When one decides to follow their passion and stick to it, they are halfway through the door to achieving more than they can ever expect. Here are some of the most skilled and inspiring personalities in the universe of gambling.
They who have such skill, bravado, and uncanny eye to take the opportunity always at the right time have turned the odds greatly to their favor. They are examples of how devoted they are to their chosen path and have created their own luck and fortune.
Here are 10 of the world’s wealthiest gamblers unmasked.
1. Kerry Packer – $5 Billion
It didn’t hurt that he can tap into his family’s business empire and grow the business to become among Australia’s elite. He is also famous for being one of the high-rollers club.
Kery Packer has lost huge sums of money and the unavoidable losing streak but he sure did win bigger when all factors are falling into place.
There was a period of time from September 1999 to July 2000 when his losses clocked in at $40 million in Crickford’s casino, in London, and the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
His greatest moment was in May 1995 when he was able to win $20 million in only 40 minutes by playing several games of $250,000 stake blackjack at once.
2. Tony Bloom – $1.5 Billion
Most folks who made their fortune via gambling keep a very low profile. Tony Bloom is among them and the only detail we can gather is that he studied mathematics at the University of Manchester and picked poker as his preferred game of play.
As years passed, he was able to win around $2.5 million and he was able to participate in major poker tournaments including the World Poker Tour and Poker Million IX with the latter seeing him take second place.
He became popular in the poker field of gambling enough that he earned the nickname, “The Lizard” for a cold-blooded strategy of play.
Important to note though that majority of Bloom’s wealth was not via poker but through his own betting consultancy firm, Starlizard.
Starlizard has since ranked as one of the top betting firms in the world and it wagers millions of dollars on soccer leagues worldwide.
3. Bill Benter – $1 Billion
He used his sharp mind and tenacity to see a game objectively to earn a fortune through gambling.
He started his career by counting cards in Las Vegas before focusing on horse racing in Hong Kong.
Together with Alan Woods, Benter began building an algorithm that can predict a horse’s chance of winning with unbelievable accuracy.
Through some difficult years and some innovation on this, his model began to earn him tens of millions of dollars per year.
The most famous prediction his model correctly made was the Triple Trio — a bet in Hong Kong where you must predict the first three horses to cross the line in three separate races.
He now spends his days as a billionaire by giving lectures at universities and donating to charitable causes around the world.
4. Edward Thorp – $800 Million
Edward Thorp is surprisingly – or not surprisingly — who inspired Bill Benter to dive into the world of gambling. He is the genius who invented card counting.
His genius in mathematics and technology paved the way to discovering card counting and overturned the house advantage when playing the game of blackjack.
The first time he took the technique for a ride, he won $11,000 which also moved him toward publishing a book explaining his techniques.
His book, “Beat the Dealer”, was published in 1962 and has since sold over 1 million copies.
He followed through with another invention — the first wearable computer. This was a gadget that increased his chances of winning in roulette.
He applied these skills to the stock market and this saw his wealth go sky-high and has been an extremely wealthy man moving forward.
5. Alan Woods – $500 Million
A former business partner of Bill Benter, Alan Woods also created his fortune in a similar manner.
Both started counting cards and worked on the same team, too. They were soon blacklisted from the Las Vegas casinos and moved their focus to horse racing in Hong Kong.
They had a falling out and Woods then made his own model which turned out to be equally as successful as Benter’s.
But when his betting syndicate was found out and investigations by law enforcement started he decided to go to the Philippines to avoid the snarly scenario.
From his private property, Woods was able to still gather a huge fortune of half a billion dollars and worked closely with former rival Zeljko Ranogajec.
6. Zeljko Ranogajec – $420 Million
Reaching a level of popularity in the gambling world, he was given a nickname, “The Joker”, being known as an advantage gambler.
He was able to garner millions of dollars out of a few hundred at the blackjack table. He also worked with Alan Woods before finally setting up his own betting syndicate, the Bankroll.
His business focused on horse racing and Bankroll was seen to place bets worth over $3 billion per year.
Despite the wagers not materializing into winning bets, he was still able to make money via bookmakers giving him discounts and rebates on his incredibly large bets.
Try as he might keep a very low profile, he still was unable to keep reports from coming out that he owns an apartment at One Hyde Park — the world’s most expensive apartment building.
Another interesting fact is that bets placed by his syndicate make up one-third of Betfair Australia’s total operations.
7. Billy Walters – $200 Million
He is known to be one of the most successful sports bettors in history. He also went on record that he only had one losing season in the 39 years he’s been active in sports betting.
Like most successful gamblers, he used analysis to reach more accurate odds than the bookies which allowed him to win between 56-60% on all bets he placed.
ESPN shares that Walters found most of his success at collegiate-level sports where the bookies invested less time and resources calculating their odds.
He used to wager huge amounts of money on these small teams with one employee remembering a $250,000 bet he placed on the NCAA Division I basketball team, Old Dominion.
His luck turned haywire when he was found guilty of insider training on the stock market.
He was able to serve four years out of a five-year sentence in prison due to being pardoned by former President Donald Trump.
8. Dan Bilzerian – $200 Million
Dan Bilzerian preferred the poker table to be his platform for creating his fortune.
He’s a rarity in which he proudly flaunts his antics and lavish lifestyle on social media, not at all a low profile for most gamblers who attained wealth via gambling.
But he hardly plays public games. The last time he was seen was back in the 2009 World Series Event when he finished in 180th place.
He assures folks that he only plays poker in underground, private games. He also hinted that he can earn up to $50 million in one night.
It would seem too tall a tale but other professional gamblers think that this is a possibility since Bilzerian is known to only play against the ultra-wealthy he feels sure he can beat in the game of poker.
9. David Walsh – $200 Million
As with fellow gamblers who are now considered the wealthiest of the lot, he started by counting cards during his time at the University of Tasmania.
He met fellow student Zeljko Ranogajec and they paired up to try their hand at playing blackjack in Las Vegas.
When Walsh moved back to Tasmania, he built his own software to predict the outcome of horse races. This would become a key piece for Ranogajec’s syndicate, the Bankroll.
Walsh would be the one to do all the mathematical calculations for the syndicate during his early days.
He once bought $11 million worth of lottery tickets to win a $60 million jackpot.
Nowadays, Walsh spends most of his time in an underground art museum that he has built in Tasmania with a veritable price tag of over $200 million.
10. Phil Ivey – $100 million
Phil Ivey is considered one of the top-most players in poker worldwide.
He has won numerous trophies in the field of poker that also include the World poker Title and 10 World Series of Poker bracelets.
These tournaments also carry very impressive prizes. Ivey also is known to have made huge sums of money by playing poker against billionaires like banker Andy Beal.
There are stories that Ivey was able to beat Beal out of $16.6 million in one single game.
There you have it! We hope that you were able to enjoy reading the article. It is insightful how varied paths each took to achieve a high level of wealth and the risks they made to get there. Would you like us to feature more personalities in the gambling universe? Just let us know in the comment section below and we’ll get to it soonest!