Robin Quinn is an author and radio producer based in South-East England. His new book, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo explores the life of Charles Deville Wells, fraudster and gambler, and spans the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. Published 2016 by The History Press Ltd.
THE MAN WHO BROKE THE BANK AT MONTE CARLO
The incredible true story of Charles Deville Wells, gambler and fraudster extraordinaire.
Charles Wells has two loves in his life: a beautiful, headstrong, French mistress, Jeannette, and his sumptuous yacht, the Palais Royal. At the risk of losing them both, Wells stakes everything he owns at the roulette tables in Monte Carlo’s world-famous Casino – and in the space of a few days he breaks the bank, not once but ten times, winning the equivalent of millions in today’s money.
Is he phenomenally lucky? Has he really invented an “infallible” gambling system, as he claims? Or is he just an exceptionally clever fraudster?
Based on painstaking research on both sides of the Channel and beyond, this biography reveals the incredible true story of the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo – an individual who went on to become Europe’s most wanted criminal, hunted by British and French police, and known in the press as “Monte Carlo Wells – the man with 36 aliases”.
HITLER'S LAST ARMY
After the Second World War 400,000 German servicemen were imprisoned on British soil – some remaining until 1948. These defeated men in their tattered uniforms were, in every sense, Hitler's Last Army.
Reviews of Hitler's Last Army
“Probably the best book on the subject in the last 20 years”
“I recommend this book as a must to read.”
[★★★★★ Amazon review by “a German ex-POW”]
“Well written, interesting, informative, and heart-warming in equal measure … I would recommend this even to those not especially interested in WW2, as a fascinating slice of Anglo-German social history of 70 years ago. Buy it."
[★★★★★ Amazon review by J.B.]
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- On this day 125 years ago: 3 August 1891 August 3, 2016
Monday, 3 August, was a bank holiday — one of the country’s few days off work, a rare day of rest for the majority of people. Britain woke from its weekend slumber — and then went back to sleep again for a bit longer.
It was a day for trips to the seaside, to the countryside, to circuses, fairs, and other attractions. In the London area over 50,000 visited the Crystal Palace, while an estimated 80,000 made their way to Hampstead Heath for the fair.
That day’s newspapers carried fresh reports of Wells and his incredible gambling feats at Monte Carlo — a good-luck story that resonated perfectly with the happy holiday atmosphere.
REMARKABLE WINNINGS (Reuter’s Telegram)
Mr. Wells, who won within a few days £20,000 at the table here, won a further sum of £6,000 yesterday. Extraordinary luck again favoured him today, for he won no less than £14,000 at trente-et-quarante. The table was surrounded by a large crowd, and intense excitement prevailed, such persistent good fortune having never been witnessed before. Mr. Wells, whose winnings commence to have an effect on the bank, keeps two secretaries to assist him in his transactions.
Charles Deville Wells was already on his way to becoming a legend. Yet in many ways his unbelievable story was only just beginning …[This ends my day-by-day account of the events of 125 years ago. But there will be more daily coverage of “future” events in the Charles Deville Wells timeline. I’ll be posting more information about his adventures over the days, weeks and months to come. Watch this space!]
- Radio Interview on 105 Uckfield FM August 2, 2016
I’ve been invited to appear today on local radio station, Uckfield FM, as a guest of drivetime presenter Lynn Briggs, to talk about The Man who Broke the bank at Monte Carlo. The show is on the air between 4.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m.
Uckfield FM serves the town of Uckfield, East Sussex, and surrounding district, on 105 FM and online here.
- On this day 125 years ago: 2 August 1891 August 2, 2016
Today Charles Deville Wells’ first visit to Monte Carlo was almost over. Having observed his astonishing achievements for several days, the local correspondent for Reuter’s News Agency telegraphed this report to Britain, where it would appear in the next day’s editions of many of the newspapers:
Mr. Wells, the Englishman who had so extraordinary a run of luck last week at the gaming tables here, winning over £20,000 at roulette [equivalent to £2 million], continues to be favoured by the same good fortune. Finding the luck turning against him, he had the prudence to quit the table at which he had been assiduously playing day after day from the opening of the Casino till its close. Before leaving the building, however, he risked a few stakes at another game, trente-et-quarante [a casino game played with cards], and, winning each, continued to play till he had further increased his gains by the sum of 160,000 f, or close upon £6,400 [£640,000 today]. Mr. Wells at trente-et-quarante follows the same system that proved so successful at roulette – the famous ‘coup des trois’ – that is to say, following the luck till he has won thrice in succession, and then withdrawing the accumulated stake. People here and at Nice are talking of nothing but his marvellous success.
- Book now available August 1, 2016
‘The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo – Charles Deville Wells, gambler and fraudster extraordinaire’ is now available from the following online booksellers:
WH Smith £12.99 (hardback) £7.19 (e-Book)
Waterstones £18.99 (hardback)
Amazon £15.90 (hardback) £6.64 (e-Book)
… or ask at your local bookshop! (Information believed correct at the time of writing).
- On this day 125 years ago: 1 August 1891 August 1, 2016
On this day in 1891, early reports of Charles Wells and his success at the Monte Carlo Casino were trickling in. This brief bulletin in The Times was typical:
GAMBLING AT MONTE CARLO
An Englishman named Wells, who is staying here, has just had a run of luck so extraordinary as to be the chief topic of the hour, not only with those who frequent the Casino, but among the residents of Monte Carlo generally. For the last three days this gentleman has played roulette incessantly, and during that time has won no less than £20,000 [equivalent to at least £2 million today] …
So engrossed was this fortunate gambler that never once did he stir from his seat or partake of food during the 11 hours of play. He won several stakes of 26,000 f, and twice consecutively backed the number one ‘en plein’ successfully for 8,000 f, the maximum amount allowed. He also frequently backed with similar good fortune the even chances – red, odd and even, ‘marque,’ and ‘passe’ – and more than once won all these stakes at the same time. It is stated that he has sent on all his winnings to England, so as to place himself beyond the temptation of losing them by further operations at the gaming tables.