The Biggest Roulette Winner of Them All

There are so many places to play online casino games today that it’s not surprising that the wins are getting bigger and bigger. Whatever you play, there’s a possibility of winning big. If you play slots online now with 32Red, there are progressives to play for that have life-changing jackpots up for grabs. And that’s just one example. Every casino site will have amazing progressive jackpots available – it’s just a question of deciding which one to play for.

Big roulette wins happen every day these days, but back in the 1890s there was a man who was said to be the first person to ‘break the bank’ in a casino. To break the bank means to play so well that you leave the casino table without any chips. Games have to be stopped while more chips are fetched from the casino vaults. As you can imagine, it’s rare that this happens and Charles Wells was an English conman who did this in Monte Carlo back in 1891.

Wells sat down at a roulette table and played an eleven-hour marathon session with £4,000 that he had procured from investors into his supposed invention of a musical jump rope (it never existed). During that time, legend has it that he broke the bank twelve times. And at one point during his mega-gaming session, Wells called the right bet 23 out of 30 times in a row. This has never been repeated at any casino in the world. By the end of the night, Wells left with a million francs’ winnings. Casino officials claimed he had used the Martingale system to win such a massive amount. This is where you double each bet each time you have a loss – until you have a win. Wells always said he never used a system, and that his win was down to pure luck.

That’s not where the story ended though. Wells then convinced investors to put money into another supposed invention to improve fuel saving on steam ships. He went back to Monte Carlo in 1892 and broke the bank again six more times. However, his investors and the police caught up with him and he was arrested in Le Havre and extradited to England for fraud. His case was heard at the Old Bailey and he was imprisoned for eight years, and then a further three.

On his release, Wells went back to France where another financial scam earned him another five year prison sentence. There was no happy ending for Wells; he died penniless in Paris in 1922, but he’s remembered more for his amazing roulette win than his sorry demise.