Sports betting is different from other types of gambling as it relies much more on informed decisions and data-based predictions than casino games, where the focus is almost entirely on chance. I say “almost” because there are quite a few games where a bit of strategy can be helpful, like knowing when to double down while playing Blackjack. This, in turn, doesn’t compare to horse racing, where knowing which horse-jockey combo has the best chance to win can turn you into a winner or football, where predicting the outcome of a match is not that hard if you have access to enough information. There were, in turn, cases where people with absolutely no idea about how it’s done have bet and win – and sometimes, their wins were massive, amounts that the average punter can only dream about. Here are some cases when people dared to bet (usually tiny amounts) and walked away with a small fortune.
Betting on Dettori
Horse racing is a popular sport and one of the biggest betting markets in the world today. It’s a sport where a well-placed bet can make a man rich and a good race day can make a jockey famous. This is the case of Lanfranco “Frankie” Dettori.
Dettori has quite a few accolades to show off, including riding over 3,000 winners during his career, but his best achievement to date was riding all seven winners of the British Champions’ Day at Ascot in 1996. Before the first race, he told reporters that he didn’t feel like he was going to win any but about two of his races for the day but many punters still decided to bet on him. Struggling businessman Darren Yates was one of them, combining all of the races on a seven-way accumulator worth £67.58. After he placed the bet, Yates went to play soccer with his friends and lost. Thinking this wasn’t his day, he checked on Dettori’s races – and was surprised to find out that he won all seven of them. His £67.58 bet paid off big time – he went home with £550,823 in his pockets.
The luckiest housewife
As you all know, football is not a sport that’s enjoyed equally by everyone. Boys and men tend to dedicate more of their time – and their headspace – to the matches of their favourite teams than women. This can often lead to tense moments in every family. A housewife grew tired of her husband and son watching football every weekend and (usually unsuccessfully) betting on the matches. She took matters in her own hands: she took her son to a nearby betting shop in Leysdown-On-Sea, UK, and told him to read her the matches. She then put those that sounded good to her on a betting slip – a 12-way accumulator – totalling a single pound. By using her female instinct she guessed all of the results correctly and ended up winning £574,000 (more than $731,000) in the process.
The Tote has a Jackpot bet for every racetrack across the UK – one has to guess all the winning horses of a day to win it, and when nobody does, the winnings are rolled over to the next race day. At one time in 2011, the Jackpot has been rolling over for quite some time, reaching a considerable amount – over £1.45 million to be paid out to the lucky winner. 61-year-old heating engineer Steve Whiteley wanted to place a bet on two selections for each race but he couldn’t afford the £32 it would’ve cost, so he decided to dare Lady Luck and went with one for each race. Imagine his surprise when at the end of the day, all his predictions have proven to be correct, putting almost £1.5 million in his pockets.
Featured image by Donnie Ray Jones (attention image is cropped)