The gambling world has its own celebrities that players across the world aspire to. They have endured great success from their time at the tables, rhetoric not usually found from mainstream media outlets.
But some of the most famous US gamblers of all time have experienced how rough it can also be, showing that if the cards fall the wrong way, anyone can lose, no matter how much success they have had in the past.
Here’s a look at the top 7 most famous US gamblers in history.
Amarillo Slim is the best gambler ever. No one else comes close. Slim was a professional poker player from Texas and became the most famous gambler in the world.
But while he always stayed in touch with poker, it was away from the felt that he really made a name for himself.
Slim famously said he could beat a racehorse in a 100-yard dash. Naturally, people thought he was crazy and that there was no way he could win.
But Slim knew better. Rather than a traditional 100-yard straight line, the race ran 50 yards in one direction and the remaining 50 yards in the other.
As a result, Slim caught everyone off-guard and claimed victory.
Slim made plenty of money with this type of thinking and it’s unlikely we will see anything like it again in our lifetime.
One of the biggest pulls of gambling is the classic ‘“rags to riches” story. No one more than Greek-American Archie Karas fulfils this narrative.
In fact, this is one of the craziest gambling stories ever.
Originally born in Greece, Karas arrived in Las Vegas in 1992 with no more than $50 in his wallet. Within two years, Karas won more than $40 million.
Such a story is unheard of. No one could have ever imagined the success of this very famous gambler.
However, as with a lot of players, Karas got caught up in his glory and lost his fortune just as quickly as he had earned it.
Doyle Brunson is one of the most famous US poker players of all time. Few players, if anyone in the world, have been at the top for such a long period of time compared to this legend of the game.
Brunson was born in 1933 and still plays poker regularly to this day. His accomplishments in poker include winning 10 WSOP bracelets – one of which came from winning the coveted WSOP Main Event.
Brunson made history in poker when he became the first player to win more than $1 million in tournament earnings. He has gone on to become an inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame and Bluff Magazine voted him as the most influential person in poker in 2006.
In the words of Lucian Marinescu, partner at OnlineCasinoGems:
“Sports betting is a skill that most people don’t have. It takes a lot of time to understand betting lines and how the stats from previous games can be used to give them an edge over the bookies.”
Billy Walters is the ultimate sports bettor, mastering many of these skills more than anyone else – ever!
Walters first started betting on sports when he was just nine years old, using the money he earned from a paper round to bet on baseball, specifically the 1955 World Series. As he grew older and more successful, he would be making bets worth millions of dollars every week.
Walters’ bets had so much influence that every time he made a bet, there was a shift in the betting lines.
However, part of his strategy included using maths experts and industry insiders. The latter eventually landed him a five-year prison sentence.
Nevertheless, Walters remains one of the most famous US gamblers of all time.
If you have played poker or watched any clips of the biggest games, you will have heard of Phil Ivey. He is known as the best player in the world but has also made a fortune from baccarat (though this has resulted in some legal disputes).
Ivey is a machine at the poker table. He was won tens of millions of dollars playing poker thanks to his unworldly ability to somehow always have an edge over his opponents.
You can see Ivey on pretty much every high stakes game on YouTube, playing some of the most famous hands in history.
The name Tom Dwan sends shivers down the spines of poker players from early 2000s. He became the number one heads up player in the world and won millions of dollars from playing the biggest stakes against the biggest names.
When he first came on the scene, Dwan became famous for his very aggressive play style that no one had ever seen before. He would make insane bluffs that have been watched by millions of people online over and over.
But in recent times, Dwan has been a bit of a mystery. He had his moment in the spotlight but has decided to keep a low profile.
The appropriately named Chris Moneymaker is not famous for being this insane gambler, but for what he has done for the game of poker.
When the WSOP Main Event first started, it was thought that only the pros could win and there was no point in anyone else trying. After all, how can you beat players that spend their lives to it?
Chris Moneymaker was the exception to the rule. He famously won the Main Event in 2003, having qualified to it from an online satellite and is said to have changed the course of poker history.
Moneymaker’s win inspired the poker boom in the early 2000s, known as the “Moneymaker Effect”, encouraging players to live the dream and make money from playing poker at home from their computer.
Moneymaker still plays to this day and is an ambassador of poker company giant PokerStars.