5 Most Famous Gamblers

Gambling has likely been around since people developed the cognitive ability to come up with it. However, it wasn’t until gambling houses became popular around the 17th century that it became a viable career option for some. Today, thousands of people are trying to make a living by continuously putting their skill and luck to the test on games of chance or via sports wagering, naturally, with varying degrees of success. Some have attained global notoriety by partaking in these activities thanks to their gambling prowess, while others have reached legendary status by making ridiculous bets or showing glimpses of brilliance. Below, we will talk about five gamblers who have entered the mainstream lexicon, each by different means.

Amarillo Slim

Modern poker fans may not be aware, but this cornpone-spouting Texan was the most famous card game’s first sensation. Born Thomas Austin Preston Jr., in Johnson, Arkansas, Preston moved to Turkey, Texas as an infant before settling in Amarillo with his father following his parents’ divorce. In the 1950s, he adopted a cowboy gimmick and sought action as a rounder, touring the US with Sailor Roberts and Doyle Brunson. Though the public best knows Preston under his moniker Amarillo Slim and his four WSOP bracelets, Slim also had a decent career as a pool shark and a proposition better. While modern poker players have brought more scientific approaches to poker, few can match Slim’s blend of charisma, gift of gab, and card instincts.  Few can say that they’ve played with both the US president (Nixon) and the most famous drug lord of all time, Pablo Escobar.

Edward Thorp

Everyone that has ever had a speck of interest in casino-style gambling has likely heard of the concept of card counting. It is a practice used at blackjack where a player keeps a mental tally of the cards played at his table. That gives him an idea of which ones will likely come up next. Once enough hands get dealt, he can figure out the compositions of the decks in the game, gaining an advantage over his dealer. Mathematics professor Edward Oakley Throp proved this theory in his 1962 book titled – Beat the Dealer. He also applied the techniques discussed in it when working as a hedge fund manager. Throp also pioneered computer use at twenty-one tables on gaming floors, which is now illegal. His academic research and innovation in blackjack are unparalleled, leading him to become the inaugural member in its Hall of Fame. Blackjack is a casino game that can also be found online.

Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer was a media tycoon from Australia that was one of the country’s most wealthy and influential men. He founded the World Series Cricket and the World Rugby Corporation. Packer’s media empire aside, during his life, he frequently made tabloid headlines for his whirlwind gambling wins and losses. Those that knew him referred to him as a larger-than-life personality that would often stake amounts that would freeze the blood in most high-rollers’ veins. In 2000, rumors came flying out of London that Packer reportedly lost over $28 million at blackjack at a casino in the Big Smoke. A year later, news emerged from Vegas that he had raked in more than $33 million at the Bellagio in a single night. Winning and losing sums in the millions was common practice for Packer, who allegedly had an insatiable thirst for betting on pretty much anything.

Chris Moneymaker

The worldwide poker boom began on the heels of Christopher Bryan Moneymaker winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event after qualifying for it online. For those not familiar with poker, yes, Moneymaker is Christopher Bryan’s actual last name. He worked as an accountant before getting a seat at the Binion’s Horseshoe in 2003, where he made his way by participating in a $86 satellite tournament. Internet poker, which at that time was in its infancy, opened the door to him winning the WSOP’s first prize of $2.5 million. Moneymaker did not go on to have a notable poker career, but his shining moment remains industry-defining.

Phil Ivey

Nicknamed the Tiger Woods of Poker, Phillip Ivey is widely considered one of the game’s best all-around players. He entered the Poker Hall of Fame at age forty, and his live tournament earnings now exceed $26 million. However, while his poker talents have never been in question, his intentions to play fair at casinos have. In 2012 he won $12 million at Crockfords Casino in London playing Punto Banco, and two years later, he snagged another $10 million at the Borgata in Atlantic City at baccarat. Yet, he never got these winnings as courts ruled that he utilized edge-sorting, an illegal technique, to gain the upper hand against both venues. 

About the Author

Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.

Generating Passive Income In 2021 – How To Approach It
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