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Family Refuses To Sell Beachside Home Won In Poker Game

£500 Property Now Valued At £5 Million


Some savvy poker skills led to a major return on investment for the family of Percy Allen. In 1915, the Englishman took £500 that he won from a poker game and used it to purchase a red brick holiday home in Sandbanks, Dorset, England.

While the area was mostly populated with wooden shacks at the time, Sandbanks has since become an affluent area along England’s southern coast and has even been called “Britain’s Palm Beach.”

More than 100 years later, the home is still in the possession of the family despite numerous multi-million offers for the property. That £500 in poker winnings resulted in a home that’s now valued at £5 million.

No Plans To Sell

The beachside home is known as East Looe and is still used for some vacation getaways by Allen’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

“They’re now into their sixth generation and they just enjoy it as a holiday home for the two branches of the family,” local historian Jeremy Water told the Daily Mail. “The house itself is not particularly photogenic, it’s just a square, pebble-dash box, but it would have been very grand for the area when it was built.”

Born in 1876, Allen and his wife Isabelle lived in Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol, where he worked as the director of a printing company. However, the Daily Mail notes that much of his income apparently came from poker. He often headed off to London for some sessions on the felt. In today’s dollars, that £500 used to purchase the home would be worth more than $15,000.

The home sits near the Sandbanks harbor in an area prized by developers. Despite receiving numerous offers through the years, the family has chosen to keep the property available for all of the poker player’s heirs.

“The Allens love the house and all the family enjoy going there,” Waters said. “They’ve got a lovely bit of beach by their house where because of the construction of the groynes (shore protection structures built perpendicular to the shoreline) they’ve got their own little bay.”

This isn’t the only historical property won via poker that has made headlines in recent months. A 118-acre ranch In Jackson, Wyoming, went on sale in September for $58 million. The property is believed to have been won in a 1944 poker game.

*Photo by Max Wilcock / BNPS