If you’re curious about what it looks like to be a professional bettor, this article will give you a list of the richest gamblers of 2022. They’ve made a living off betting on blackjack, horse racing, poker, craps, baccarat, and more.
Keep in mind that not all of those wealthy people are great winners — some of them have lost more than they’ve won. So, if you’re ready to find out more, read on.
The Top 11 Richest Gamblers for 2022
- Bill Benter
- Edward Thorp
- Billy Walters
- Phil Ivey
- Chris Ferguson
- Doyle Brunson
- Howard Lederer
- Daniel Negreanu
- Jonathan Duhamel
- Patrik Antonius
- Mikki Mase
- Archie Karas (honorable mention)
The Biggest Gamblers in the World
Now that you know the wealthiest names in the industry, it’s time to discuss what makes each of these individuals unique. Let’s start.
1. Bill Benter (Horse Racing and Blackjack)
Bill Benter net worth: $1 billion
The Pennsylvania-born William Benter, or Bill Benter, began his career as a professional gambler in Vegas.
Benter’s degree in Physics and his knowledge in Mathematics helped his career early — in fact, the richest gambler in the world was so good at blackjack that he was banned from the majority of Las Vegas casinos after seven years of winning.
After meeting Alan Woods and moving to Hong Kong, Benter focused on the horse racing market.
The duo eventually parted ways, and Benter later perfected the formula for predicting horse race outcomes, which also helped him create software for horse race betting.
So, it’s safe to say that he is one of the most successful gamblers. Currently, he is believed to earn $100 million per year, with single-day races bringing in up to $10 million.
2. Edward Thorp (Baccarat, Blackjack)
Edward Thorp net worth: $800 million
Thorp is an author, a mathematics professor, and a professional blackjack player. He is also famous for inventing the first wearable computer in 1961, together with Claude Shannon.
After years of success in casino games, Thorp became one of the richest professional gamblers of all time. He arrived at Wall Street, where he used his mathematical skills to predict market anomalies.
In fact, in his book titled Beat the Market (1967), Thorp explained his methods of earning money on stocks.
Overall, Thorp is a genius thinker and a renowned member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
3. Billy Walters (Sports Betting)
Billy Walters net worth: $250 million
Sports betting can be incredibly profitable, and Billy Walters is one of the many professionals who are a living example of this. It’s also the reason why more than half of all US citizens have placed a bet on some sport at least once.
With the money earned from his newspaper path, Walters began making his initial bets when he was only nine years old. Since the beginning of his career, this gambler accumulated a mind-blowing net worth of around $250 million.
In his adulthood, Walters became one of the richest gamblers in the world. He founded an LA-based sports betting company, from which he made millions. However, due to insider trading charges, he had to serve five years in prison.
After being released in 2020, he was pardoned by former President Donald Trump.
Billy Walters’ sports betting was something spectacular. Namely, before going to jail, it made him an estimated $15 million.
4. Phil Ivey (Poker)
Phil Ivey net worth: $100 million
This California-born professional poker player made our list of the wealthiest gamblers, and here’s why.
Phil Ivey’s total winnings include over $26,250,000 million in live tournaments and several million USD from online games. He is also known as a World Poker Tour champion and a ten-time World Series of Poker champion.
Moreover, this gambler got a spot in the top 25 in the WSOP Main Event and won bracelets in the 2002 edition of the World Series of Poker.
Additionally, in 2009, Ivey won his sixth bracelet by defeating 147 players in the No-Limit Draw Lowball Event, and he eventually won the Commerce Casino LA Poker Classic for $1,596,100.
5. Chris Ferguson (Poker)
Chris Ferguson net worth: $80 million
Like other gamblers on this list, Ferguson also started playing poker in childhood. During the mid-90s, Chris Ferguson began entering different poker tournaments, and in 1995, he competed in his first World Series.
Ferguson is one of the richest gamblers in the US and owns six WSOP bracelets. His best performance was in 2000 when he became the main event champion.
Ferguson stands out from the crowd because he is the sole poker player to have won three WSOP circuits and six bracelets.
This gambler has numerous extraordinary abilities, including throwing cards so fast that they slice through veggies and fruits.
6. Doyle Brunson (Poker)
Doyle Brunson net worth: $75 million
Brunson is a Texas-born professional poker player with over 50 years of experience. He has played in the WSOP almost every year since its existence. Besides being the winner of two WSOP championships and ten WSOP bracelets, Brunson is also an author.
His book, Super/System, was published in 1979 and is still a famous and somewhat relevant expert guide to the world of poker.
In the mid-2000s, this successful gambler revised the book and titled it Super/System 2. The newer version includes contributions from Chip Reese, Bobby Baldwin, and David Sklansky.
Brunson was honored with two Texas Hold’em hands named after him: an ace and queen of any suit and a ten and two of any suit.
7. Howard Lederer (Poker)
Howard Lederer net worth: $60 million
Lederer is a pro poker player and winner of two World Poker Tours and two WSOP bracelets.
Besides being a professional gambler, Lederer also co-founded Tiltware, Inc. (together with Ray Bitar and Chris Ferguson), the company that created the online gambling platform “Full Tilt Poker.”
In total, this gambler millionaire reached the final table of the WSOP eight times before winning his first and second bracelets in 2000 and 2001. At the World Series of Poker, this professional has earned 44 money finishes.
Lederer also made over a dozen appearances on “Poker After Dark” and provided video commentary for other tournaments.
8. Daniel Negreanu (Poker)
Daniel Negreanu net worth: $60 million
Negreanu is one of the most recognizable poker stars on the scene today. Known for his affable persona and incredible poker skills, he is one of the most popular players in the world.
Unlike the Gen Z poker stars who learned to play during the online poker boom, “Kid Poker” grew up on the Toronto poker circuit playing every game he could get.
He rose to be one of the world’s richest gamblers today by making it to 148 money finishes in his World Series of Poker tournament career and winning two World Poker Tour championships and six WSOP bracelets.
Negreanu was the winner of the Shark Cage event for the prize money of $1 million and has made over $42m in live tournament winnings. He was named the WSOP Player of the Year in 2004 and 2013.
9. Jonathan Duhamel (Poker)
Jonathan Duhamel net worth: $32 million
Duhamel is a Canadian pro poker player most famous for winning the Main Event at the 2010 edition of the World Series of Poker. Namely, Duhamel won by defeating John Racener, winning $8,944,310, and becoming the first player from Canada to win the bracelet.
In January 2011, Duhamel, who is considered by some to be the most successful gambler ever, was the champion of the High Roller Event at the European Poker Tour Deauville. At the same year’s WSOP, he cashed twice for more than $40,000.
And his success does not end here. The following year, Duhamel reached four final tables at the PokerStars Caribbean Poker Adventure.
As of 2021, this gambler’s live tournament winnings totaled more than $18 million.
10. Patrik Antonius (Poker)
Patrik Antonius net worth: $25 million
Antonius has won many chips and followers over the years, and a lot of it is thanks to his cool gaze. At the table, he is often referred to as the “cold-blooded killer.”
In 2005, this professional entered the Five Diamond WPN NL Hold ’em Tournament and won $1,046,470. After years of success, he came second in 2018’s Super High Roller Bowl China NL Hold ’em Tournament, winning a prize of $3,152,434.
More recently, Antonius earned $49,461 at the 2022 EPT Barcelona €25,000 NL Hold ’em tournament and $585,900 at the 2022 Triton Series Madrid €100,000 NL Hold ’em.
Although he has yet to earn a WSOP bracelet, his total net worth places him in our top ten list.
11. Mikael “Mikki” Mase
Mikki Mase net worth: at least $8,45m
Mase, also known as Mikki Gambler, is an Instagram sensation and high-stakes gambler who regularly posts his casino experiences on social media.
Mase is an advantage player and claims he can defeat the house edge in baccarat with his system. But is Mikki a professional gambler or an Instagram influencer just posing as the real deal?
He posted on Instagram a picture of his $3.1 million winnings from MGM Grand Las Vegas casino. There is also a video of Mikki counting the $1.7 million he won from the Palazzo.
Mikki Gambler’s net worth allegedly came from baccarat and craps, but with all the mystery surrounding the man, we don’t really know.
One thing is certain – Mikki has shared the table with poker legends like Antonio Esfandiari and Garrett Adelstein and held his own, which makes him a true gambler.
Based on the wins he presented over his Instagram account, he has made at least $8,450,000 to date.
Honorable Mention: Archie Karas (Poker and Pool)
Archie Karas net worth: reached $40 million but lost everything
After all these tales of success, here’s a story worthy of a Hollywood-film plot twist.
Archie Karas, also popularly known as “the Greek” of Sin City, used to be the biggest gambler in the world of professional poker — and the biggest loser.
Between 1992 and 1995, he amassed a fortune with a net worth of more than $40 million. In fact, this three-year winning streak became famous as “The Run” and is now regarded as the largest and the most prolonged hot streak in the history of gambling.
Karas struggled to find new rivals after “The Run,” so as a result, he began to play other games. This was when everything went downhill for one of the world’s richest gamblers at the time.
Karas’s fall started with a loss of $11 million on craps, followed by a staggering $17 million loss on a single game of baccarat. Karas lost $30 million in a very short time and never really recovered from that.
Remember, being a gambler entails a great deal of risk. Some people have managed to pull it off, while others lost it all.
Also, it’s important to mention that this list of the richest gamblers is relative. Namely, the net worth of some gamblers is not precisely known and can only be estimated.
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Who is the biggest gambler in the world?
At the moment, William “Bill” Benter is the biggest professional gambler, or at least the richest one, with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
This philanthropist and pro gambler is most famous for participating in the betting market for horse racing. In this market, Benter earns an estimated $100 million per year.
Has anyone gotten rich from gambling?
Although the stakes are usually very low, it is possible to get rich by gambling. After all, our list of the wealthiest professional gamblers proves the point.
Also, considering that the gross income of casinos in Las Vegas was about $22 billion in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic, it’s safe to say that the gambling industry in Sin City is gigantic.
Can gambling make you rich?
Yes, gambling can make you rich. However, you can lose it all as well.
For instance, Archie Karas won quite a lot — and lost it all in a matter of weeks. Moreover, he’s just one of many gamblers who didn’t know when to stop — or simply did not care about losing.
How much money do professional gamblers make?
Some professional gamblers can earn six or seven figures per year. Nevertheless, most professionals nowadays generate between $40,000 and $100,000 annually.
These figures might not seem that high when compared to how much some NFL players earn per year, but they are still quite impressive considering the risks.
Who is the most successful gambler of all time?
It is widely believed that Amarillo Slim was the best gambler of all time, not just because of his poker skills but also his creative prop bets.
Thomas Austin Preston Jr., or Amarillo Slim, won the WSOP Main Event in 1972 for $80,000. He was also among the players who invented Texas Hold’em.
In 1979, he founded Amarillo Slim’s Super Bowl of Poker, the tournament series. Finally, in 1992, Slim became a vital part of the Poker Hall of Fame.
When talking about Amarillo Slim, his net worth was an estimated $1–5 million before his death. Certainly not close to being one of the richest gamblers around, but bear in mind the pros made a lot less money back in his day.