William Darnborough

William Darnborough was a US born citizen who played roulette in Monte Carlo. W. Nelson Darnborough was born in 1869 in Bloomington, Illinois. Between 1904 and 1911 he went to Monte Carlo and amassed a large fortune for the era. He managed to win $415,000 or 267,343 pounds with today’s conversion rate. What makes Darnborough a legend in roulette is how he managed to win a great amount. He did so betting on number 5, five times. He won in successive spins on the same number, which is not something easily done. Most often if you continue to bet on the same number in roulette you will lose every time even if you won the first time.

Now the important thing to note is that Darnborough remained in Monte Carlo for seven years. He continued to bet on roulette, but it was that one win on the number 5 that truly allowed him to gain his fortune. It made him a remarkable man because no one else has managed to gain that much in gold and notes at the roulette table before or since. It was also with lightning speed that he would place his bets, meaning it was as if he did not think about the bets as much as a strategy would have required. In fact many think he did not have a strategy at all. Yet to win such money it would seem unlikely that he didn’t have a strategy. Whatever it might have been he never told the secret.

It is known that he watched the wheel. Typically he was able to anticipate where the marble would land with a high amount of accuracy.  It was good fortune perhaps and knowing the limits that had Darnborough leave the tables. He left when he was at the top of his game and never returned. Rather, he left his friends in France and returned to the country life he loved with a wife.
William Darnborough married a woman of noble blood in England. He remained at the English estate throughout his life. What is important is that his wife’s family did not care for gambling at all. He gave it up for his wife and to enjoy the life he wanted in England. His family was no less legendary than his own Monte Carlo roulette wins. His son born in 1913 was a film producer named Antony Darnborough. His son died in 2000. His daughter, Hermione Darnborough was a ballerina who lived from 1915 to 2010. She married Muir Mathieson, who was a composer and director of film music. Fiona Mathieson, his granddaughter was born in 1951 and died in 1987. She played Clarrie Grundy on a radio series called the Archers hosted by BBC.

William Darnborough is one of three most famous roulette players who went to Monte Carlo and won amazing amounts of money. His wins were something that are talked and wondered about because of the initial number 5, five times as a win and the fact that he was able to get what was a fortune by any standards at the time.

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