Who dares wins?
SUPERENALOTTO AND CASINOS: A JOURNEY AMONG THE BIGGEST WINS (AND WINNERS) IN THE HISTORY OF GAMBLING
Although winning is statistically less probable than the chance of being hit by an asteroid, the temptation to play the Lotto, SuperEnalotto, Gratta e Vinci, or gamble at the casino really is irresistible: the dream of a life-changing win with a million dollar jackpot drives us to gamble.
Some bet the numbers told to them by their grandmother in a dream, or their children's dates of birth, some bet the same combination for years or use complex systems together with their friends or other clients of the same betting shop.
There are innumerable ways of playing, just as there are innumerable games and prizes, but which have been the most amazing wins in recent years?
Of all gambling games, the SuperEnalotto has some of the biggest prizes, but also the lowest probability of winning the draw: just 1 in 622,614,630. Roberto Natalini, a mathematician at CNR (National Research Centre), has calculated that an asteroid hitting the Earth is a more likely event than guessing all 6 numbers in Superenalotto: indeed, the CNR calculates that the probability of the asteroid 99942 Apophis hitting the Earth in 2036 is 1 in 40,000.
The most recent win - On 27 October 2016, after a full year of suspense, the 6 was drawn at SuperEnalotto with a record-beating value of 163,538,706 euro: the biggest in the world, even bigger than America's celebrated Powerball, which has never exceeded 150 million dollars. The winning bet was placed at Vibo Valentia, in the Lo Bianco tobacconists shop: "We were at home when they told us that our tobacconists had placed the jackpot winning bet" says the owner of the shop in Via Dante Alighieri in Vibo Valentia, Domenico Lo Bianco. "We rushed over to open the shop. I can't describe the emotion. Let's hope the prize went to someone who really needs the money, and that the winner doesn't forget where he placed his bet." (source: repubblica.it).
The biggest ever win - The biggest ever win at SuperEnalotto was recorded in October 2010, for a value of more than 178 million euro, and went to a number of players in the Rome area who purchased the 70 shares in a consortium system, each taking home 2,538,000 euro.
The first win of all time - The first SuperEnalotto prize in history was won on 17 January 1998 at Poncarale, in the province of Brescia, for an amount of 11.8 billion lire. The numbers 29, 73, 49, 51, 55 and 74 won the prize for a group of friends. The group of winners included the gambling shop owner himself, who sold the business the same day and retired - but without letting his winnings go to his head: "Always deny it, never admit you won. And never get carried away," he said, when he came out more than 11 years later, after the luckiest day of his life. (source: gioconews.it)
When we think of casinos, we almost always think of the world poker championships and other competitions in Italy and around the world. But although these competitions enjoy enormous press coverage and have many participants, it's generally the other games that pay off better - and not a lot of people know it.
Venice - This summer, 4 August 2016, saw the most recent record-breaking win at the Venice Casino: at Ca' Noghera, the Cleopatra slot machine gave a win of 522,800 euro to a player from the province of Rome, who was vacationing close to Venice. The last large win at the casino was in 2008, when a couple from the Brescia area won a jackpot of more than 2 million euro.
Saint Vincent - On 13 April 2015, the Saint Vincent Casino paid out one of the biggest wins in history: a win of 1,400,000 euro at French roulette. The lucky winner was an assiduous frequenter of the casino, and probably an expert player.
GAMBLERS IN HISTORY
And what about the past? Who are the players and the wins that will go down in the history of gambling?
Archie Karas, the "King of the Casinos", famous for having turned 50 dollars into $40,000,000 in what many consider to be the longest run of luck in the history of gambling, must be top of the list. Archie's run of luck lasted long enough for him to win 40 million dollars at poker and dice, but his luck turned a few years later, leaving him with no more than one million in the end.
Another was Elmer Sherwin, who in 1989 won 4.6 million dollars at a Megabucks slot machine (his lucky machine) at the Cannery Casino & Hotel, Las Vegas. Sherwin continued playing at the same machine until 2005 when, at the age of 92, he won another 2.1 million dollars.
Sean Connery, the actor famous for James Bond, also had an extraordinary win. In a Casino in the Alps - like a scene from one of his films - Connery bet everything on the 17 at roulette, and lost twice. But the third time is the charm: the ball stopped on 17 three times in a row without the actor changing his bet, and Connery took home 10,000 pounds (160,000 pounds at today's rates). It's a really incredible story, since the chance of the 17 turning up three times in a row is just 1 in 50,000.
There are so many stories to tell, because there are so many players, mostly - with exceptions like Sean Connery - ordinary people: anything can happen when Lady Luck's in the game!