Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Mentalist David's Meade lots of cash on trips to Vegas

Exclusive: Mentalist on cashing in at sin city and the perils of gambling

David Meade
David Meade

By John Toner

Northern Ireland's master of illusion David Meade has revealed he uses his mental powers to win big on regular trips to Las Vegas.

The former winner of a million-dollar roulette challenge in Sin City told Sunday Life he enjoys returning to test his skills but is wary of the addictive nature of gambling.

In 2014, he won $1million (£752,000) at a casino on his Million Dollar Bet show for the BBC. However, he left empty-handed, having agreed with casino bosses not to keep it.

David, who has spent years building a home around the needs of his disabled son George (6), also said the thought of what the money can buy makes him think twice about going for the big jackpots.

He said: "I go back all the time to Vegas and the challenge is the thing I get asked about most.

"I just had this blind confidence at the time but it was the scariest thing I've ever done.

"I have won from time-to-time when I'm out there but nothing like a million dollars. Usually if you get to $8-10,000 you start to realise what that would pay for in the house we've been building, like door handles or worktops.

"I really don't think if I were to try again I would be able to win $1,000,000.

"Mentalists had tried for years to do it and couldn't and no one has done it since.

"The most I have ever won was $18,000 but most of the time it is nowhere near that, over a couple of hours it would usually be $3-4,000.

David Meade in Las Vegas for Milion Dollar Bet
David Meade in Las Vegas for Milion Dollar Bet

"It can be addictive and what no one talks about is chasing your winnings. I remember being furious with myself for holding back on a bet where if I'd put everything I had that day on it I would have won $30-40,000. I was livid. You would think I would be happy.

"It's a dangerous emotion, almost as dangerous as chasing your losses. During filming for the challenge in 2014 we met so many people who had lost everything.

"It was challenging at the time because we got letters from people in difficult spots wanting to be shown how to win. It was difficult, we felt a real weight of responsibility."

The mentalist (36) also revealed he has started a programme to donate prosthetic hands to people in developing countries as part of his corporate services work.

He buys unassembled prosthetic hands and instructs his clients to assemble them as part of team-building exercises delivered to the likes of Apple, Facebook and the NHS.

Once assembled, the artificial hands are donated to people in the developing world with over 300 donations made last year in India.

He said: "My son is disabled so it's really special to me and is part of the reason I wanted to do it. It really changes people's lives forever which is a very special thing.

"We're trying to grow the business and do good stuff while we're doing it.

"We try as best we can to help employers engage and energise employees because so many people just sort of exist in their job and the Give A Hand programme really helps people achieve things they never thought possible.

"Overwhelmingly our work is in the corporate space with companies like Apple, Coca Cola, Harvard and so on. I absolutely love the travel and learning about businesses.

"Apple is my absolute favourite, I'm an Apple addict. I have the phone, the watch, a MacBook, an iPad, it's the cult of Apple! But they are an incredible company who really live their culture.

"With them we do prosthetic hand team-building exercise meaning they have to work together to assemble these prostheses and we then donate them to people in developing countries.

David Meade in Las Vegas for Million Dollar Bet
David Meade in Las Vegas for Million Dollar Bet

"When you look at the challenges and obstacles faced by others it puts things into perspective.

"I met a little girl the same age as my daughter during donations of the hands and it really knocked me for six. She had travelled for hundreds of miles to receive her hand."

Tickets are still available for David's show Brainman which is in Larne on Friday before travelling to Londonderry on March 15 and the Ulster Hall in Belfast on March 16.

Belfast Telegraph

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