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Biggest Casino Winners and Losers

Casino gambling can be a lot of fun. We have all heard about the lucky ones that felt the thrill of winning big time. At the same time, for some, gambling can become a disaster. We have also heard a lot about the not so fortunate, and even downward stupid that lost fortunes while gambling. This section is dedicated to both, so sit back, relax and enjoy an entertaining read about some of the biggest casino winners and losers of all time.

Winners Losers
Ashley Revell - $270,600 Terry Watanabe - $127 million
Elmer Sherwin - $26 million Kerry Packer - £27.4 million
Mike Ashley - £1.3 million Josef Reiner - couple of thousands
Anonymous from Nowray - €11.7 million Frank Sarakakis - £8 million
Archie Karas - $40 million Robert Maxwell - £1.5 million
Charlie Wells - $1 million Faoud-al-Zayat - £23 million
Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo - $1 million Mr C - $4,444
Don Johnson of Pennsylvania - $15 million Akio Kashiwagi - $10 million
Archie Karas - $40 million
Jimmy White - £128,000
Omar Siddiqui - $65 million

Biggest winners of all time:

Ashley Revell A man from London, Ashley Revell made the gamble of a lifetime when he sold everything he had, including his house and nearly all of his clothes and headed to Las Vegas with $135,300. He placed everything on red on the roulette table and fortunately for him the ball landed in 7 red. He then left the dealer a $600 tip, said “Thank you” and left the casino with $270,000 in his pocket.
 Elmer Sherwin The Megabucks slot has the highest progressive jackpot in the world, causing panic when it starts heading above the $30 million mark. It’s only been won a couple of times since launching in 1989. You got to be pretty darn lucky to win it since the odds are about one in 50 million. 92 year old Elmer Sherwin must have been very lucky to win it twice. He won the first Megabucks progressive jackpot in 1989 for $5 million and did it again in 2005 for $21 million. To put it into perspective, the chances of winning this progressive jackpot twice are 1/2,500,000,000,000,000 (two and a half quadrillion).
 Mike Ashley Mike Ashley, Newcastle United football club owner, spent an extraordinary 15 minutes at roulette in the Fifty London casino in Mayfair in 2008. He made a bet called a `complete` which implies that  you bet on an exact number, color, odd or even, and high or low. He chose his lucky number 17 and then, he simply won! He thanked the croupier  and left with £1.3 million, being applauded by excited spectators.
 unknown-person A Norwegian player, who remained anonymous, won the biggest ever online progressive jackpot at Betsson Casino, in the Mega Fortune game. The guy had no idea he hit it big time, and had to ask  the support team what €11.7 million was in Norwegian Crowns! It certainly blew his socks off when he was informed that it was over 38 million in his local currency.
 Archie Karas Archie Karas has to be regarded as one the most extraordinary casino gamblers that ever lived. He managed to turn $50 into $40 million by playing poker, baccarat and dice. His huge bets were outrageous and gutsy, even the best players where sort of afraid to play at his tables. On the other hand, you’ll see a little bit later that it’s not all good and shiny in our losers section.
 Charlie Wells Charlie Wells on the other hand, is the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo. Lady luck was on his side, as he made a fortune by sticking to one roulette table for 11 hours without any breaks. The casino was even forced to refill the chip stock about 12 times. He managed to turn $4,000 into $1,000,000 which was an out of this world amount in 1892, to put that into perspective, the state of Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for $7.2 million.
 Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo was a somewhat unsuccessful record producer, passionate about roulette and mathematics. He went “on a hunt” for biased roulette wheels in Madrid before he finally found one at the Casino de Madrid. He went on and won over $1 million in that casino, but got banned without any given reason. However he took this matter into court, where the judge sided with him, telling the casino they should fix their wheels.
 Don Johnson Atlantic City casinos have been hit hard by the recession and the influence of online casinos. Several Atlantic casinos have tried to turn the tables by providing higher and higher stakes games to high-rolling casino players. This however turn out to be a bad idea, as in April 2011, one player, Don Johnson of Pennsylvania hit Tropicana Casino for $6 million, the Borgata Casino for $5 million and $4 million from Caesars.

Biggest losers of all time:


Terry Watanabe Being a high roller sometimes pays, but in the case of Terry Watanabe, it didn’t. He lost almost $127 million at Caesars Palace and Rio casinos in Las Vegas in 2007. It is thought to be one of the largest losing streaks by an individual in Las Vegas history. Staff recalls that his play on the $50,000 blackjack table was notoriously bad, involving simultaneously handling 3 hands.
 Kerry Packer The late Kerry Packer, who used to be Australia’s richest man, has lost £13.6 million during a three-day baccarat binge in Las Vegas. That brought his total gambling losses to £27.4 million over the years 1999-2000. He also lost £11 million  at Crockford’s Casino in London, which is thought to be the largest single loss in British gambling history.
 unknown-person Josef Reiner of Vienna lost thousands at the local casino and was too scared to tell his wife about the loss. Instead, he faked an armed robbery on himself. He broke his own nose, jaw and arm with an iron bar. He then admitted that he beat himself.
 unknown-person Roulette is a game where players quickly get panicked into chasing losses and doubling up every bet, trying to get back what was lost. It’s just the quickest way to lose money, and high rollers are no exception. A Greek automobile tycoon, Frank Sarakakis lost £8 million over the course of a year in 1994 at Crockford’s in london. He lost a similar amount in 1988 at the Ritz Casino.
 Robert Maxwell Robert Maxwell, a media tycoon with a flamboyant lifestyle made one of the quickest and biggest casino losses of all time while playing at the Ambassadeurs casino in London. He managed to lose £1.5 million in less than 3 minutes due to playing 3 roulette wells simultaneously which comes to about £8,000 a second!
 Fouad al-Zayat Fouad al-Zayat, a Syrian-born businessman had lost £2.25 million in a single night at the Aspinall’s in London. But that is just a drop in the ocean. Over the course of his gambling adventure at Aspinall’s, he managed to bet an astonishing £91 million, losing 23 million.
 unknown-person Sometimes there’s room for superstition in the gambling world. A Chinese player, known only as Mr C, won a progressive jackpot at Jackpot City online casino of $4,444. He then refused to collect his winnings. The explanation he gave may sound ridiculous for some people. He regarded the combination of numbers as highly unlucky. That’s why numerology and casino gambling don’t go hand in hand.
 Akio Kashiwagi A Japanese property developer known as Akio Kashiwagi was regarded as the world’s biggest gambler in 1992. From all the games he enjoyed baccarat the most. To this day his record for the biggest baccarat loss in history stands - $10 million in one session at the Trump Casino. Tragically, he was found dead outside his home near Mount Fuji on the 3rd of January, 1992.
 Archie Karas Remember Archie Karas? It’s difficult to label him as only a winner or loser. On one hand, he turned $50 into $40 million, but on the other hand he then lost it all. Based on that, he’s both, a winner and a loser.
 Jimmy White Jimmy White, an English professional snooker player spent his 1994 tournament earnings of £128,000 on gambling in 24 hours, after losing the World Snooker Championship Final to Stephen Hendry. It’s good though he learned his lesson and has dedicated himself to snooker once again.
 Omar Siddiqui You would be terribly wrong to assume that all of the high stake gamblers are tycoons. Some people just resort to desperate means to get what they want. This is the case of Omar Siddiqui, who was a modestly paid executive at an electronics company. He set up a huge skimming fraud whereby he could get millions of dollars in kickbacks. He spent all this money gambling, losing at least $65 million. He faced 140 years in jail for his “adventures”, but that didn’t save him from the wrath of the casinos, which are suing him for unpaid gambling debts.




All in all, it pays to be careful when gambling. You should always do it at your own expense and risk, so that you don’t end up like Esther Williams, who once said: “Even though I had a lucrative contract with MGM, I had a husband who was drinking and gambling our money away faster that I could make it”.

And finally, it’s worth thinking about what Archie Karas had to say: “You’ve got to understand something. Money means nothing to me. I don’t value it. I’ve had all the material things I could ever want, everything. The things I want money can’t buy: health, freedom, love, happiness. I don’t care about money, so I have no fear. I don’t care if I lose it.”

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