For the average person, gambling is too risky and it’s challenging to make money consistently. In fact, in the U.S. people lost over $1 billion gambling in 2022. However, some are well aware of the dangers but know how to navigate through them. They ended up becoming the richest gamblers in the world.
Top 10 Wealthiest Gamblers in 2023:
1. Bill Benter – $1 Billion
According to Wikipedia, Bill Benter is considered the most successful gambler ever. Benter became a billionaire through playing blackjack and betting on horse racing, a feat not many punters have accomplished before!
He couldn’t have done it without his vast knowledge of mathematics as Bill studied physics and decided to use his ability at blackjack tables. Eventually, Bill was banned from Las Vegas casinos due to his success.
Benter later moved to Hong Kong and developed a computer software program to predict horse racing results with fellow mathematician, Alan Woods. This was how he earned his billion dollar fortune.
2. Edward Thorp – $800 Million
Regarded as the “The Father of Card Counting”, Edward Thorp built his wealth playing blackjack and baccarat. He’s also a mathematician known for co-inventing the first wearable computer with Claude Shannon in 1961.
Before his gambling success, he worked as a math professor at various universities. In 1962, the math genius published his world-famous book, Beat the Dealer.
After years of dominating casinos, he worked on Wall Street and used his skills to predict stock market movements. With this, he added stocks to his income sources, amounting to a net worth of $800 million.
3. Zeljko Ranogajec – $439 Million
Zeljko Ranogajec is known in the gambling world as “The Joker.” He is notorious for making huge profits from different games, including sports betting, horse racing, blackjack, and keno.
He mastered banking, finance, and tax legislation as a skilled mathematician. While working at a casino, Ranogajec learned how to count cards. Ranogajec mastered it so well that he got banned from every casino in Australia and Las Vegas. He holds the record for the biggest win in keno, with $7.5 million. Now, his wealth stands at $449 million.
4. Billy Walters – $200 Million
Sports betting may be one of the most unpredictable games to play, but it’s what made Billy Walters a millionaire. Walters is considered a high roller, betting as big as $3.5 million on games.
Billy is a legend in the Las Vegas sports betting scene with his winning streak of more than 30 years. Before this, he worked as a car salesman. In the late 1980s, he joined the Computer Group, which used computer analysis to analyze sporting events. Although Walters is currently retired, his wealth is estimated to be over $200 million.
5. Dan Bilzerian – $200 Million
Dan Bilzerian may be one of the most controversial poker players today, but he is undoubtedly one of the richest. He also earns money investing in businesses and social media.
Apart from gambling and entrepreneurship, Bilzerian has a massive trust fund. It’s all thanks to his father, who worked as a Wall Street business raider.
In 2008, he joined the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, but never made it to the finals. Dan may not be the best poker player, but he is arguably the richest, with a fortune of $200 million.
6. Phil Ivey – $100 Million
When talking about the best poker players in the world, Phil Ivey is always in the discussion. He has clinched one World Poker Tour title and ten WSOP bracelets.
As a teenager, he was nicknamed “No Home Jerome” because used fake IDs to play poker. When he turned pro, he was given more names, including “The Tiger Wood of Poker” and “The Phenom.”
Ivey became one of the youngest members of the Poker Hall of Fame. As of November 2023, his live tournament winnings stand at $40.6 million, and it’s a big factor in his $100 million fortune.
7. Sam Farha – $100 Million
Ihsan “Sam” Farha is a professional poker player infamous for playing high-stakes Omaha cash games and has three WSOP bracelets to his name. The poker veteran is most remembered for his 2003 match against Chris Moneymaker, who delivered what fans called the “bluff of the century.”
Farha lost, but his career didn’t end there. He continued to make steady profits at games. He also published a few books to share his poker knowledge. Currently, Sam Farha has a net worth of $100 million.
8. Chris Ferguson – $80 Million
Although he has won six WSOP events, Christopher Ferguson doesn’t have a strong record in poker. That’s because he was involved in the notorious Full Tilt Poker $400 million scheme. Chris began playing poker at 10 years old and continued to improve his abilities in college as he studied computer science. There, Ferguson played IRC poker.
Ferguson became a renowned player, but ruined his reputation with his malicious acts. His case has been dismissed, and he agreed to pay back a portion of the money he swindled. Chris was left with a fortune of $80 million.
9. Doyle Brunson – $75 Million
Doyle Brunson is an idol of many poker players today. During his 50-year career, he won ten WSOP bracelets. Brunson was the first player to win both the World Poker Tour and the WSOP Main Event.
He was among the first competitors to enter the WSOP and the first to win a million dollars at an event. This is why he is one of the most iconic people to enter the Poker Hall of Fame.
Furthermore, Brunson is the author of the iconic poker strategy book Super System. This has aided him in becoming one of the richest gamblers, with a net worth of $75 million. Sadly, Brunson passed away in May 2023.
10. Howard Lederer – $60 Million
Last on the list is another poker millionaire, Howard Lederer. He plays professionally and has picked up two WSOP bracelets and two World Poker Tour championships.
Lederer began playing chess as a youth and eventually dropped out of university to pursue a full-time career in poker. He also co-founded Tiltware, Inc., the firm behind Full Tilt Poker.
In addition, Lederer appeared on Poker After Dark a dozen times and worked as a commentator for various tournaments. Currently, Howard has a net worth of $60 million.