We look at some examples of the crazy wagers people have won or lost in the world of sports betting.
With sports betting as old as sport itself it shouldn’t surprise anyone that in the long history of mankind there have been more than a few instances of amazing luck overcoming general expectation. Gambling has always been a natural home for optimists, of course, but some people are distinctly more optimistic than others.
These wild-eyed pursuers of lady luck might bet on the bizarre, they may wager weird stakes or they might just go for longshots the rest of us wouldn’t touch with a bargepole. Now you perhaps believe at this point I’ll dig into the history books and pull out some strange stories from the distant past but I don’t need to.
Champion’s Day at Ascot is one of the premier horse racing meetings in the UK, and in 1996 one particularly devoted fan of the rider Frankie Dettori put an accumulator on all 7 of his mounts that day. Dettori dutifully won each of his races (a feat still celebrated in racing circles) and the lucky punter, for the little under $100 he wagered, won $860,000.
In 2001 Mick Gibbs placed a small wager of barely 50 cents on a 15 fold accumulator. To win he had to correctly choose the winner in 15 football games, giving him the enviable odds of 1,666,666 / 1. True to melodramatic gambling laws the last game went to penalties but eventually the result went his way and he netted $784,000 for that 50 cent outlay.
Big Bet On All Blacks A Bust
Weird wagers and bizarre bets
•Gambling laws allow all sorts of craziness
•Some bets bite back
•Long shots sometimes win
Not everyone, of course, wagers such small amounts. New Zealand’s All Blacks are a much feared national rugby team who start every game with an intimidating Maori war dance called the Haka and whose fans are noted for their exuberance. In 2007 one spectacularly faithful fan backed them to win the Rugby World Cup to the tune of $4.2m – they lost, and so did he.
But money isn’t the only thing people will stake on the result of a sports fixture. John Grant and his wife Nicole supported rival American football teams and as those two teams played each other made a bet on the game. The supporter of the winning team would get to use a tazer on the loser. He won, she got tazed, she called the police, he got arrested. Who said gambling was fair?
Sometimes they won’t even give themselves a fair chance. With 16 minutes left in a soccer match between Mali and Angola the plucky Malians were down by four goals, defeat looked inevitable, inevitable that is to all but one brave gambler who placed a bet there and then on their not losing.
He won $5000 on a small stake as Mali scored four late goals to equalize the end result.
Henry Dhabasani and Rashid Yiga in Uganda took things perhaps a little too far when Henry staked his house on a bet with Rashid over Arsenal beating Manchester United. Rashid had put up his new Toyota Premio… and his wife. In a wager always destined to end up miserable for someone, Dhabasani was evicted from his home the day after the game.
Brack Backs Bite In Brazil
These days with internet betting in the US and beyond one can wager on all sorts of things related to sport and for an example we need not traverse the byways of history for too long. In this recent World Cup held in Brazil events have been wagered upon that have had very little to do with the actual sport. People have often bet on the first goal scorer or the last or the score at a particular time of game, but Jonathan Brack chose none of these.
Mr. Brack, a twenty three year old teacher from Sweden, wagered 80 Krona (around $10) on Luis Suarez biting someone during the tournament, a bet he got odds of 175-1 on. What happened next will probably be part of football history for sometime to come. Mr. Brack, winner of nearly $2000 for his precognitive powers will almost certainly remember it.
But if memorable bets are to be recorded here we cannot and should not fail to mention the big one. As we’ve already seen some people will bet on accumulators where good result must follow good result for someone to win. One particular American gambler chose to take this to extremes by placing $95 on the accumulator to end all accumulators and made gambling news.
A combination of ten doubles, ten trebles, five four-fold bets plus another accumulator seemed like an impossible wager guaranteed to leave him a hundred bucks poorer. Instead of which this amazing long shot paid off and the anonymous winner strolled away with a cool $13.4 million, and a place is sports betting history. Long shots might not pay off often, but when they do, it’s something special.
Read more of our guide to sports gambling.