From Paris Review:
On September 24th, 1980, a man wearing cowboy boots and carrying two brown suitcases entered Binionâ€™s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. One suitcase held $777,000 in cash; the other was empty. After converting the money into chips, the man approached a craps table on the casino floor and put everything on the backline. This meant he was betting against the woman rolling the dice. If she lost, heâ€™d double his money. If she won, heâ€™d lose everything. Scarcely aware of the amount riding on her dice, the woman rolled three times: 6, 9, 7.
â€œPay the backline,â€ said the dealer. And just like that, the man won over $1.5 million. He calmly filled the empty suitcase with his winnings, exited Binionâ€™s into the desert afternoon, and drove off. It was the largest amount ever bet on a dice roll in America.
â€œMystery Man Wins Fortune,â€ the Los Angeles Times reported. No one knew the identity of the fair-haired young Texan whoâ€™d just made history, and so he became known as the â€œPhantom Gambler.â€ â€œHe was cool,â€ said Jack Binion, president of the Horseshoe. â€œHe really had a lot of gamble in him.â€ But it would be years before the phantom would be seen in Vegas again.
You’ll smile if you stop reading there. The story’s ultimate conclusion is sad.