a high roller at various casinos, the casinos slowly enjoyed his fortune. It is reported that after one year at Las Vegas, “Wannabe” had lost away over $100 million.
In fact, it is was reported that out of Harrah’s total income, “Wannabe” had contributed a staggering 6% of the total income and as a way to pay tribute to his loyalty, the casino formed a new tier where he was the only member, called “Chairman.”
Of course, he was also awarded a number of V-VIP packages such as free concert tickets, a $12,500 per month in air tickets and a $500,000 in credit the Harrah’s gift store.
However, “Wannabe” gambling binge came to a sudden stop when his sister was notified of his serious gambling problem. At one of the thanksgiving dinner, “Wannabe” confined to her that he had a serious gambling problem and that he needed help.
Thereafter, his sister chose a treatment facility that “Wannabe” signed up for and ever since he confesses not to have laid his foot in any casino.
The Guy Who Sold Everything He Had To Bet On a Roulette Game
If you are a keen follower of the gambling stories headlines, you might have probably heard of Ashley Revell, the professional Brit gambler who sold literally all his possessions including his clothes, took a flight to Las Vegas and used the $135,300 he had on him on Red at the Plaza Hotel casino.
If you ever happen to visit the hotel, you will see the exact spot that he sat while he placed the bet (usually written THIS IS THE WHEEL! ASHLEY REVELL BET $136,000 ON RED AND WON! APRIL 11TH 2014).
While he was accomplishing this historical and life changing moment, there were interested onlookers as well as news journalists from various media houses in anticipation. With Ashley stepping up to the roulette table, the tension in the room became so high that you could touch it with your fingers.
After taking in a deep breath and with a single spin, Ashley Revell doubled the $135,300 and walked away from the hotels’ table with $270,000 after tipping the dealer with the $600.
With these winnings, Revell started the Poker UTD, a poker company that has grown to become one of the leading brands in the gambling industry. Ashley’s story traveled far and wide and attracted professional gamblers stories writer Simon Cowell, who wrote a book entitled “Red or Black.”
The Gamble That Brought FedEx Back to Business
FedEx, as most of us know it is a highly successful company that delivers goods and products throughout the world overnight.
However, before we go into details, did you know that the founder of this company once saved it when it was on the brink of closure by turning the remaining $5,000 into $32,000 at one of the Blackjack tables in Las Vegas? Although not one of those professional gamblers stories, this actually happened in real life.
Back in 1971, Fredrick Smith, who is the current CEO and founder of FedEx, invested his $4 Million fortune plus an additional $90 million to start a delivery company that was later to be known as FedEx – a rare service that no other company was offering at that time.
However, with the increasing cost of operation, largely to blame because of the rising costs of fuel, the company faced looming bankruptcy by incurring losses in excess of $500,000 a month. At one point, the company had only $5,000 left to fuel the planes for one last trip the following Monday.
Therefore, instead of taking his accustomed trip back to Memphis, Fredrick withdrew the remaining $5,000 and headed back to Las Vegas and played Blackjack with the remaining cash.
The following Monday, the company’s management was shocked when they found $32,000 in the company’s accounts which was all they needed to keep the company running for a few extra days.
4 years later, FedEx recuperated from the losses and made $40 million in profits. Fast forward to today, the company is estimated to be worth a whopping $35 billion.
An MIT Student Who Managed to Beat the System
There is a 2008 movie, 21 which fictionalized the tale of college students who came up with a formula that could be used to beat Blackjack. Well, the events didn’t unfold as shown in the movie but the geeks did beat Vegas.
The geek team used the commonly used Blackjack strategy, card counting, a technique that usually reveals whether the upcoming cards are basically low or high. When a player is expecting high cards, he/she should raise their bets.
However, if you lower and raise your cards accurately and win lots of money in the process, the dealer may notice, and you may be asked by the casino to leave.
Therefore, the MIT students got around this hurdle of being chased by working together as a team. Some of the members were charged with the responsibility of counting the cards, signal the card counts to the third member who would make huge bets at the high roller tables.
These other remaining members would then distract the dealers by also placing huge bets, overlooking the count and eventually breaking even.
At the end of the day, these geeks won so much money that they had to form an investment company which was dedicated to handling their bankroll and eventually, they even got featured in some of the professional gamblers stories where they had to narrate on how they managed this feat.