Memorable roulette wins

The life-changing bet that inspired Simon Cowell

The Simon Cowell TV show Red or Black, set to return to British screens in 2012, offers contestants the prospect of £1 million every night on a single spin of a roulette wheel. While this may seem like an unlikely premise, the idea of one life-changing bet was actually inspired by a real event.

In 2004, Ashley Revell made a decision. He sold everything he owned and calculated that he had £135,000 to his name. He then got on a plane and headed for Las Vegas, pausing only to rent a tuxedo before heading into the nearest casino and placing the entire amount on red.

Having risked everything on the bet, which was the first one he had ever made, Revell stood in front of gripped onlookers as the ball eventually nestled in red seven, sending him back to Britain with £270,000.

More roulette success stories

Of course, Revell is neither the first nor the last man to enjoy success at roulette, with Britain able to boast a number of legendary players. Fans of the game still talk about Joseph Jaggers, an engineer who became convinced he had found a biased table at a Monte Carlo casino in 1873.

He was ultimately proved correct, as his discovery secured him $325,000 (£210,000), a significant enough sum before you even begin to consider how much that would be worth today.

Later that same decade saw the arguably more prolific Londoner Charles Wells arrive in Monte Carlo with £4,000 he had swindled out of investors back home. However, guilt did not seem to be an issue for Wells, as he proceeded to break the bank of several tables, meaning he won all the money they had and forced them to be temporarily closed until more funds could be found.

More recently, in 2008 Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley went for a night out in London and managed to win £1.5 million in 15 minutes. He did this by successfully laying a 'complete' bet on his lucky number 17, odd, black and first 18.

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