10 Famous Gamblers and Their Stories

Explore the stories of 10 famous gamblers who have left a lasting impact on the casino industry. From high-stakes poker players to renowned blackjack players, learn about their triumphs and setbacks.

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When it comes to gambling, there are a few individuals who have become legends in their own right. These famous gamblers have left their mark on the casino industry and have stories that are worth telling. From high-stakes poker players to professional blackjack players, their journeys are filled with triumphs and setbacks, making them fascinating subjects of discussion.

1. Archie Karas

Archie Karas is one of the most famous gamblers in history. He started with just $50 and managed to turn it into over $40 million in winnings through a combination of incredible luck and skill. However, Karas also experienced massive downswings, losing everything just a few years later. His rollercoaster ride in the gambling world has made him a legendary figure.

2. Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is regarded as one of the best poker players in the world. With an impressive career spanning decades, Ivey has won numerous World Series of Poker bracelets and has amassed over $30 million in tournament earnings. Known for his strategic gameplay and ability to read his opponents, Ivey has become a poker icon.

3. Don Johnson

Don Johnson is famous for his huge blackjack wins in Atlantic City. He employed a unique strategy called ‘The Johnson Method,’ which involved negotiating favorable playing conditions and using his advanced card-counting skills. Johnson won millions of dollars playing blackjack in a short amount of time, leaving the casinos baffled.

4. Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer, an Australian media tycoon, was known for his love of high-stakes gambling. Packer was an avid baccarat player and regularly placed bets amounting to millions of dollars. His large gambling exploits earned him the title of ‘Whale,’ and he became a prominent figure in the casino world.

5. Billy Walters

Billy Walters is widely regarded as one of the most successful sports bettors in history. He made a fortune by specializing in handicapping and using analytics to predict the outcome of sporting events. Walters’ success led him to be nicknamed the ‘Babe Ruth’ of sports betting.

6. Patricia Demauro

In the world of craps, Patricia Demauro holds the record for the longest craps roll. She rolled the dice an astonishing 154 times without sevening out, a feat considered almost impossible. Demauro’s incredible luck at the craps table made headlines and garnered her a place in gambling history.

7. Edward Thorp

Edward Thorp is a mathematician who revolutionized the game of blackjack. His book, ‘Beat the Dealer,’ introduced card counting techniques that could be used to gain an edge over the casino. Thorp’s strategies paved the way for future blackjack players and changed the way the game was played.

8. Vanessa Selbst

Vanessa Selbst is an accomplished professional poker player known for her aggressive playing style. She has won multiple World Series of Poker bracelets, making her one of the most successful female players in the industry. Selbst’s skill and determination have earned her a place among the top poker players of all time.

9. Chris Moneymaker

Chris Moneymaker is credited with sparking the poker boom. In 2003, he won the World Series of Poker Main Event after qualifying through an online satellite tournament. Moneymaker’s victory captured the imagination of aspiring poker players worldwide and popularized online poker.

10. Billy Baxter

Billy Baxter is a professional gambler known for his success in the world of poker. He has won multiple World Series of Poker bracelets and is highly respected by his peers. Baxter’s longevity and consistent success have solidified his place as one of the most celebrated gamblers in history.


The stories of these famous gamblers highlight the highs and lows of the gambling world. From incredible wins to devastating losses, their journeys demonstrate the excitement and unpredictability of casino games. Whether they relied on skill, luck, or a combination of both, these individuals have left a lasting impact on the industry and continue to inspire gamblers around the world.