Famous Gamblers - Top 10 Richest Gamblers

Famous Gamblers – Top 10 Richest Gamblers | 2024

Gambling has long been a captivating pursuit that combines elements of skill, strategy, and chance. Throughout history, a select few individuals have risen to prominence not only for their gambling prowess but also for their remarkable tales of fortune and, at times, misfortune. 

These individuals, known as famous gamblers, have left an indelible mark on the world of gaming, captivating the public’s imagination with their daring bets, incredible winning streaks, and unforgettable personalities.

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Top 10 Richest Gamblers In The World

Famous Gamblers

1. Kerry Packer – $5 Billion

Kerry Packer may have become the wealthiest person in Australia thanks to his family’s business empire, but he will be forever associated with gambling. This is because Packer was a consistent team leader.

This style of play always leads to massive losses, and Packer had some truly incredible losing streaks throughout his gambling career. 

His most infamous loss was approximately $40 million, which he incurred over 10 months starting in September 1999 and ending in July 2000 at Crockford’s casino in London and the Bellagio in Las Vegas. 

Fortunately for Packer, he occasionally experienced runs of success as well. In May of 1995, he played many games of $250,000 stake blackjack at once and earned $20 million, possibly his best gambling success. 

2. Tony Bloom – $1.5 Billion

Tony Bloom, like many who have become wealthy through gambling, is shrouded in mystery.

We do know that he began playing poker as a hobby after majoring in mathematics at The University of Manchester. 

He has won almost $2.5 million from his poker passion and has placed second in several major tournaments, including the World Poker Tour and Poker Million IX. 

The poker table was where Bloom first gained the infamous “The Lizard” moniker for his icy demeanor. 

However, poker has not been the primary source of Bloom’s wealth. Instead, he established a successful betting consultancy called Starlizard, where he gained millions.

Starlizard is said to be one of the biggest betting companies in the world, and it reportedly gambles millions of dollars on soccer leagues around the world. 

3. Bill Benter – $1 Billion

Bill Benter is a math genius who utilized his wits to make a fortune in the gambling industry.

Benter got his start in the gambling industry like many young gamblers do: by counting cards in Las Vegas. Later, he shifted his focus to the horse racing scene in Hong Kong. 

Benter collaborated with fellow bettor Alan Woods to develop an algorithm that could accurately forecast a horse’s odds of winning a race.

It took him a few trying years and some adjustments to his model before he started making millions annually. 

The Triple Trio is a popular wager in Hong Kong in which the bettor must properly pick the order in which three horses finish in three distinct races; this was Benter’s most well-known triumph.  Benter is now a billionaire who spends his time lecturing at colleges and making donations to organizations all around the world. 

4. Edward Thorp – $800 Million

The person who encouraged Bill Benter to start gambling in the first place was Edward Thorp, who is also known as the inventor of card counting. Bill Benter comes in second position behind Thorp.

Thorp was a mathematical and technological prodigy, and he came up with a strategy to play blackjack that gave the player an advantage over the dealer rather than the house. 

After realizing that the strategy was successful on his first weekend of utilizing it, he decided to write a book that explained his methods and publish it after winning $11,000 using it.

Over one million copies of “Beat the Dealer” were purchased after it was first released in 1962. This book was an extraordinary hit. 

After publishing his book, Thorp went on to develop the very first wearable computer. Because of this piece of technology, he had a significantly better chance of winning the roulette game.

Thorp’s income skyrocketed as he applied his gambling abilities to the stock market, and ever since then, he has continued to be an enormously wealthy guy. 

5. Alan Woods – $500 Million

Alan Woods, who made his fortune in a manner analogous to that of Bill Benter, was Bill Benter’s former business partner.

Both of them got their start by counting cards, and at one time they even worked together on the same team.

After that, after being banned from the casinos in Las Vegas, they shifted their focus to the horse races in Hong Kong.

After their disagreement, Woods went on to create a model that was equally as successful as Benter’s.

However, after law officials began their investigation into his betting syndicate, he had no choice but to make a hasty escape to the Philippines. 

While continuing to wager from his private property, Woods acquired a vast wealth estimated to be somewhere over half a billion dollars and worked closely with his former adversary Zeljko Ranogajec.

6. Zeljko Ranogajec – $420 Million

Zeljko Ranogajec, well known by his nickname “The Joker,” is yet another extremely wealthy individual who amassed his fortune by engaging in the practice of so-called advantage gambling. 

After turning a few hundred dollars into millions of dollars at the blackjack table, Ranogajec worked with Alan Woods before establishing his betting syndicate known as the Bankroll. This was after he had turned a few hundred dollars into millions of dollars at the blackjack table. 

It is reported that Ranogajec’s syndicate places wagers annually totaling more than $3 billion, with the majority of its attention being on horse racing.

Although a significant number of these bets are unsuccessful, Ranogajec is still able to turn a profit since the bookies who take his enormous wagers provide him with discounts and rebates. 

Even though Ranogajec prefers to keep to himself, the wealth that he has accumulated is not something that can be concealed so simply. It has been said that he has a flat in the One Hyde Park skyscraper, which is the most expensive apartment complex in the world.

Even more incredible is the fact that it appears that the wagers placed by his syndicate account for one-third of all of Betfair Australia’s business.

7. Billy Walters – $200 Million

Billy Walters may be one of the most profitable sports bettors ever. Walters has publicly said that in his 39 years of sports betting, he has only experienced one losing season. 

Like many others on this list, Walters won between 56 and 60 percent of his bets by using analysis to generate more accurate odds than the bookies. 

According to ESPN, Walters had the most success betting on collegiate sports, where oddsmakers reportedly spent less time and effort on their wagers.

One of Walters’ former employees recalled that Walters once wagered $250,000 on the NCAA Division I basketball team Old Dominion. 

Walters’ run of good fortune unfortunately ended when he was convicted of insider trading.

Former President Donald Trump commuted his five-year prison term to four years in exchange for his cooperation. 

8. Dan Bilzerian – $200 Million

Dan Bilzerian is not like the other gamblers on our list who have built their fortune at the sportsbooks but rather at the poker table. 

You’ve probably heard of Bilzerian thanks to his exploits on the internet, where he shows off the opulent life he claims to have gained playing poker. 

Interestingly, Bilzerian rarely appears at public poker tournaments. His worst showing was 180th at the 2009 World Series of Poker Event.

Bilzerian claims he no longer plays poker anywhere but in secret, private games. You can make as much as $50,000,000 in one night if you’re Bilzerian. 

Some expert gamblers speculate as much since Bilzerian has a reputation for only playing against extremely wealthy people he is confident in beating. 

9. David Walsh – $200 Million

During his tenure at the University of Tasmania, David Walsh got his start in the gambling industry by counting cards.

Here he met classmate Zeljko Ranogajec, and the two of them quickly agreed to travel to Las Vegas to try their luck at blackjack.

After returning to Tasmania, Walsh started developing his system for betting on horse races. For Ranogajec’s gang, the Bankroll, this would prove to be a crucial piece of equipment. 

David Walsh, because of his innate intelligence, would reportedly be the one to perform all of the syndicate’s mathematical computations in the beginning.

Walsh was equally courageous to match his knowledge; he once spent $11 million on lottery tickets in the hopes of winning $60 million. 

Walsh now spends most of his time curating a subterranean art museum in Tasmania. Over $200,000,000 is how much it is said to cost. 

10. Phil Ivey – $100 million

There is no denying Phil Ivey’s poker prowess, unlike Dan Bilzerian.  A World Poker Championship and ten World Series of Poker bracelets have solidified his reputation as one of the game’s finest. 

Prize money from these tournament victories totals in the millions, but Ivey has made much more money by playing poker against billionaires like banker Andy Beal. Some accounts claim that Ivey cheated Beal out of $16.6 million in a single hand of poker. 

Rich Gamblers

The world of famous gamblers is a captivating realm where fortunes rise and fall with the roll of the dice and the turn of a card. As we’ve journeyed through the lives of these iconic individuals, we’ve been granted a glimpse into the highs and lows of a lifestyle that is equal parts thrilling and perilous.

From the strategic minds of professional poker players who have faced off in high-stakes tournaments, to the cunning cardsharps who’ve honed their skills through years of practice, each famous gambler has woven a unique narrative that speaks to the power of human intuition, strategy, and chance. Some have amassed unimaginable wealth, while others have faced adversity and lost it all. Yet, the allure of the game continues to captivate and inspire, drawing players and enthusiasts into its intricate web.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Who are some of the most famous gamblers in history?

Notable figures include Wild Bill Hickok, Titanic Thompson, Johnny Moss, and Stu Ungar, among others.

What types of games did famous gamblers excel in?

Famous gamblers excelled in a variety of games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, and even sports betting.

Did any famous gamblers have extraordinary winning streaks?

Yes, some famous gamblers, like Archie Karas, enjoyed remarkable winning streaks, turning small stakes into millions.

Have any famous gamblers faced legal issues or controversies?

Yes, many famous gamblers have faced legal troubles related to gambling, cheating, or even organized crime involvement.

How did famous gamblers manage their bankrolls?

Famous gamblers often had strict bankroll management strategies, setting limits to prevent significant losses.

What role did famous gamblers play in the development of modern casinos?

Some famous gamblers contributed to the popularity of certain casino games, helping shape the modern casino landscape.

Did any famous gamblers write books or share their strategies?

Yes, several famous gamblers have penned books sharing their experiences and strategies, offering insights into their world.

What were some of the biggest bets ever made by famous gamblers?

Famous gamblers have placed enormous bets, such as Phil Ivey’s million-dollar baccarat bets and Kerry Packer’s legendary craps wagers.

Are there any famous gamblers who became philanthropists or used their winnings for charitable causes?

Yes, some famous gamblers, like Erik Seidel, have used their winnings for philanthropic endeavors and charitable contributions.

Do famous gamblers serve as inspirations for aspiring gamblers today?

The stories of famous gamblers inspire many aspiring players to learn about the intricacies of the games and develop their skills. However, it’s important to gamble responsibly and within one’s means.