Ah yes, the world´s best and professional gamblers. Think of all the money spent, day in and day at, at all the casinos across the world. Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent in the last year alone. How are there so few gambling success stories? What is it about these sacred few – that have not only struck it rich but have consistently walked away from the table up? Winning often enough to make more than a career out of it, but an entire lifestyle. Well, here we divulge the secrets and artistry of the world’s most famous (and stinking rich) gamblers.
Writer. Programmer. Hedge fund manager. Professor. One of the best and most recognized world´s best gamblers. Silver Fox… there are many things that describe “Beat the Dealer” author, Edward Thorp. But frankly, the man is probably best known for his mathematics that quickly calculate the probability of a blackjack hand, and essentially made card counting plausible for those that aren’t in the running for smartest man alive. But Thorp isn’t just a talented and famous gambler, the man also began programming computers in the 1960s and holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from UCLA. Using his varied skills to their absolute limits, the man has created a net worth of over $800 million. He has also created the gambling success stories legends are made of.
Bill Benter is another top player, a math-genius-come-lucrative-gambler. Benter holds a degree in physics, which helped him and co-creator Alan Woods develop the world’s first software-assisted gambling techniques. But long before Bill became fascinated with the speeds of racing, he was using Throp’s method to get himself banned out of nearly every casino on the Vegas strip, after hustling them out of billions. Since the man has left both the software business he built with Woods, and the bright lights of Vegas, he now resides in Pittsburgh with his wife and child. Focusing on charitable and political endeavors with an occasional lecturing spot at various universities. Benter generates an estimated $100 million… annually.
Born in 1883, Rethymno, Greece, Nick Dandolos one of the best gamblers in the world, often known best by his nascent nickname- Nick the Greek. A moniker worthy of the era that Dandolos held the world spellbound. During the 1940s and 50s, Nick the Greek was a household name in gambling. The only catch was he wasn’t necessarily famous for winning- but instead famous for winning and losing. Nick was a playboy, given a handsome living allowance from his family’s estate. In one of Dandolos many adventures-turned-legend, he was locked into a five-month-long poker match with legend Johnny Moss. By the time Dandolos had lost an estimated $4 million, he quipped “Mr. Moss, I have to let you go.” Which has become one of the most recognizable lines of the game. Nick the Greek has become not much different from the God’s of Mount Olympus- where many of the tales are hard to separate truth from fiction. But in at least Nick’s case, it’s not necessary to separate the legend from the man- because the man was the legend. Dying nearly penniless, Dandolos may not be one of the gambling success stories, but the man spins a good tale anyway.
Yes. That is his real name. Pretty fitting for a world-renowned poker champion really. Hailing from the German Nurmacher, Chris’s ancestors reportedly made silver and gold coins, changing their name from the traditional German spelling upon immigrating well before Chris was introduced to poker. But last names notwithstanding, in 2003, Moneymaker won himself a seat in the main at the increasingly popular World Series of Poker. What really turned heads was that Moneymaker was able to secure himself not just a seat, but the first prize in the WSOP tournament with just an $86 satellite tournament. Becoming one of the true rags to riches gambling success stories. Following his epic $2.5 million win, Moneymaker gave up his CPA job and began working as a spokesperson for Harrah’s and PokerStars, eventually generating his own company and writing a book. Chris is worth an estimated $16 million.
Less of a mathematician and much more a shrewd businessman, Don Johnson (no, not that one) made his millions through the art of negotiation and high rolling. In just six months, this absolute beast of a corporate executive was able to take three of the major Atlantic City casinos for a whopping $15 million. Following the financial collapse of 2008, casinos in Atlantic City were hurting- and began headhunting for high rollers to come to revive their tables. Johnson brought with him some unexpected business savvy and negotiated a deal which would give him a competitive edge over the house. Some of the most jaw-dropping of these alterations included dealers staying on soft 17s, the casino’s refunding 20% of any losses that exceeded $500k, and using six decks- among a few others. With these new rules in place, Johnson was able to beat big names in gambling, like Tropicana and Caesars, out of a combined $10 million. It also got him banned entirely from playing in the latter.