Gambling in casinos has been around since the 17th century. In the time between then and now, thousands of names have been etched into the annals of fame and history through their exploits in gambling. In this article, we will explore some of the world’s most famous and successful gamblers in history.
There is perhaps nobody more deserving of the first entry to this list of gambling legends than Anargyros Nicholas Karabourniotis, more commonly known as Archie Karas. At the age of 42, this Greek American high-stakes enthusiast rode into Las Vegas in the summer of 1992 with no more than $50 to his name. While this measly scrape of cash was almost instantly lost, Archie would take out an additional $10 000 loan to keep himself at the table. Through luck or skill, Archie Karas would then somehow manage to maintain a years-long winning streak.
When 1995 finally rolled by, Archie had amassed a fortune no smaller than $40 million. With this fortune came his iconic and well-fitting nickname; “The Run”. This would turn Archie into a prominent high roller and poker shark across the Vegas strip. where he was known as The Run. But, lo, did he fly too close to the sun and lose it all in 1996. Nevertheless, Archie’s name will be etched into history forever given that he still boasts the longest winning streak of fortune and victory in casino gambling history.
Billy Walters is the patron saint of betting enthusiasts. Although his career in casino gambling is a rags-to-riches story in and of itself, Walters is far better known for his exploits in the world of sports betting, where he used his business-minded savvy to achieve a historical win streak. One could even argue that Walters has more in common with Warren Buffet than, say, Archie Karas.
Although his earlier life featured a troubled and trial some upbringing, Walters had always been a hard worker with a keen intellect. These great features of Walters would later bear fruit once he started gambling. He would first strike gold alongside a gambling partner at a roulette table where they would sit for over 38 hours. The amount they walked away with, $3 800 000, was a record-breaker at the time. This win may have been what put Billy Walters on the map, but it would not be what made him famous.
By the 1960s, Walters had found a new passion in the thrilling world of live sports betting. He would be a pioneer in betting strategy through his use of algorithmic computation to predict the outcomes of sports matches. He would spend nearly 40 years betting on all sorts of sporting events and register astronomical financial success during this time. What is remarkable is the fact that, throughout this time spent betting on sports, he would have a single losing year followed by 30 years of incredibly gainful wins. Walters’ contribution to the world of betting was, in no uncertain terms, revolutionary.
Billy Walters saw many great wins from dozens of brave yet shrewd bets during this time, but probably none more famous than his prediction that the New Orleans Saints would take the championship position during the Super Bowl XLIV. It is recorded that Walters made a jaw-dropping $3.5 million on this bet. He would also garner a further $2.2 million in 2007 after accurately predicting that the University of Southern California would defeat the University of Michigan that football season. To date, Billy Walters’ net worth is believed to be $200 000 000.
Also known as Australia’s most notorious billionaire, Kerry Packer was a man, a myth, a legend whose favorite pastime involved him gambling with amounts of cash that we simple folk could only ever dream of. The sort of stakes that gave him a rise were the kind that sent beads of sweat down the brows of Vegas’s most prominent casino owners.
The only thing more legendary than the man himself was his insatiable lust for a good game of luck. He once even had a manager at the then-brand-new Mirage Hotel and Casino break open a baccarat table with a crystal ashtray when the keys could not be located. He won a few million dollars shortly thereafter before offering a bet of $100 000 for the dealers themselves as a token of appreciation.
According to an anonymous Vegas official in communication with Cigar Aficionado, during the last 15 years of his life, Packer lost over $20 million on the Las Vegas Strip to bad bets. Most mind-bogglingly, however, it is said that he faced these losses with absolute cheerful indifference. Kerry Packer was obsessed with gambling and coveted the thrilling experiences it gave him. Much like the world’s biggest ballers collect fancy cars, yachts, or properties, Packer collected a legacy of unforgettable and historical casino highlights. Be it a win or a loss, any gambling experience to feature Packer was one of legend.
After a long life of ostentatious, high-stakes tomfoolery, Kerry Packer would die in 2005 due to liver failure. In February of the following year, a state memorial service was held for him at nowhere other than the Sydney Opera House. Notably, his funeral featured a myriad of other famous individuals. Among the guests were Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Russel Crowe, and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
There you have it, folks. Hopefully, you have enjoyed this article and have learned a thing or two about these three notable legends in gambling history. You may even want to check out a site like ZAR Casino and see if you can become a big winner too.
In a world where money rules everything, we cannot help but be fascinated and inspired by names such as Archie Karas, Billy Walters, and Kerry Packer, whose exploits in gambling made them kings and forever carved their names into the pages of history.