1. Conor Murphy was a stable boy until he bet $75 that all five of his bosses’ horses would win
Needless to say, the horses at the Cheltenham Racecourse didn’t disappoint, and Murphy walked away with $1.5 million. The funds helped him pay for his lifelong dream to work as a trainer in Louisville, Kentucky.
2. Jona Rechnitz bet $1,000 that a Giants safety would score first at Super Bowl XLVI
Not only did he beat incredible odds, but what’s almost even more interesting is that he donated the $50,000 to charity because he didn’t believe gambling was a proper way for a person to support himself.
3. Betters exchanged $64 million when Steelers safety Troy Polamalu’s touchdown didn’t count in a game against San Diego in 2008
Though the touchdown had no effect on the game, the Steelers had 4.5-point favorites before kickoff… which meant that if Polamalu’s efforts had counted, anyone who bet in favor of Pittsburgh would have won. Instead, they lost.
4. An unidentified man made $375,000 when he bet the St. Louis Cardinals would win the World Series in 2011
The dude placed two bets: $250 that the Cardinals would win the National League title (at 500-1 odds), and $250 that they would win the World Series (at 999-1 odds). Needless to say, he probably did his own fair share of dancing in his own bedroom that night.
5. Mark Gibbs bet he could pick the winning teams of 15 soccer matches correctly
In 2001, Gibbs beat 1,666,666-1 odds and bet 30 pence (or 47 U.S. cents) on an accumulator bet that made him about 500,000£ (or $784,000 USD) happier.
6. An annonymous woman turned $5 into almost $100,000 by correctly filling out a 15-team parlay card in 2012
7. Geno DiFelice nailed $725,275 during the Packers and Seahawks game
Surely you’ll recall when a replacement ref ruled that Golden Tate’s 24-yard touchdown catch for Seattle was good, and solidified the team’s victory. But if you don’t, Geno DiFelice can probably tell you all about it (after all, it was the day he won over half a million dollars).
8. Spectators shared as much as $100 million when Duke’s Chris Duhon threw a three-pointer against UConn in 2004 during the Final Four
Even though Duke lost the game, there were still tons of people who were thrilled with the outcome. FBI records indicate that basketball fans exchanged between $30 million and $100 million, which means more money was at stake during this game than the average NFL game.
9. And Darren Yates scored over $860,000 because he had faith in a jockey who didn’t even have faith in himself
In 1996, Darren Yates had a failing carpentry business and blind faith in one jockey at the Ascot Racecourse on Champions Day in 1996… until he he had more than $860,000. Though his wife told him not to, Yates gambled about $100 that Frankie Dettori (who famously said “I could have an each-way chance in the first, and I may win the third”) would be riding the winning horse in all seven of his races. But this story ends well, because Dettori was wrong and Yates was really, really right.