Top 10 the richest gamblers in the world

Top 10 the richest gamblers in the world

5 min read

Have you ever tried to make money on gambling? And have you thought about how many players did it? Today we decided to tell you about the ten richest gamblers in the whole world, how they started and how they eventually became the most famous professional gamblers. Perhaps their stories will inspire you, and someday you will also find yourself on such a list. Let's find out the names of the most successful players of all time.

Bill Benter (Blackjack and Horse Racing)

We can confidently call Bill Benter the absolute leader of this list. It is the most successful and famous gambler in the whole world. He earns about $100 million annually. In total, Bill Benter's net worth is $1 billion.

Bill Benter is proof that gambling luck is not the most important thing. While studying physics at university and having outstanding math skills that were noticeable back in school, he decided to apply his skills in Las Vegas at the blackjack table. He was also supported by the book 'Beat the Dealer' by mathematics professor Edward O. Thorp. Bill Benter's skills and card counting strategy were so good that after seven years of his successful playing, all the casinos in Las Vegas closed their doors to him. But he didn't stop there.

After that, Benter met Alan Woods, also a mathematician and professional gambler, and moved to Hong Kong. Here Bill continued his career, but this time he focused on horse racing. Together with Alan Woods, they created an analytical formula to predict race winners. Then their partnership ended. Later, Bill improved the formula, and on its basis, he developed his software program, which is considered one of the best and most accurate for predicting the outcome of horse races. According to rough estimates, a single race day brings him $5-10 million.

Now, Bill Benter is known not only as the richest gambler in the world but also as a philanthropist. He founded a foundation in 2007 with the main goal of improving Pittsburgh, the city in which he was born. In addition, Benter actively donates to charity and makes contributions to various political campaigns.

Edward O. Thorp (Blackjack, Baccarat and Roulette)

Mentioned above famous mathematician, author of the book 'Beat the Dealer' helped Bill Benter in his career. But Edward Thorp is known not only as the creator of the bestseller but also as one of the most successful players. Its net worth is about $800 million.

Thorp was born in 1932 in Chicago. Having received his Ph.D. in 1958 in mathematics, he started as a professor of mathematics and held this position for a long time at various universities. Around these years, he engaged in a thorough systematic analysis of blackjack and developed his strategy based on card counting, which is detailed in his book. Thorp first tried his techniques in Reno and Las Vegas. His strategy proved to be successful. Thorp got a lot of wins in blackjack and quickly joined the ranks of famous professional gamblers and became well-known, especially among fans of this card game.

But Edward Thorp didn't stop at blackjack. In 1961, together with Claude Shannon, he invented a device to win at roulette. A year later, he started developing a winning strategy, also based on card counting, for baccarat, and in 1963 he went to test it in practice in Las Vegas. The strategy turned out to be working, but the casinos’ owners disliked it. And as a result, it became simply dangerous for him to play where someone could recognize him.

After that, Thorp decided to change the world of casino games to the world of investments. For several years, he suffered setbacks until he decided to apply his knowledge and skills and thoroughly analyze the financial market. He devised a working strategy, started a hedge fund that worked on it, and became a millionaire in 1975. In 2002, the fund was closed. Like Benter, Thorp is known for his donations to charities, including the UCI University, where he worked until 1982.

Tony Bloom (Sports Betting and Poker)

Anthony (Tony) Bloom, one of the richest sports bettors, is worth $1.7 billion. And although some experts suggest that his income is more related to investments and the development of gambling sites, his poker prowess has brought him a lot of profit. Tony Bloom is also a fan of Brighton Football Club, which brought him to the director chair in 2009.

We can say that Tony started his career as a bettor when he was only 15 years old. He was betting on sports using a fake ID. About five years later, he started working as an analyst at a bookmaker's office. Tony also later founded his bookie, Premier Bet, which is one of the first sportsbooks to accept online betting. Bloom is known as the owner of the consulting company Starlizard. Its employees analyze the market, study data, statistics, and odds, and then place bets from the company's bookmaker clients.

But betting isn't the only thing that made Tony Bloom famous. He became passionate about poker, and in 2004, his first big win was when he won the $320,000 grand prize in the Australian Poker Championship. Bloom continued to be one of the top spots on the famous live tournaments. The total amount of his winnings is over $3 million. He was even named one of the Top 15 Poker Players by PokerNews.

Andrew Black (Bridge and Horse Racing)

Andrew is a British entrepreneur, professional bridge player, and gambling millionaire with an estimated net worth of $670 million. His history in the gambling world began during his studies at the prestigious University of Exeter. According to him, at that time, he spent almost all his time not at lectures but at bookmakers. After leaving the university, he tried himself in different professions while continuing to gamble. After some time, he became successful enough to quit his main job and focus entirely on gambling.

Andrew Black's real success came from Betfair, the world's first betting exchange. He founded it with Edward Wray, with whom they played bridge. Black also invests heavily, is an avid horse racing enthusiast, and owns racehorses.

Alan Woods (Blackjack and Horse Racing)

Not the first nor the last rich gambler on our list to successfully apply their math skills. Alan Woods is known as a player and the creator of the formula for determining the outcome of races, which he developed with Bill Benter. In 2008, when Alan died, his net worth was AU $670 million, equivalent to about USD 500 million.

Alan Woods was born in Australia in 1945. Even though he was not interested in gambling in his youth, while studying mathematics at the university, he actively played poker machines, bridge, and bet on horse races. As a result, Woods did not finish their studies for one year. After a certain period, he began his career in blackjack, which lasted three years. Like Benter, he was involved in card counting, which he learned from his friends with whom he played bridge. In his six months in Las Vegas, he won over $100,000. Then he started making millions of dollars on blackjack in various casinos worldwide, and he had to disguise himself since he was banned in all of them.

After finishing with professional blackjack, Woods moved to Hong Kong and, with Bill Benter, focused on horse racing. Together, they were able to create a methodology that determined the racehorse's chances of winning. Their collaboration turned out to be successful, albeit short-lived. Alan Woods has won millions in horse racing bets. Interestingly, he donated many of them to schools and hospitals in the Philippines because he loved this country and wanted to contribute to improving the living conditions of its inhabitants.

Zeljko Ranogajec (Blackjack and Horse Racing)

One of the most successful gamblers in the world, known as 'The Joker.’ His main fame came from victories in blackjack, keno and horse racing, football, NBA, and other sports. Its net worth is estimated at AU $610 million, which is equivalent to about USD 450 million.

Zeljko Ranogajec was born in Australia. He studied banking at university but eventually dropped out to focus on gambling and devote more time. Ranogajec has an excellent photographic memory and mathematical skills that have helped him succeed in blackjack. Due to his big wins, as a result, he was banned from visiting Australian casinos. After a while, the ban began to apply to the United States as well, after Ranogajec moved there and started playing there. For his success, he became one of the members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2011.

Zeljko Ranogajec received one of his record winnings in 1994. He won a $7.5 million jackpot in Keno. After numerous bans in casinos, Ranogajec concentrated on horse racing. He used his strategy to determine which horse was most likely to win the race. This tactic has earned him quite a few profits and has made almost the most successful gambler in the horse racing market on par with Alan Woods.

Billy Walters (Sports Betting)

This is one of the legendary Las Vegas bettors, whose net worth is estimated at $200 million. He made his first bet at the age of 9. Billy Walters had a rather difficult childhood, he worked very hard, sometimes 80 hours a week, but this did not prevent him from becoming interested in betting. At first, Walters lost quite a lot. Success came to him when he was about 30 years old.

Billy Walters is known not only for how much he has won all time but also for his preference to play for high stakes. He once won $3.5 million betting on the New Orleans Saints to win. It has a 30-year winning streak in betting. Because of his reputation, he was banned from betting at most bookmakers, so Walters had to use other people, including celebrities, to place bets in his place.

Phil Ivey (Poker)

Many reviewers and experts call him the best gambler ever in the poker industry. With a net worth of $100 million, Phil Ivey is the most famous poker player in the world. He made the World Poker Tour finals nine times and won WSOP bracelets ten times. In 2017, he became a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.

Phil Ivey first got acquainted with poker when he was eight years old, and his grandfather taught him to play at Seven-card stud. He really got into this card game, and at the age of 16, he started playing in casinos using a fake ID. Phil Ivey made his first big win of $1,000 in 1998. Two years later, he won his first bracelet. Phil, who had lost quite a lot before, this victory gave confidence, and already in 2002, he achieved an incredible and won three bracelets at the World Series of Poker.

Phil Ivey joined the ranks of millionaire gamblers after winning the Monte Carlo Millions tournament, in which he earned $1 million. Interestingly, after just a day, he won $600,000 in another contest. After that, Phil continued to receive his awards and winnings, taking part in various well-known tournaments, including in the online format. He also actively participates in ash games. In 2006, he beat the billionaire Andy Beal and earned more than $16 million in three days.

Chris Ferguson (Poker)

Another professional poker player on our list. Its net worth is $80 million. His achievements include six WSOP bracelets and first place in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Chris Ferguson's recognizable style is based on his wide-brimmed hat and ability to throw cards incredibly fast.

Like Phil Ivey, Ferguson became interested in poker as a child. He started studying and playing it when he was ten years old. During his university studies, Chris actively participated in online poker tournaments. Chris Ferguson received his Ph.D. in computer science, and he uses his knowledge of math and game theory to strengthen his poker skills.

Ferguson's first entry in the WSOP was in 1995, but it wasn't until five years later that Ferguson won his first bracelet, and with it, the $151,000 prize. In 2017, he received the WSOP Player of the Year award. Chris Ferguson made the final of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship three times. Chris Ferguson finished second for two years in a row, but for the third time, in 2008, he was able to become the winner and receive the main prize. This professional gambler salary averages over $30,000 per month.

Doyle Brunson (Poker)

Our latest member of the list is a poker veteran. Doyle Brunson has been a professional poker player for over 50 years. He became the first to earn $1 million in poker tournaments. Its net worth is estimated at $75 million. Doyle Brunson is a true poker legend that has been a Poker Hall of Fame member since 1988. His son Todd Brunson also became a member in 2016.

Unlike other poker players on our top gamblers list, Doyle Brunson hasn't been into this card game since childhood and dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player. But due to a knee injury, his plans were disrupted, he finished his studies at the university and began working as a principal at the school.

Brunson played poker even before his injury, but he started to do it much more often after that. He has played regularly in the World Series of Poker tournaments since their inception. Brunson competed in the main event almost every year. His first victory in this tournament took place in 1976. Brunson received two bracelets that year and two more the following year. He has ten WSOP bracelets in total.

Doyle Brunson became famous not only for his achievements in tournaments but also for the book Super/System. It is one of the best known and best poker guides. In 2004, he published an updated version of his bestselling book, featuring new chapters by several other poker players.

The bottom line

Of course, each of the listed gamblers has its story. Someone from childhood dreamed of becoming famous in the gambling world, but for someone, it was just a scientific interest and an experiment that turned into a million-dollar profit. These players have shown that luck is not everything. 

They have proven that knowledge, skills, strategy, and perseverance are incredibly important, although some of them lost a lot before realizing their plans. These players have become an example of the fact that it is possible to earn money on gambling and betting. But if you want to follow their example or create your story, never forget about the risks that gambling comes with.

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