Crazy Gambling Stories: Part 2


Posted: August 5, 2015

Updated: October 6, 2017

Gambling Zion discovers the crazy gambling stories of David Threlfall and Archie Karas, that brought them the status of urban legends

Many gambling lovers have waited for years to win something big, and most of them never succeeded. However, there are some that win the first time they entered in the casino.

• David Threlfall bets on men walking on the moon
• A time machine would make our bets so successful
• Archie Karas never gives up

Crazy stories about extraordinary gambling wins is what this GamingZion article series reveals. In the previous article we wrote about tragic destinies, pure luck, cheatings, and strong convictions. Here we continue with the peculiar stories that discover some other sides of the highest wins in gambling history.

David Threlfall’s crazy gambling story

A strange suggestion came from David Threlfall on the address of the betting giant William Hill in 1964.The man required the company to prescribe odds for a man walking on the Moon in seven years time. William Hill accepted the suggestion. They offered Threlfall incredible 1,000:1 odds. From today’s perspective we would all wished to have placed all our money and property on this bet, but for the 1960s this was kind a crazy stuff to bet on. The information about man flying in space, which were spread through the media, still seemed incredible to ordinary people and walking on the moon seemed to be something that belonged only to the Jules Verne’s novels.

Threlfall put GBP 10. The formulation of the bet was the following: ” . . . a man, woman, or child from any nation on Earth being on the Moon or any other planet, star, or heavenly body of comparable distance from the Earth before January 1971.” Time was passing and human progress in discovering the vast spaces of our cosmos became an issue that gain incredible popularity in the media of the time.

Soon after, many people asked from William Hill to place a wager and there were even offers for buying Threlfall’s ticket. However he never sold it and trusted the words of the American president John F. Kennedy that by the end of the decade man will walk on the moon. On July 20th 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Threlfall was watching Armstrong’s first steps live in a TV studio. The GBP 10,000 was given to him during the TV program.

The “never give up” crazy gambling story of Archie Karas

Archie Karas with 1 million dollars

Easy come, easy go, especially with Archie

Many dream to enter Vegas with a few bucks in their pockets and come out of the casinos with a fortune. The gambling history knows some incredible stories like this. Archie Karas’s story somehow belongs to this genre. In 1992 he went to Vegas with only USD 50, and for a long time he didn’t know how to lose.

Before entering Vegas, Karas had a terrible loss of over USD 2 million on several high-stakes gambling tables in Los Angeles. He was only left with the USD 50 that he brought in Las Vegas. However, in the Binion’s Horseshoe casino he met a friend who lend him USD 10,000 in order to play high-stakes Razz. Razz is a modification on poker in which the lowest wins the game. Considering Karas’s past he thought that this might be the appropriate game for him, so he decided to place his wager there. He was not mistaken. After only three hours playing the USD 10,000 turned into an amount that was enough for him to return the loan with 50 % interest rate and to keep playing. For three years, he didn’t know of loss, making out of the initial USD 10,000 a fortune of USD 40 million. Once he even made USD 7 million into USD 17 million by beating some of Las Vegas’s poker masters in a seven-card stud. Practically he was winning every game he played in Vegas.

However the luck was not eternally with him. His weakness was craps and he lost USD 11 million on the game in only three weeks. This loss was followed by an attempt to return the money on baccarat, but in vain. He lost additional USD 17 million. The try on poker was no good either. He lost another USD 2 million which amounted to USD 30 million in one month. Time to take a break! He fled back to his home Greece but returned soon to spend the USD 10 million left. And he did lose them too. But some people can never stop. After three weeks he borrowed again USD 40,000 from the friend and won over USD 1 million. Nobody knows what happened after. However, it is not difficult to guess. The only uncertainty concerning Karas is whether he is now a multi-millionaire again or still walks with some borrowed bucks waiting for the luck to shine again for him. For this gambling legend of Las Vegas, there is no “middle way”.

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