Who can resist a good novelty bet? Bookies love them almost as much punters, because regardless of the outcome it can be seen as a win-win for the company issuing the bet. After all, the zanier the wager the better, because crazy bets generate crazy headlines – and that’s before they’ve come in. And, for 99.99% of the time, that’s the last you ever hear of them. But every once in a while, be it through sheer luck or preternatural intuition, a novelty bettor calls it right.
This article is dedicated to those punters who had the audacity to dream big and were rewarded a thousandfold for their troubles. Successful novelty bettors of the world, we salute you.
1. The man who started it all
Men (and women) have been betting on crazy (some would say dumb) stuff since the dawn of time, but the first successful novelty bet we’re aware of was placed in 1964, when David Threlfall placed £10 on man walking on the moon before 1970. The history books show that his novelty bet was spot on, and he was rewarded to the tune of £10,000 – a small fortune in those days. As a somewhat sad coda to the story, Threlfall put his winnings towards a souped-up new sports car, only to fatally crash in it days later.
2. The man who bet his house
In 2004, Ashley Revell sold everything he owned, travelled to Vegas and put the $135,000 proceeds on red. The roulette wheel landed on a red 7, doubling the man’s money in one fell swoop. Supposedly, a decade earlier, another Englishman from High Wycombe did the same thing, selling his house and putting £147,000 on red and won. Just don’t take these success stories as a sign that you should sell your possessions and put them all on red – or any other colour for that matter.
3. The man who bet his chest
For some reason, the sort of mavericks who surface in these sorts of stories are often subsequently referred to as ‘professional gamblers’. Whether this was their profession before they placed these insane wagers or it was assigned to them afterwards is unclear. Whatever the case, in 1998 ‘professional gambler’ Brian Zembic accepted a $100,000 bet that he wouldn’t have breast implants and keep them for a year. Not only did the Canadian fulfil his side of the bargain but he reportedly still has them. This was, after all, the man who had become widely know for doing anything to win a bet.
4. The woman who got it all off her chest
As an attractive weathergirl, Doria Tillier already had a sea of admirers. Interest in the brunette intensified however after France lost to Ukraine in their opening World Cup qualifier in 2004. In the unlikely event of France going on to qualify, Le Grand Journal’s weathergirl averred, she would present the weather in the nude. Well whaddaya know, France duly did qualify and Tillier was as good as her word, streaking through a grassy field in the buff – albeit with the camera positioned a safe distance away.
5. The man who saw into the future
Technically this is less of a novelty bet and more of an extremely astute one. Nevertheless, it warrants inclusion, for at the time it seemed as wacky as any of the wagers on this list. In 2004, Gerry McIlroy bet £200 that his son would win the British Open before he turned 25. A few years later, the proud father was vindicated and rewarded to the tune of £100,000. Someone else who saw the potential of a child prodigy was Richard Hopkins, who observed a youthful Lewis Hamilton whizzing around the go kart track with his son. Hopkins put £200 on Hamilton winning a Formula 1 Grand Prix before the age of 23 and subsequently walked away £40,000 richer.
To paraphrase a famous saying, first they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then you win.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Casinopedia
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