The Most Notorious Casino High Rollers

While we know we should be sensible when playing in casinos, whether online or otherwise, it is always fun to hear about those people who are not, those who win big, and then often take huge risks with those winnings, and just end up winning bigger.

Whether you call them high rollers, whales, or just the luckiest humans alive, there are many high rollers around, but over the course of history, there have always been a few who stand head and shoulders above the rest, let’s take a lot at some of them.

Most of the names you probably haven’t heard much about, as they mostly had their runs at land based casinos. These days most of the casino action happens online and thanks to online casinos with live dealers, you get an equally genuine experience compared to brick & mortar play.

Archie Karas

It would be silly not to start this list with Archie Karas, one of the most famous poker players in recent times, due mainly to what has come to be known simply as, The Run.

The Run saw Karas (real name Anargyros Karabourniotis) turn $50 into over $40 million across a run of continuous poker wins over some of the very best, with Johnny Chan being the only player to beat him during that run, taking Karas for $900,000. Of course, he also played some crazy sessions on pit games, mainly being craps.

Unfortunately this story ends as many do, with Karas losing all the money across the next two years when his heat wore off, and two decades later he was placed in Nevada’s Black Book for alleged cheating as well as numerus other indiscretions, for the alleged cheating, he served three years’ probation.

Amarillo Slim

One of the most well known gamblers of recent times, Amarillo Slim is one of those people who makes outrageous claims that you’re almost sure aren’t true, but you can’t quite guarantee it.

Slim boasts wins over two US presidents (Johnson and Nixon) and numerous other high profile opponents.

But it is the silly bets that are the best, such as when Slim challenged a table tennis champion to a game, if Amarillo got to choose the bats. He chose glass cola bottles, having spent months perfect-ing playing with them, and won tens of thousands of dollars. There are many, many similar stories about him.

Quite the character, although one with a much, much darker side, Amarillo Slim died in 2012.

Phil Ivey

Ask most poker aficionados who the best in the world is, and the chances are they’ll give you Phil Ivey as their answer.
While known for his poker above all else, Ivey loves a game of chance as well, and is known to bet hundreds of thousands on single dice rolls.

He once won $11 million in a baccarat session at Crockford’s Casino in London, and was immediate-ly accused of cheating, the legal case still continues.

As this win came months after a $9.6 million win in Atlantic City, he probably isn’t missing the mon-ey, but it will be interesting to see if he gets it!

Don Johnson

No, not that one, but a story that would not be out of place in an episode of Miami Vice, Johnson took $15 million in three days from three big Vegas casinos.

He did it by taking advantage of the kindnesses shown to high rollers by large casinos, and negoti-ated blackjack rules that saw 50/50 odds and offer a hefty loss discount, he was cut off at $15 mil-lion, and casinos stopped being quite so friendly!

Jake Cody

A successfully poker player in his own right, Jake Cody probably would not have made this list, however, were it not for one moment that saw him become a viral sensation.

11 million people and counting have seen the video in which Cody placed his entire winnings from a poker tournament on black on a roulette wheel in one go, he even put the trophy up as well!

Black rolled in, and Jake turned £42,670 into £85,340 almost immediately after winning it.

Obviously, as a successful poker player, Cody could afford to take the risk, but we’re sure he still would’ve regretted it had red been the outcome.

Charles Barkley

NBA basketball legend Charles Barkley has arguably made just as big a name for himself at the poker tables, and through the fact that he speaks openly and comfortably about he wins, losses, and amazing stories.

Barkley, before taking a break from gambling, was known to go to casinos with one rule, he wouldn’t leave until he had either one $1 million, or lost one.

Barkley has a man of the people reputation, often swerving the cordoned off high roller areas to play at $10 tables for the sheer fun of it.

While the origin stories of high rollers differ extremely, the reason they are on this list is the same, these are people who live for the feeling of a big win, and have felt it numerous times.

Remember, high roller or otherwise, that the most important thing to remember while gambling, is to never bet money you can’t afford to lose, whether that’s $1, or $1 million!


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