It is true, history doesn’t have the greatest appreciation for gamblers. Society largely looks at gambling as a social vice that leaves people with no money and no means to leave. It is not fair to always associate gambling with poverty though because there are many smart gamblers around the world that win more than they lose. Now, you have to remember that gambling is still one of the riskiest careers of all time, so you can’t solely rely on it to make a living but it is still very much possible to be a millionaire through gambling. The people in this list are millionaire professional gamblers whose entire wealth may not have been won in casinos but they have still made their name on the big tables.
Bill Benter is one of the most influential people in the US and was even nominated by Barack Obama to become the Defense Secretary. He gained his prominence as a poker player in Vegas, a habit he picked up after graduating with a degree in Physics. He was banned in all casinos in Vegas for counting cards which saw him move to Hong Kong in search of greener pastures in horse racing. He started with an investment of just $150,000 and the help of Alan Woods who had a better understanding of horse racing, Benter created software that places the odds on the probability of horses winning on the track. His idea earns him an estimated $10 million on every race day which is why his net worth is well over $1 billion.
The Tiger Woods of poker hasn’t made money from selling software-generated winning odds. Many call him the GOAT of poker because his live game winnings are well over $15 million since he started playing poker. He started playing poker t 17 using a fake ID in Atlantic city leading to winning his first WSOP bracelet in 2000 which also gave his first six-figure win. He worked with Daniel Negreanu and Berry Greenstein in his early days of poker and the two pros helped the talented 21-year-old horn his skills and learn patience at the tables which turned him into one of the hardest players to beat in world poker. He was entered into the Hall Of Fame in 2017 after winning 10 WSOP bracelets by age 40 earning him a net worth of over $100 million.
Thorp is the author of Beat The Dealer: A Winning Strategy For A Game Of 21 which became the card counting bible for Baccarat and black jack players around the world including Bill Benter. Thorp used his card counting skills to win lots of money in casinos which he used as his seed for investing in the stock exchange market. He is now worth over $800 million making him one of the richest gamblers in the world.
Tony Bloom is the Tiger Woods of football betting which is more than an understatement considering his winnings have made him the owner of Brighton and Hove Albion which is one of the best teams in the English Premier League. His love for sports betting came at a young age when he was just 15 which meant he had to get a fake ID to place bets on some odds. He decided to move from betting on odds to making the odds which birthed one if the biggest ever sporting bet wins in the 2000 world cup final. He went on to create Starlizard, a company that analyzes events and makes odds that are more accurate than bookmakers and then sells them to the highest bidder. He is worth over $1.7 billion making him one of the richest people in the UK.
“I can assure you that every successful gambler I know has been through some monumental failures on his way to getting there,” Billy Walters said when asked about his success in the tough world of sports betting. Walters had some legal problems and went on to serve some time in jail for insider trading but even that can’t beat his reputation as the most successful sports gambler of all time. He has a net worth of over $200 million and was earning over 50 million per month at the peak of his 39-year long career as a sports gambler. He started small and although he had many big wins, he also lost up to $50,000 per day at his lowest. He is now retired but remains a popular face in the gambling world.
Chriss Fergusson is not that famous among poker players anymore since it was discovered that he used players money for personal reasons during his time as one of the owners of Full Tilt. Away from the scandal, Chris Fergusson, popularly known as the Jesus of Texas Hold’em remains one of the greatest poker players in US history. His net worth of over $80 million is the best attribute to his glory days when he won sis WSOP bracelets and became the king of online poker rooms. He started playing poker while studying computer science at UCLA and decided to follow his passion as a poker player and he is still going so you might wanna watch out for him.
Many people know him as the joker; The man who quit university to become a professional gambler. Inducted into the Blackjack Hall of fame in 2011, Zeljko remains one of the only few people that became billionaires from gambling. He started gambling while working part time at a casino in Sydney and soon won so much money in Blackjack that he was banned from all casinos in Australia. He started travelling to Vegas in weekends but was soon banned in most casinos there as well because of card counting forcing him to try his fortune on the horse races. Horse racing has worked perfectly for him over the years. He bets over $1 billion yearly on horse races and sports using a team of analysts and professional bettors to calculate his odds.
Andrew Black is another gambler that decided to try out his chances as the odd maker rather than a gambler. He quit his job to try out his luck on race horses but it didn’t work out for him the first time. He still had an eye for spotting the winning horse and also got great chances in sports betting. He later decided to use his programming skills to try his luck at making odds and with a little help from friends, started the betting exchange company Betfair and is now one of the richest bookmakers in the UK.
This is a different kind of gambler from everyone else in the list. When it comes to gambling, Bilzerian has only ever managed to be #180 in a WSOP competition. He still claimed to have won $10 million playing one night of poker and $50 million in a single year of playing poker. He is still very rich thanks to his company that sells CBD oil and electronic cigarettes among other products. He is still one of the most popular face in casinos around the US and his legal issues are just too many to track. His claimed gambling winnings may not be real though.
This is one of the most famous poker players in the world after appearing in nearly 10 WSOP main event finals. He has two bracelets to his name and over $60 million in net worth making him one of the most successful professional gamblers of the last three decades. He also quit university to pursue his career in gambling and it was a great success until he got involved in the FiullTilt scandal.