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Amazing Gambling Stories

In Gambling Stories

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: 

The Star Wars wager

Another amazing gambling story, this time between friends rather than against the casino is the Star Wars bet made between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. In the mid 1970’s sci-fi had fallen out of fashion with many studios in Hollywood causing Lucas who was filming Star Wars - A New Hope in 1977 to panic that his project would flop. Looking for reassurance Lucas took a break from filming and paid a visit to his friend Steven Spielberg who was on set filming his own sci-fi film; Close Encounters of The Third Kind.
Spielberg described Lucas as a nervous wreck when he arrived and remembers he exclaimed in exacerbation, ‘Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than Star Wars! This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time. I can’t believe this set. I can’t believe what you’re getting, and oh my goodness.’ In his state of panic Lucas then proposed a wager to his friend, ‘I’ll give you 2.5% of Star Wars if you give me 2.5% of Close Encounters’ and as Spielberg remembers he said, ‘Sure I’ll gamble with that. Great.’

With their gamble set the two had to wait for the release of their films and the box office takings to come in. Lucas’ anxiety proved to be ill founded and although Close Encounters made $303 million at the box office Star Wars went on to become the highest grossing film of all time up to 1983, making $530 million, which today would be around $1.48 billion. This would put Spielberg’s winnings from the bet at around $40 million and still counting! Though with the whole Star Wars franchise going on to be valued at over $30 billion Lucas probably doesn’t regret making the bet. 

Amazing gambling stories from online casinos are not so common, not because that they don’t have the jackpots of land based casinos, but because they have the privacy and anonymity our customer want their winnings are more of a private affair. However, please share with us Twitter or Facebook if you’ve won big at All Star Slots, or have any amazing gambling stories of your own. If you haven’t yet won big at All Star Slots check out our great selection of online slot and casino games to play for free of real money via download, instant play or mobile.