The Biggest Gambling Bets of All Time

While many of us prefer a safe bet, or no bet at all, some people can’t resist the thrill of risking it all. They would probably say that you can’t win if you don’t play the game, but perhaps some of these games would have been better off unplayed. Here are some of the biggest bets, biggest winners and biggest losers in history.

David Threlfall

Science fiction fan David Threlfall was so sure that man would one day walk on the surface of the moon that in 1964 he made a bet with a bookie that the miraculous event would occur sometime in the following ten years. The odds were 1,000 to 1, but as we all know, only five years later, the world watched as Neil Armstrong took his first lunar step. Threlfall was awarded with a cheque for £10,000 (close to $195,000 today) and is said to have bought a Jaguar with his winnings.

NASA / Neil A. Armstrong

NASA / Neil A. Armstrong

Mick Gibbs

Never tell British roofer Mick Gibbs the odds, because it won’t make any difference to him. In 2001, Gibbs made the news when he won half a million pounds by correctly guessing the winner of 15 soccer, cricket and rugby championship matches – somehow beating the 1.6 million to one odds.

William Lee Bergstrom

William Lee Bergstrom once made such a history-making bet; it earned him the lifelong nickname of “The Suitcase Man.” In 1980, the Texan native walked into the Binion’s Horseshow Casino in Las Vegas with two suitcases: one containing $777,000 and one that was empty. He bet it all on a single roll of the dice, won, filled the second suitcase with his winnings and walked out.

Four years later he returned to the same casino and bet $538,000 and won again. A few months later he returned once again with $1 million but sadly lost. The casino owner claimed that Bergstrom just “jerked his finger up off the table. He wasn’t upset or nothin’.”


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