Some people are happy to win a few bucks on a friendly bet with co-workers or friends, but there are others who seem to have huge appetites for low chance, high reward gambling risks. They throw huge amounts of money down on some wild proposition, hoping to win big – and some do. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest jackpots and winning sports picks in history.
15 People Who Won Big on the Lottery or on Sports Betting:
1. Mick Gibbs
A man from Safford, England named Mick Gibbs once wagered 30 pence on a parlay bet composed of 15 selections, meaning that in order to hit the jackpot, all 15 of those games must win. The odds of him winning the bet were astronomically high – 1,666,666 to one.
But in an incredible stroke of luck, the first 14 games on his ticket went in his favor, and all he needed was a win by Bayern Munich against Valencia in the 2001 Champions League.
Gibbs took home a total of 500,000£ ($784,000 USD) when Bayern won the game on penalties.
2. Frankie Dettori
Jockey Frankie Dettorie was the talk of the horseracing world when, in 1996, he won all seven races he participated in during the British Champions’ Day at Ascot.
Darren Yeats thought that betting £59 on 25,000-1 odds for Dettorie to win all seven races was a clever investment.
Some may doubt Yeats’ sanity when making the bet, but history will show that he took home £550,823 (roughly $860,000 USD).
3. Fan Makes £25,000 on Dream Goal
In 2006, Hayward dreamed that Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso would net a goal from behind the midfield line during the season. Believing his dream to be some sort of sign, he placed a £200 bet that Alonso would indeed score in that manner. The odds were 125-1, but Hayward waited patiently through the season for his miracle goal.
That exact goal came in Liverpool’s match against Luton Town, earning him a cool £25,000 ($43,880).
4. Billy Walters
The odds were pretty discouraging for people who wanted to bet on the New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl XLIV against the Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts.
But for Billy Walters, the odds of the underdog Saints weren’t so slim that he felt the need to keep his millions to himself. Instead, the multi-millionaire boldly bet $3.5 million on New Orleans.
Lucky for him, his bet paid off.
5. Gloria MacKenzie
Luck knows no age.
Just look at 84 year old Gloria MacKenzie, who won a jaw-dropping $590.5 million Powerball jackpot. Should be enough to cover her for the rest of her days, right?
Curiously, MacKenzie would have missed buying the winning ticket had another woman, Mindy Crandell, not let her cut in line.
6. Man bets on Cards to win World Series, wins $375,000
Some legends are born out of total ridiculousness.
Back in 2011, an unknown fan absurdly put a $250 bet on the St. Louis Cardinals making the World Series despite being behind by five games in the race for a wild card spot (WILD CARD!) with only 15 games left to play (15 GAMES TO PLAY!). The odds were 500-1.
In a display of unwavering confidence in the Cards, he made a subsequent $250 bet – this time, for St. Louis to win the World Series with odds of 999-1.
A few weeks later, a payout of $375,000 was withdrawn from a Vegas sportsbook when the Cards took down the huge favorites, the Philadelphia Phillies.
7. Some Guy And His $1000 Wager on Safety as First Score in Super Bowl XLVI
The crazier the proposition, the more enticing it becomes for some people. One such example is Jonah Rechnitz, who came up with the idea to bet a thousand dollars on safety being the first score of Super Bowl XLVI with the odds at 50-1.
Instead of being lampooned by his pals for being so dumb and bold at the same time, Rechnitz became an overnight betting sensation when the Giants scored first in the game via a safety after forcing Tom Brady to intentionally ground the ball six minutes into the game.
That was $50,000 straight into the bank account of one Jonah Rechnitz.
8. Stunning Comeback Had One Lucky Bettor Win $7,800
In the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, Mali was down 0-4 to Angola with only 16 minutes remaining in the game. At that point, the odds on Mali to manage four goals was 1000-1—a bet that only a drunk fool would make.
Drunk fool or not, a bettor placed a £5 on that line. And when Mali’s offense woke up to score four straight goals, that person won a tidy 5000£ (about $7800 USD).
9. Mr. Nicholson
The story goes that a certain Mr. Nicholson cashed in a £4 bet on a six-horse race. He picked six horses from six different races, needing each of them to win in order to collect a profit.
The odds on his bet were a staggering 200,000-1. As it turned out, luck was on Mr. Nicholson’s side as all his picks finished first in their respective races, allowing him to walk away with an unbelievable payout of £800,000 ($1,258,800).
10. 7 New York Workers Win $319M Mega Millions Jackpot
Seven co-workers offered a very solid reason for why you shouldn’t shrug off an offer to join a lotto pool.
After putting together their collective money to buy a Mega Millions ticket, the group composed of government employees found themselves instant millionaires when their ticket hit the $319 million jackpot. After taxes, each one of them received $19.1 million.
11. Ed Nabors
A truck driver from Georgia, Ed Nabors probably needed his work vehicle to haul in his massive win after choosing the lump sum option and withdrawing half of the $390 million prize in the Mega Millions lottery.
He chose that mode of payment over the 26 yearly payments option offered by the lottery office.
12. Louise White
Before Gloria MacKenzie, Louise White was alone in the list of grannies-gone-wild in the lottery. The 81-year old White hit the Powerball jackpot in 2012 worth $336.4 million.
Before claiming the ticket, it was reported that she slipped the ticket in a Bible and slept with it.
If you want to know the blow-by-blow account of events leading to her monumental win, you can read her story below.
13. Woman Wins Jackpot Four Times…
Every other lottery winner pales in comparison to Joan Ginther. Ginther hit the jackpot in the Texas Lottery a total of four times. Perhaps when the heavens showered luck, Ginther had her umbrella open upside down to catch it.
The elusive Ginther, who is rarely seen in her hometown of Bishop, Texas, had her latest win worth $10 million on a $50 scratch-off ticket. Her combined total win is now up to $21 million. Anyone want to bet that she’ll win another one?
14. Phil Mickelson
Yes. We’re talking about THAT Phil Mickelson, the PGA golfer.
Before the 2000 NFL season began, a group that included Lefty bet a total of $20,000 on the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl. The odds were 22-1. On January 2001, the Ravens made Mickelson and gang $560,000 richer after beating the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
There are also rumors that Mickelson and company bet another $20,000 on the Arizona Diamondbacks to win the World Series in 2001. The odds of the D’backs to win it were priced at 38-1.
15. The Roger Federer Bet
When Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon title in 2003, an Oxfordshire resident named Nick Newlife had visions that the rising Swiss talent’s victory wouldn’t be his last. So he bet £1,520 at odds of 66-1 that Federer would win seven more titles by 2019 at the All England Club.
Newlife died in 2009 when the tennis star had already won six Wimbledon championships. However, his betting ticket was handed to the charity organization, Oxfam, before his death. Three years later, Federer defeated Andy Murray in the Wimbledon finals for his 7th title in the event.
Almost 10 years after Newlife made the bet, the charity claimed the payout amounting to £101,840 ($160,245).
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