15 Ridiculous Gambles That Actually Paid Off

15 Ridiculous Gambles That Actually Paid Off

Vegas clearly has some pretty outrageous gambling stories, and the history books have shown us some pretty risky battles that helped shape the modern world, but we had absolutely no idea that scientists were such compulsive gamblers. Gotta keep things interesting somehow, eh fellas? It makes sense though. Whether people are competing in sports, business, or nanotechnology, those big ol’ egos are alive and well. Heck, at any old college party, you’ll hear “Betcha I can get that girl’s number,” or, “Betcha I can get this ping pong ball in that red cup!” Wherever there’s the slightest notion of competition, a wager is sure to be waged. 

The age-old term “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” feels like peer pressure from life itself. Just hearing it makes us question what we’re even doing with our sheltered little lives. Some people not only heed that call, they raise the stakes to life-altering, sometimes Earth-altering, new heights. Luckily for them (and us), these 15 ridiculous gambles actually paid off. 

Betcha can’t inspire an entire field of science!

CRACKED ain JAJ NANOTECHNOLOGY WAS FOUNDED ON A BET. In 1959, physicist Richard Feyman bet $1000 that nobody could build a working motor the size of a grain of salt. Bill McLellan took that bet, built one with 2,000 rpm, and inspired the field of nanotechnology.

BBC / YouTube 

Sometimes going against the grain pays off.

CRACKED BUBBLE BOY GETS THE LAST LAUGH. Greg Lippman correctly predicted the subprime housing market was going to collapse. Skeptical colleagues dubbed him Bubble Boy, but he made $1.5 billion (believed to be the largest profit ever made from a single trade in Deutsche Bank history.)

PBS / YouTube 

Record-setting beginner’s luck.

CRACKED ATLANTIC CITY'S GAMBLIN' GRANNY. In 2009, Patricia Demauro learned how to play craps, and won 154 rolls in a row over 4 straight hours. She started with $100, and her speculated winnings range from $180,000 to millions. This unbreakable world record had odds of 1 in 1.56 trillion.

Casino / Time 

Heads… I’m a hero. Tails… I’m court-martialed.

CRACKED A DEADLY DECISION. In 1940, it was unclear if the ships approaching Norway were Allies or Nazis. Col. Birger Eriksen had a feeling they were Nazis, and said, I will either be decorated or court-martialled. Open fire! Не was right, and gave the King and government time to flee Oslo.

YouTube / Wikipedia 

Quite literally double or nothing.

CRACKED SAP To babu LAS VE NEV ASHLEY REVELL BET IT ALL. In 2004, the English gambler sold all of his possessions (even his clothes) which totaled $135,000. In Vegas, he placed it all on red for a single roulette spin. The ball landed on 7 red, and he doubled his entire worth.

The Sun

War! What is it good for? Risky investing!

CRACKED THE WAR DIDN'T SCARE JOHN TEMPLETON. In 1939, when World War II broke out, most investors began selling. Не decided to buy, and borrowed $10,000 to buy shares in 104 companies trading for less than $1. Не quadrupled his money and began growing his multi-million-dollar fortune.

PBS / YouTube 

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