The gambler who came within a whisker of a £1 million win

Sarah Coles
Soccer - FA Cup - Fourth Round - Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers - Anfield
Soccer - FA Cup - Fourth Round - Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers - Anfield

One punter has missed out on winning a £1 million jackpot by the narrowest of margins. The anonymous gambler apparently put a £10 bet on five winners in the FA Cup, with the potential to win £1 million if he got all the results correct. In the end he got four of the five right - but after Liverpool drew against Bolton in the final game, he lost the lot. To make matters even more distressing, he rejected the chance to cash out before the final game at £15,000.

As the Metro reported, he massively beat the odds by predicting some wholly unexpected results. He had Middlesbrough to beat Manchester City, Reading to beat Cardiff , Leicester to beat Spurs, and Crystal Palace to beat Southampton.

As a small consolation, the bookies, Betfair, offered him four free £1,000 bets - one for each match he predicted - plus the chance to go to the FA Cup Final.

Meanwhile the Standard reported that a Hackney-based punter and a Norwich-based winner took £16,000 each after putting £2 on an unlikely string of results, including Bradford beating Chelsea and Manchester City losing to Middlesbrough.

Accumulator stunners

The accumulator bet is one technique gamblers use to multiply their winnings. You bet on a number of consecutive wins, and the odds are given on a likelihood of that precise combination. If any of your predictions are wrong, you lose the lot. The odds of your predictions being correct are vanishingly small, and as a result sometimes the wins are enormous.

In May last year we reported on the wheelie bin cleaner from Nottinghamshire, who picked up £1.3 million from a £2 accumulator bet on six horse races, and last November on the British athlete who won £50,000 from a £5 accumulator bet on 10 international football matches.

Major losses

However, if you're considering a flutter, it's worth remembering just how overwhelming the odds are against an accumulator win of this kind. In the case of the bin cleaner, he was given the chance to put the lot on one last risk-free bet - where if he won he stood to make £5.5 million, but if he lost he could still leave with £1.3 million. He placed his bet, and his horse faded before the finish - showing that nobody is right all the time.

In fact, for every tale of someone who made their fortune from a successful bet, there are many more who have lost a fortune. In some cases the figures involved are extraordinary. One of the most famous examples was in 2007, when Terrance Watanabe spent everything he had in one year - gambling at the Caesars Palace and Rio Casinos in Las Vegas. He lost almost $127 million.

Then there was the Arsenal fan in Uganda who in 2013 bet his house on his club beating Manchester United - and lost. He bet against a United fan who put his car and his wife up against the bet. The United fan enforced the terms of the bet, and took possession of the house.

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'The Gambler' Trailer
'The Gambler' Trailer