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The Most Famous Gamblers In History

The Most Famous Gamblers In History

Many online slot gamblers and general gamblers have become famous over time due to various reasons. They’ve managed to grow an audience and a following and gamblers across the world have their eyes on them. Some of the names in this article have been winners, while others have been big losers. Some guys have cheated, hustled their way up and others are professionals.   

Each of these individuals has their own story and the next one is just as fascinating as the last. Many of them have movies about them and books as well. Both of these make a gambler’s life seem glamorous while others highlight the low points during a gambler’s career. The following guys have inspired gamblers all over the world in one way or the other- some have started their careers as a result of their inspiration while others have been studying their techniques for years. 

- John Montagu 

John Montagu was a British statesman and the 4th Earl of Sandwich who lived in the 1800s. Montagu had positions in the military and was a political figure as well. One of his favourite pastimes was gambling. He isn’t on this list because of his gambling exploits, but his invention of the sandwich. However, the two are connected. 

Legend has it that during some of his lengthy sessions of gambling, Montagu would snack often and asked for slices of meat inserted between two pieces of bread. His mates noticed that he would do this often and began placing their own orders as “same as Sandwich”. Ultimately the snack became ‘the sandwich’ and the name stuck since. 

- Brian Molony 

As we said earlier, some gamblers become known for the wrong reasons. This one is one of them. Molony was a compulsive gambler who made the headlines frequently due to his poor gambling habits. He misappropriated company funds of over $10 million to fund his frequent casinos trips to Atlantic City. His theft was exposed in April 1982 and he was placed under arrest. Molony had lost close to $1 million at Caesars just a day before the arrest. 

He was sentenced to two and a half years’ prison time. The book titled Stung, was written about him and his gambling exploits. A movie, ‘Owning Mahowny’ was also developed about his story. 

-Wild Bill Hickok 

James Butler Hickok aka Wild Bill, was a gunfighter, a lawman and a gambler. Wild Bill was the most famous gambler from the American Old West era. His go-to game was poker and he was so good at it that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  

In 1876, Hickok was at one of his favourite saloon bars playing poker with his back facing the door. Jack McCall fired a gun at Hickock and killed him instantly. It’s not known for sure why he shot him in the head, but some say it’s because he’d lost a lot of money to him.  

At the time of his death Hickok was holding a two pair – eights and aces. Today this hand is referred to as the dead man’s hand by poker players everywhere. 

- Kerry Packer 

Kerry Packer was an Australian based media mogul who loved to gamble. He was a successful businessman credited for establishing the World Series Cricket, but is mostly remembered for his gambling. Packer died in 2005 at the age of 68.  

Packer was a horse racing gambler- placing the largest bets on top of his gambling in Vegas and all over the world. He would always gamble the highest possible stake and would incur millions of dollars in losses. He would win every now and then too.  

-Archie Karas 

Archie Karas is one of the most famous gamblers of all time and considered as the greatest one too. Archie has won and lost a huge amount of money severally. Of course, this seems like a paradox- a great gambler losing fortunes, but let me explain. Karas is a Greek-American who ran away from home when he was 15. After going to America he started working odd jobs like being a waiter, restaurant jobs, etc. While working at the restaurant he began building his skills through winning money games. His opponents became fewer and fewer and he started playing poker. Archie built his bankroll to more than $2 million over time. By December 1992 all he had was $50.  

He headed to Las Vegas looking for a change in fortunes and that’s when his amazing run started. Karas is most known for the incredible winning streak he had in the early 90s- 1992 and 1995 where he used 50USD to get over 40 million USD. This is largest and the longest winning streak that’s ever been documented. Unfortunately, Karas lost all the money throughout 1995 while playing baccarat, poker and dice. 

Karas has had a few notable wins and losing streaks since then. Nothing too impressive though. He still lives in Vegas today.  

-Nick Dandolos 

Nick Dandolos was born in Greece. That explains why he’s called Nick the Greek aka the King of Gamblers. Dandolos was born in 1883 into a wealthy family. He came to the USA and settled in Chicago, where he lived off a hefty allowance from his parents. 

He moved to Montreal and began horse racing bets. He was successful at it and won quite a significant sum, but later went back to Chicago and lost all his money through playing dice and card games. He quickly got a hold of the gameplay and won more money. Nick said that he continuously won and lost and gone from rags to riches several times. 

Every gambling enthusiast has heard of these individuals at some point or another. If you are passionate about betting, then you may consider diving deeper into their histories and seeing what you can learn.