Imagine what it would be like to walk into a Las Vegas casino, head to the roulette table and walk away $1 million richer. David Meade, a British mentalist, motivational speaker and star of The David Meade Project, now knows that very feeling. Unfortunately, he also learned how hard it is to hand all that money right back to the casino.
Like most ‘professional’ mentalists, Meade was curious whether his mental prowess could do the unthinkable – beat a Las Vegas casino. Every man of Meade’s abilities has tried, and they’ve all failed, but that didn’t stop David from craving the challenge, even knowing that failure could have ruined his reputation and career. In fact, Meade said he consulted “every famous mentalist there is before I went and every one of them said they didn’t believe it could be done.”
David Meade’s undertaking in Vegas was documented for a special one-hour television series, ‘David Meade: Million Dollar Bet’, schedule to air on BBC One Northern Ireland on Money, December 15th. It took the crew 18 months to prepare and shoot the documentary.
“It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done and a foolhardy risk,” he said, knowing he was playing roulette with his career more so than his money. Meade asserted that every penny he put into the casino game was his own; not an allowance from the show’s producers. But for that very reason, and the ultimate risks surrounding Meade’s situation (which goes far beyond his career; more below), he felt obligated to make an arrangement with the Las Vegas casino.
Meade would use his own money to play, but in the end, win or lose, his original bankroll would be returned to him. In the same token, the casino’s chips would be returned to the house. In this way, there was no true monetary risk involved for either party. When it was all over, that stipulation backfired on Meade, who said he never imagined how hard it would be to hand $1,000,000 back to the casino after having won it at the roulette tables.
“During the planning and prep I never took time to think about what it would feel like to have that money in my hand,” David recalled. “I really wanted to take it. It was hideous having to give it back.” He went on to say that he took a selfie of himself with all those casino chips, but ended up deleting it because “it was just too awful to look at.”
David could really have used that money, too. The 32 year old mentalist is currently building a new home in Banbridge for his wife and two young children; 5 year old Tilly and George, who will be 2 in January. The last two years have been especially hard on the Meade’s, both mentally and financially.
Their youngest child, George, was born in 2013 with a heap of medical problems so complicated that doctors have yet to come up with a stable diagnosis. Several defective organs had to be operated on in the first year of his life, and inexplicable seizures occur randomly throughout each and every day, awake or asleep. Despite his constant testing, surgeries and treatments, none of which are anywhere near completion, David said, “[George] is as happy as Larry. I’ve never in my life seen a child who loves a good tickle as much as he does.”
It would make sense for the mentalist to simply cashout his finances, head back to Vegas and make another go of it. But Meade said he would never take such a risk again, especially knowing if he loses, he won’t be getting it back this time. He allocated 60% of his success to simply having the courage to attempt beating the casino in the first place, another 25% to the luck of the wheel, and the remaining 15% to his mentalist capabilities.