Joseph Jagger came after Charles Wells who is truly the man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo. Still, Jagger is well known and often referred to as the one who broke the bank at Monte Carlo. Many attribute the song written for Wells to Jagger, but looking at when the song was written it is pretty clear who the song was written about. Joseph Jagger lived during 1830 to 1892, while Wells was a little earlier than that. There are those who also believe this famous gambler is a distant cousin to Mick Jagger, but there is no evidence of this to make it a concrete statement.
Joseph Jagger was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, but he spent much of his time in Monte Carlo. Jagger started his working career as a mechanic in a cotton manufacturing company. However, this work was not something he enjoyed and by this time he’d already had a taste for the roulette wheel.
He began to study the wheel more and more, noting due to his mechanical background that imbalances could create certain outcomes. He noticed that most roulette wheels did not have random sequences due to the building of the wheel. While a wheel is meant to be a strict game of chance, the construction on some was not always perfect thus lending to certain numbers on the wheel coming up more often.
It was due to these examinations that Jagger decided to hire six clerks in 1873. They went to Beaux Arts Casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco. They were told to examine the six roulette wheels without showing their interest. It was through these clandestine examinations that Jagger was able to learn certain numbers on the wheels like 7, 8, 9, 17, 22, 28, and 29 were definitely hit more often. It was due to a bias of the wheel. In 1875 he placed bets on these wheels going with the numbers that would come up more often. He was able to win 14,000 pounds, which today would be 700,000 pounds if you account for inflation.
Jagger spent three days in the casino amassing 60,000 pounds, which caused the casino to change the order of the wheels. It did throw
Jagger off for a bit, but after a losing streak he managed to get back on. Jagger unfortunately lost since the casino tried again to take him out of play by putting dividers between the numbers. He still had 65,000 pounds in winnings and this led to his leaving Monte Carlo forever. He went back to the mill, invested in property and lived his life working a normal job until his death. Jagger was buried in his home town.
The story about Jagger clearly shows why the song “The Man Who Broke Monte Carlo” is about Wells. Firstly, he managed to win a great deal, but he would have had to clear the table of chips in his winnings, which is what the statement means. Wells did this prior to Jagger at the Roulette tables.