Charles Wells may not have made a splash in UK casinos, but he was a famous UK gambler. Wells was definitely a UK casino figure, but he was more known for his frauds. A song in 1892 was written about a person who broke Monte Carlo’s bank. The song was once attributed to Joseph Jagger, but given he was a gambler in 1873, chances are the song was about Charles Wells and his talent for stealing from Monte Carlo. Breaking the bank is something that happens when a player has won more than the chips on the table. In other words the casino does not have enough to cover the win of the player at the table, even if the casino does have reserves. Charles Wells managed to do just that in 1891.
The story is even more interesting based on how he managed to break the bank at Monte Carlo. Charles Wells was not playing with his own money. Rather, he left the UK in a bit of a hurry after stealing 4,000 pounds from investors. He had investors for an invention scheme that didn’t exist. Supposedly he was going to sell them a “musical jump rope” which seems rather silly, and one may find it hard to believe someone would actually give a man money for such a concept. Still, he did manage to make off with the money and arrive in Monaco.
Wells sat down at the table with his stolen money and in an 11 hour session won 12 times more than the chips on the table. It was not stated in the information what game he played to manage to win 12 times in 11 hours. It was mentioned that in another play he won 23 times out of 30 with roulette. Wells was in Monte Carlo during November of the same year winning yet again. In three days he won a million in Francs due to roulette. He bet on five and won five times in a row.
The casino Wells played at felt he must have some type of system for beating the games, but despite investigations the casino was unable to learn what he was doing. Wells told everyone that he was just lucky. After studying the history of his play some contemporary historians decided that Wells used the Martingale system. It is a system in which one doubles the stakes in order to make up any losses at the table. Of course this system can make you lose everything, so perhaps he was truly lucky and not just cheating the casino.
Wells has become rather famous for his play in Monte Carlo despite being from England due to his wins and a movie that was based on him. Charles Wells was not lucky forever though, since he ended up going on to Paris to try his luck after being tossed out of Monte Carlo. He died poor in Paris.