Joseph Jagger | Roulette Take Down II

Joseph Jagger

Gambling Legend Joe Jagger

Joseph Jagger – The Roulette Take Down In Monte Carlo II

Continued From Part I

Dawn came with the ocean breeze fresh in his nostrils. Joseph Jagger lay in a mid-morning half-awake dream and suddenly felt a peach pit of fear in his gut and jolted out of bed like a man electrocuted. Today is the day! Today! This is it old boy! … exclaimed Joe.

Joseph Jagger went to the salon and had a bath and a shave. The tailor came and accoutered him in creased white cottons, a black hat, vest, and shoes and a red bow tie. Tipping well all around, he then ate a hearty meal and steeled himself for the task to come.

“This undertaking was no lark”.

Joseph Jagger had extracted through all means moral, the confidence of all his co-conspirators and each would be rewarded for their discretion. It was no mean feat to recruit six clerks who could carry themselves in their duties without suspicion, six men who could blend in and covertly collect the needed data. Six men he could trust to tell no one of his scheme; but mostly, six men who would trust and respect him enough to forgo the thought of attempting it themselves!

Fine cigars, French perfume, the hustle and the din. Good God I missed this place!

Joseph Jagger wove his way through the throngs, rubbing elbows and exchanging faceless grins and trivial niceties until he found himself at the sixth table where he bet ‘First Twelve’ with a hefty wager and laughed at his misfortune when it came up bad four times in a row.

Table five saw him start with odd/even bets for an hour or two, eventually switching to center column and heavy on the ‘odd’. Joseph Jagger laid waste to over a thousand francs before moving to table three. He tipped the Croupier 500 while asking if it were advisable to bet heavy on ‘0’ and bulk up all splits, neighbors and corners. The Croupier told him it was certainly a fool’s bet, but he would ride along for half of whatever Joe were to bet.

Joseph Jagger laid out 2,000 francs on one spin and didn’t meet the spinner’s eyes when he left the table for a nearby bar. Joseph Jagger had taken 500 francs off the man and made a friend in the process!

Coffee please…

Five minutes later the bar host raised an eyebrow and leaned his head toward the coffee carafe.

Thank you. Yes another.

Walking pensively, twice bitten, a little gun shy, Joseph Jagger approached table four. He cheered and coaxed and prayed and cursed under his breath with the players and lookers on and when attrition funneled him to the green he laid 100 on number 18. “18….It’s a sign”

Joseph Jagger laid 200 on 18 again along with 19 and lost. He laid the same wager again and added another wheel spot. He lost. Another two numbers were added and it hit 18 again.

Let it ride….Number 18, Sir?….All of it.

Joseph Jagger covered two more places and won again. About break even so far for the day he decided to go back to single number bets at higher stakes. Every now and then he threw in a ‘random number’ from the other side of the wheel, particularly 17 and 8, just to keep it ‘honest’. But of course these numbers had popped their heads up with a non-random frequency in his analysis.

Joseph Jagger went back to the bar and ordered grappa. He threw back several and bragged that he had finally figured out a system to beat the wheels. Some leaned closer to listen and others shared their personal superstitions with him. He spewed bits and pieces of all the things he had ever heard and all the things he had ever tried to beat the wheel, intimating that there was a key – that only he knew – that made all the pieces fall into place.

A drunken lout at the end of the bar, one of those guys with all the friends that money can buy who always seems to have three women hovering, called, “Balderdash!”

Finally! I’ll thank you to put your money where your mouth is, kind sir. I assure you I can profit at least ten thousand before this night is through. If I lose I will leave here in shame and never return. If I win you will give me that money clip and anything that might be in it when they put the wheels to bed for the night.

Joseph Jagger walked over to the fourth wheel and a small crowd followed him. His ‘luck’ ebbed and flowed, as did the demeanor of the crowd. Soon his table was the focal point of attention and all but a handful were cheering him on. People began to bet with him, lapping up some of his luck, basking in his winning aura. Of course the lout was betting against him in every way he could.

When the last call came, Joseph Jagger had acquired over 14,000 francs and his detractor had gone bust. The guy handed the empty money clip to Joe and told him he would raise the stakes tomorrow. But he was nowhere to be seen the next day.

After a very restful sleep and hearty meal, a small entourage followed Joseph Jagger from the restaurant to the casino floor in the early afternoon and again a crowd grew around him. It all became a blur as day in and day out, night in and night out he kept shaking the rafters trying to bring the house down. At the close of business on his fourth day of play Joseph Jagger had amassed a fortune of over 300,000 francs! (roughly equal to five million dollars in today’s money)

It wasn’t just Joseph Jagger. Almost everyone who could get their bet on the table tagged along. The Beaux-Arts Casino losses were enormous! Something had to be done. The Croupiers had been changed out often, the manager had handled the ball, even outside security had been called in to observe and question and coerce answers but none were to be found.

The only thing that could be determined was that Joseph Jagger was very lucky on wheel number four. Fine, they would rearrange the wheels. If that didn’t do the trick either this man was a wizard or there was something so corrupt that not even the owner could be trusted.

Joseph Jagger had experienced fairly wild swings in results since applying his theory, but the odds always eventually fell his way. But this wheel wasn’t like a seven hundred pound iron pulley wheel, it was a finely tuned machine that just happened to be a little worn out on one side. Joseph Jagger wasn’t a statistician so he had no idea what the standard deviation might be; when to know something was wrong. All he knew is that he had figured out how to win and by gawd, sooner or later it would swing back his way.

It was not to be. Joseph Jagger had lost almost all of his winnings. Several hours before the Casino closed for the night he skulked away in a dark gloom of horrid depression.

What happened? What the bloody ‘ell is going on?

He lay in bed and replayed the day’s action in his head; seeing it, hearing the whispers, the chatter, the groans and the cheers, smelling the cigars and perfume, watching the wheel go round and round. He thought back to the night before and ran those memories through his head; searching for something, anything! And there it was. The scratch! There was a scratch on the wheel. He had seen it, never really noticing, for several days. But tonight it was not there!

Sleep come free me, I’ll fight another day!

Joseph Jagger was mad now, incensed. He didn’t even bother to shave before going to the casino. How dare they? Joe went to each table and wagered a bit, just long enough to see every inch of the wheel, and then he found it. No more games. He bet heavily and played the whole night through. At closing he had built his fortune back up to over 450,000 francs.

He went to bed and did not sleep a wink. No visions to distract him and ease his mind either. He lay there shivering. He’d dared not think what they might do next, but he knew they were on to him and that now it was time for his most careful action again.

I’ve beaten them, but I didn’t break the bank….It tore at him all night.

While Joseph Jagger was lying there in his bed shivering with a knot in his belly; his mind racing, his ego wrestling with his reason – the man ultimately responsible for the wheels, the Master Roulette Manufacturer, was busily remodeling the biased wheel. He removed the frets or dividers that separate the numbers and stop the ball from traveling further, and redistributed them around the wheel. Sure it was still biased, but as long as the balance was changed daily no one would ever have the opportunity to map its vulnerability. This made it impervious to Joseph Jagger, the rough mechanical engineer from Yorkshire.

Betting like a nymph dipping her toe in the water, Joe lost over 125,000 francs before finally realizing that he had been bettered. He would not break the bank. But he would go home with over 325,000 francs in profit.

Joseph Jagger quit his job. He bought land. He never ‘let it ride’ again, and it is said that he never played roulette after that fateful day. He died in 1892 at the ripe old age of 62 and is buried at Bethel Chapel, Halifax Road, Shelf England. It might be within eye-shot of where he was born. I’m sure it is within earshot. If you have any doubts about that just go on down that road and strike up a conversation about Joseph Jagger, “The Man who almost Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo!”

 

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