Blackjack saves FedEx
FedEx is now one of the most successful delivery services in the USA and a major international player as well, but who knew that it was gambling that made it all possible? The story revolves around FedEx’s maverick founder, Frederick W. Smith who founded the company in 1971 after raising $91 million from venture capitalists. However, the money raised didn’t provide a smooth start for the company and two years after starting to operate in 1973 the company had losses of $29 million and was losing $1 million a month. The situation looked dire when the $5,000 left in the company’s account wasn’t enough to fuel the planes to keep the company operational and facing the end of the company he founded Smith look a gamble that payed off big time.
With the company’s remaining $5,000 Smith flew across the country to Las Vegas for the weekend where he used it to gamble on Blackjack and had won $32,000 by the Monday deadline was reached. Smith wired back the money into the FedEx account and the planes were fuelled, saving the company. When asked what is was thinking he said, ‘Without the funds for the fuel companies, we couldn’t have flown anyway.’ Shortly after his gamble payed off Smith was able to secure $11 million in extra investment, which saved the company and saw it making $3.6 million in profit in 1976 putting it on the road to success.
Man who bet all he owned
When Ashley Revell of the UK met for a few drinks with his friends in the pub he stumbled on a life changing idea. When a friend said, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we went to Las Vegas and bet everything on one spin’ Ashley decided that he need some of that excitement in his life and to give it a go. He recalls thinking, ‘I’m not married and I haven’t got any kids. It’s almost like my last chance to go mad’ so set about getting the money together. Selling all of his possessions including his car, Rolex watch, golf clubs, all of his clothing and cashing in his life savings brought him £76,840 ($135,300) to take to Las Vegas to play on roulette.
Wanting a round figure to play with Ashley spent the week before his big spin at the Plaza Hotel gambling with $3,000 to boost his total to £100,000, but luck wasn’t with him and he lost $1,000. Deciding to overlook this bad omen he settled on playing with the funds he had brought with him and rented himself a tuxedo for the moment of truth.
He remembers sleeping like a baby the night before his spin, which had attracted much attention and was convinced that he was going to win even though he had no idea if he would play red of black. He still didn’t know when he got to the table, surrounded by on lookers and describes the feeling he had before the ball was spun as a, ‘complete feeling of freedom’. He remembers time stood still and as the ball spun around the roulette wheel the first thing that came into his head was ‘red’ and he wagered his life’s worth.
The ball landing on red 7 and the crowd around him erupted in cheers and the champagne flowed. In front of his relieved friends, family and many onlookers Ashley had won $270,000 in his amazing gamble. After tipping the dealer $600 Ashley called it quits and used his winnings to start his own poker company, Poker Utd.
Ashley’s gamble was filmed for a Sky UK TV programme which you can watch below: