The most popular professional roulette players

It is said that roulette is the casino game with the most chances of winning – after all, in most cases it is simply a matter of choosing between black and red. The following people are famous at the roulette table for winning large sums of money. Unlike other casino games, there are few « professional » players, but the following people have all won large sums of money by choosing red or black.

Chris Boyd

Chris is one of the first people in modern history to attempt to become a professional roulette player. Chris is a software developer in the UK who has saved around $220,000 over several years with the intention of spending it all in Las Vegas casinos. He was turned down when he tried to spend all his money in a single spin, but negotiations with casino staff led him to play at the Horseshoe Club – a game with a minimum bet of $100,000. After a few practice rounds, he was allowed to spend all his money in one round – and he won. This was the beginning and the end of his gambling career and after winning, he swore he would never do it again.

Ashley Revell

Another Briton, Revell, thought he could recreate the victory of Chris Boyd. The only difference is that he was already a professional gambler when he decided to sell everything he owned to raise enough money for a single round in Las Vegas – his bet was $135,000. This created a media frenzy and journalists from all over the world followed his progress and were even present during the spin. He won and doubled his money to $270,000. Like Boyd, he also decided never to gamble again. He put the money to good use, spending it on setting up his own poker site.


Joseph Jagger

As the world’s first professional roulette player, Jagger was also the first to hypothesize that no two roulette wheels are the same. He thought he could calculate (rather than guess) the result of a spin of the roulette wheel. Many people followed this theory and worked on the assumption that a wheel has flaws. If it is slightly off-centre, damage (even minor) and other imperfections will weigh on a wheel and force it to land on certain colours or numbers. Putting his ideas into practice by examining all the wheels in Monte Carlo, he and several friends identified the wheel most likely to be a winner. Jagger won a great victory and was awarded the title of « The Man Who Broke the Bank of Monte Carlo ».

Charles Wells

Eighteen years after Joseph Jagger, Wells became the second man to break the bank in Monte Carlo and he did it using the same wheel in the same casino. After Jagger’s victory, the casino staff realized that there was indeed a problem with the wheel. Whatever the problem was, years of use had brought it back, weighting it in favour of certain results, and Charles Wells was the first to see that the problem had not been solved. He took advantage of the situation and placed a big bet based on his prediction. Wells was already a professional gambler until this huge victory – he managed to predict 23 laps out of 30 and won several million francs in only three days.

Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo

More recently, a Spaniard took advantage of the possibility of defects in an individual wheel. He analysed thousands of spins of a single wheel in order to identify not the defects, but the most common numbers and colours that would appear as a result of the wheel’s imperfections. He compiled the « hot spots », i.e. the areas where the ball is most likely to fall. Based on the number of knots in the wheel, he predicted that each number should appear within a normal range and standard deviations from an average of 135 occurrences. Any number appearing more than 170 times would be considered the result of a defect.

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Christian Kaisan

Famous at the beginning of the last decade, Kaisan, born in Germany, started playing in Leipzig in 1972, when he developed a penchant for horse racing. At that time, the gambling laws in Germany changed, so that casino games can now be played legally. That day he played cards on a camping table and over the years he became interested in casino games until a Japanese friend introduced him to roulette. He never looked back and played roulette all over Europe using his method, which he said predicted where a ball would land on the roulette wheel.

Norman Leigh

Another « man who blew up the bank » at roulette, this gentleman did what Jagger had done almost a century before. In 1966 Leigh won 800,000 French francs. The win was so large and the ripple so shocking that he was banned from all casinos in France. His flawed method, which he believed guaranteed lasting winnings, was then discarded and his big win was attributed to luck – the main reason most people win at roulette.

Benno Winkel 

Another famous German, Winkel was known as the « King of Roulette » and is said to have won 1.5 million Deutsche Mark in just a few months on Hamburg’s roulette wheels. Now considered one of the most popular players of the century, he seems to be one of the few to make a living from his roulette winnings – and all in a matter of months.

Carol Jarecki

Although famous as professional chess players, Jarecki and her husband won a substantial amount of money on the roulette scene in Monte Carlo and San Remo in the 1970s. Like many others before them, they examined the spinning wheels for flaws that could lead to a bias in the results. One more in a long line of people benefiting from imperfect systems.

Laszlo Kovacs

While some of the above have used mathematics to calculate where the ball will land on a roulette wheel, Kovacs went further by using an electronic device that he put in his shoe. With a single shot, the device calculates the speed of the ball at the moment of release and gives a good estimate of where the ball might land. Kovacs has made thousands of dollars in Australia. He was charged but not convicted of cheating because he hadn’t broken any laws or rules. He was deported to Hungary.