John Law in Venice: “John Law, like all the best people…:
…spent some time in Venice (he actually died there in 1729). Being John Law, of course he ended up playing with money… (and not just in the Ridotto):
He would sit behind a table, at his elbow a pile of coins worth 10,000 gold pistoles. Law knew that many tourists, especially from France or England, would not be able to resist the temptation to gamble with him, so that they could boast of this fact when they returned home. He extended an open invitation to all-comers: for an outlay of one gold pistole, he was willing to gamble his entire 10,000, if his opponent could roll six dice and get each one to come up a six.
Well worth a bet, they thought, even at odds of 10,000:1–and one by one the extra gold pistoles came rolling in. (Law was well aware that the real odds were in fact an even more unlikely 46,656:1).
From ‘The Spirit of Venice’ by Paul Strathern p. 306