The luckiest individuals in history: Who were they?

We all need a bit of luck from time to time – whether that’s in a job interview, at home or even just when out and about, but some people have taken luck to the extreme. With characters like Archie Karas and Tsutomu Yamaguchi in the history books, it’s clear that getting very fortunate can certainly happen. This article will share the stories of some of these lucky individuals, and explain why they’re considered just so lucky.

Archie Karas

When the question of getting lucky in gambling is raised, the name often found on everyone’s lips is none other than Archie Karas. Karas was born in 1950 and was later known as “the Greek” because of his heritage. He moved to the US at the age of 15 and managed to secure a win of more than $2m through games like poker and pool. Later, he was worth an estimated $40m through gambling in online casinos such as and other places.

Karas managed what could be described as an extraordinary feat. As well as being one of the luckiest people in history, he also managed to be one of the unluckiest. At first, he was considered to have had significant good fortune. However, he lost most of his gambling fortune and was rendered relatively penniless in later life. In some ways, this is an illustrative story of how luck can work: good luck, it seems, always comes with the risk of leading to bad luck.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi

Tsutomu Yamaguchi is another example of someone who has managed to enjoy huge strokes of luck during their lives. In this case, however, Tsutomu Yamaguchi’s luck was in an environment very different to that of the casino.

In his case, he managed to avoid death by nuclear disaster – twice. The first time he cheated death was when he was working in the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II at the time of the atomic bomb, which was dropped in the final year of that conflict. He then headed back to his home, but this turned out to be Nagasaki – and he was there when the next bomb dropped too. In both cases, he managed to survive and live to tell the tale.

Maarten de Jonge

The name Maarten de Jonge is not one that is regularly seen in the history books – but it is one that anyone who’s familiar with the role that luck can play in determining your fate will want to know about.

First off, he was supposed to be onboard flight MH370 with Malaysian Airlines, which vanished back in 2014 and was never discovered. Unbelievably, he then booked a seat on another aircraft that was also doomed. On both occasions, reasons cropped up for him to not fly – and those reasons may well have saved his life.

Theodore Roosevelt

Finally, the name Theodore Roosevelt is – unlike many on this list – indeed one that many people have probably heard of before. However, most people perhaps don’t know that this US President had a very lucky life.

First off, he was almost killed when he was shot by a man named John Schrank during a campaign event in 1912. The passage of the bullet through Roosevelt’s body was halted somewhat by the fact that the papers of a speech – as well as his glasses case – were in his pocket, and able to deflect the worst of the bullet’s effects.

It’s not clear whether Roosevelt himself recognized just how lucky he had been though. He later went on to give a speech, during which he famously said that it “takes more than that to kill a bull moose”.

In some senses, Roosevelt also went on to be lucky in other ways. Very few people can claim to have served as President of the US – and there’s almost inevitably a bit of luck or good fortune involved in winning elections. Perhaps, though, this just shows that what looks like luck can sometimes just be plain old persistence and dedication.

In summary, it’s clear that luck can change a person’s life. From Tsutomu Yamaguchi to Maarten de Jonge, history is full of examples of people who have managed to strike it lucky in one of many ways. If you’re feeling inspired to get lucky, why not take a chance on something today? There’s no guarantee that it will work out in your favor – but you’ve got to be in it to win it.

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