How I lost $5,000 in less than 2 minutes


Earlier this year, for our wedding anniversary, Mrs. T bought tickets to Kurios by Cirque du Soleil so we could have a kids-free date. After a bit of planning, we were fortunate to be able to turn this opportunity into a stayaction with 1 night in Vancouver by sending the kids to my parents.

So two Saturdays ago, Mrs. T and I sent the kids to my parents in the morning, drove to Vancouver, and started our first ever kids-free stayaction. To keep the cost down (I am a frugal personal finance blogger after all!), I booked the newly opened JW Marriott Parq Vancouver with points. Since I am a gold Marriott member, I called the hotel the day before to request a room upgrade, an early check-in, and a late check-out to get the most out of my points (we got all 3).

We had a blast staying at JW Marriott Parq Vancouver. The hotel was very fancy, the hotel staff were very helpful & friendly, and the executive lounge was super nice with lots of great food & drinks.

Originally we made dinner reservation at a local Italian restaurant for Saturday night. After seeing all the food items in the executive lounge, Mrs. T suggested canceling the dinner reservation so we could enjoy more free food!

The JW Marriott Vancouver is situated in a new building call Vancouver Parq. Another Marriott hotel, The Douglas, is on the other side of the building. In between the two hotels, there is a world-class casino.

Since it was one of those down pour Vancouver rainy days, other than going to the Cirque du Soleil show, hanging out in the executive lounge, and watch TV in our room (we don’t have TV at home), we didn’t do a whole lot. We figured we would check out the casino.

I was surprised how packed the casino was that night. We walked around to see all the different casino games. We quickly noticed that different games had different minimum bets, blackjack was $25, poker was $10, and roulette table was $2.


How I lost $5,000 in less than 2 minutes

We decided to play the roulette table***

Feeling lucky, I pulled out $2,500 cash from my wallet (I am a big deal you know?) and exchanged them for chips. Once I got the chips, I then put 5 stacks of chips worth $500 each on 5 different numbers.

Unfortunately, none of my numbers hit.

And I lost $2,500 in less than a minute.

Feeling slightly deflated, I decided that I needed to make my money back. So I pulled out another stack of $2,500 cash from my wallet and exchanged them for chips. Once I got the chips, again I put 5 stacks of chips worth $500 each on the same 5 numbers.

Once again, one of my numbers hit.

And I lost yet another $2,500 in less than a minute.

In total I lost $5,000 in less than 2 minutes.



*** Ok, I wasn’t the one that actually lost the money, but thought it’d be more fun if I pretended that it was me. In reality, Mrs. T and I were standing at the roulette table and a 30 something guy walked to the table with a drink in his hand. From looking at his eyes, he clearly had a few drinks already. Once he got to the table, he immediately pulled out a whack load of $100 bills. The casino staff counted the bills and we found out it was $2,500. The guy then bet all the chips in one go (on 5 numbers) and lost it all. When that happened, Mrs. T and I looked at each other in shock. My hands were sweaty, I felt bad for the guy.

However, we were even more shocked with what happened next…

The guy pulled out his wallet again and took out another whack load of $100 bills. Again he exchanged $2,500 for chips and placed the chips on 5 numbers. Again he didn’t hit any of his numbers.

Meanwhile, another guy next to the 30 something guy was placing $2 bets on 5 different numbers (you had to bet a minimum of $10 each time). Both times, one of his numbers hit and he ended up winning $144 in less than 2 minutes ($2 * 36 * 2).

That’s casino for you!

Mrs. T and I were disgusted and shocked by the fact that this 30 something guy was literally throwing money away like there was no tomorrow. We were about to leave the table when we noticed a buddy of his guy came over to the roulette table with another alcoholic drink, and we saw the 30 something guy pulled out his wallet and started taking out more cash!!!

We left the tablet in shock and wondered how much more money this guy was going to lose. When we walked back to the roulette table about 5 minutes later, this guy was nowhere to be seen.

Not in a million year, I would imagine betting $5,000 on roulette table and lose all that money in less than 2 minutes.



What I learned from losing $5,000 in less than 2 minutes

  • People are irrational with their money when alcohol is involved.
  • For Godness’s sake, please don’t carry around over $5k worth of cash in your wallet while walking around in the casino!!! That only leads to overconfidence and you are more likely to gamble and lose big.
  • There is a lot of luck involved when it comes to gambling.
  • While you may be lucky. The odds are stacked again you. In the long run, house always wins.
  • If you gamble, set a playing limit that you can tolerate losing. We didn’t end up playing anything (not even slots) because we only had $80 worth of cash and we felt very discouraged after the previous incident.


Side note #1: During university I took a math course called “Probability and Physical Applications.” During the course we learned about the probability of different casino games. We came to the conclusion that if you were to play roulette table, you are better off placing one big bet because your odds of winning greatly diminishes as you play more games.

Math 318 UBC

Homework assignment questions (oh man I actually knew how to do these?)


Side note #2: That course was one of the hardest math courses, on average, it took people 2 tries to pass this class. I remember when the professor held a final exam review session, he asked if anyone had taken a look at last year’s exam, then someone in the class said “yea… at last year’s exam.”

Side note #3: We asked the professor if he plays any casino games. His flat out answered no, because the low probability of winning.


Dear readers, have you gambled before at a casino? What has been your experience with casino games?

Written by Tawcan
Hi I’m Bob from Vancouver Canada, I am working toward joyful life and financial independence through frugal living, dividend investing, passive income generation, life balance, and self-improvement. This blog is my way to chronicle my journey and share my stories and thoughts along the way. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter. Or sign up via Newsletter