The Most Famous High Rollers Ever

High-rollers live and breathe the luxury casino life, often portraying the most flamboyant personalities that we’re so used to seeing in casino-inspired films. There’s just something mysterious and intriguing about high-rollers – or “whales”, as they’re often called. These people are accustomed to casinos providing them with a lavish welcome. Most high-rollers are professional and highly-skilled casino players and many are simply looking to have a fun time whether it's at the poker table or playing a wide range of slots.

Let’s look at some of the most famous high-rollers ever.

1. Kerry Packer

Billionaire Kerry Packer was a Las Vegas fixture who would easily gamble millions on every visit to the US desert city. He was considered a fearless “high-roller”, and most likely coined the term itself. Packer was well known for raising the bets within seconds and scaring off the wealthiest and most powerful men. He never gambled with any limits! The Australian billionaire entered the gambling world with full force, betting only high stakes in casinos, which led to his nickname – Prince of Whales. Most of Packer’s good-luck streaks occurred while betting on sports events. There’s a myth that goes that Packer, who died in 2005, was once asked to leave a British casino… because he was winning too much. To be told that he was “too good and too rich for the casino to manage” must have excited him no end!

2. Phil Ivey

The American, Phil Ivey undoubtedly has to be mentioned on the most famous whales list. He made a name for himself at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tour but had been active in the gambling world way before his poker fame. Ivey, who was born in 1977 in Riverside, California, is definitely the talk of the town in the poker tournament industry, having won a seriously impressive 10 WSOP bracelets to date (and it took him only 14 years from his first to his 10th). He’s often called the “Tiger Woods of Poker”!

3. Amarillo Slim

With such a unique nickname, Amarillo Slim certainly made headlines in his day. Born in 1928, he started out as a poker player from Texas. He eventually branched out to various other casino games, which eventually earned him international fame in the casino industry. Aside from casino games, he was also well known for winning big on clever and creative “prop” bets. Slim was also among the group of poker players who are renowned for introducing Texas Hold’em to Las Vegas during the 1960s; this poker variant is considered to be the most popular one these days. He’s also credited for founding the tournament series called Amarillo Slim’s Super Bowl of Poker – an annual tourney held between 1979 and 1991. In 1992, Slim was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Slim passed away in 2012, but his memory lives on in the hearts and minds of poker fans the world over!

4. Edward O Thorp

Edward O Thorp is a highly intelligent man – a maths professor, author, and hedge fund manager, among other things. In the casino world, he is most notably known for his blackjack research, which involves card counting. When his blackjack strategy book, Beat The Dealer, came out, casinos faced losses they’d never encountered before. Thorp, who was born in Chicago in 1932, put his tactics to the test and was able to yield £2,171 profit at the table. His profound card-playing strategies have made a lasting impact in the casino industry. Back when Thorp was preparing to test them out at Las Vegas casinos, word got out and he was turned away by several security agents. He had to resort to donning disguises to keep gaining admittance. Thorp also tested his strategies at the baccarat table and enjoyed a respectable number of wins and successes. Way to go!

5. Mo Chan

Mo Chan, a Chinese native, is considered an elusive character in the casino world and high-roller scene. He is most widely known for his grand win of around £7,236,750 in Australia. In fact, he rinsed out the casino and they were forced to limit his wagers. Chan was cleaning out the baccarat table, where he would wager as much as £361,838 per hand. Apparently, he fell out with the casino after it limited his wagers, and vowed to never return. And – true to his word – Chan appears to have simply disappeared from the casino world. Whatever next?

Play responsibly at online casinos

Although these high rollers are known to spend huge sums of money, it is important to remember to always play within your bankroll. Online casinos offer a vast array of table games and slots and it's always fun and rewarding when you play casino games responsibly. Remember to always manage your online casino account: set your limits, make use of the casino’s resources, and be vigilant of the minimum and maximum bet limits on all the games.

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Sofie Holmess / 26 April 2021