If you’re curious about what it looks like to be a professional gambler, this article will give you a list of the richest gamblers of 2021. 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 10 Richest Gamblers for 2021
- Bill Benter
- Edward Thorp
- Billy Walters
- Phil Ivey
- Chris Ferguson
- Doyle Brunson
- Howard Lederer
- Jonathan Duhamel
- Patrik Antonius
- Haralabos Voulgaris
- 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 (annually): $100 million, or $1 billion in total
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, this richest gambler in the world was so good at blackjack that he was banned from the majority of Las Vegas casinos after just 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 races’ 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, mathematics professor, and 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 wealthiest professional gamblers. 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: $200 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 why more than half of all US citizens have placed a bet on some sport at least once.
Walters began making his initial bets with the money earned from his newspaper path when he was only nine years old. Since the beginning of his career, this gambler accumulated a mind-blowing net worth of $200 million.
In his adulthood, Walters became one of the wealthiest 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.
When talking about Phil Ivey, his total winnings include over $19 million in live tournaments. He is also known as a World Poker Tour champion and an eight-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.
Not only that, but in 2009, Ivey won his sixth bracelet by defeating 147 players in the No-Limit Draw Lowball Event. He eventually went on to win 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, one of the richest gamblers in the US, owns 63 money finishes and five WSOP bracelets. His best performance was in 2000 when he became a champion of the main event.
What makes Ferguson stand out from the crowd is the fact that he is the sole poker player to have won three WSOP circuits, as well as five 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 1978, and it is a famous expert guide to the world of poker.
In the mid-2000s, this successful gambler revised his book and titled it Super/System 2. The newer version includes contributions from Chip Reese, Bobby Baldwin, and David Sklansky.
It’s also important to note that Brunson is honored with two Texas Hold’em hands: 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 the winner of two World Poker Tours and two WSOP bracelets.
Besides being a professional gambler, Lederer also co-founded Tiltware, Inc. (alongside Ray Bitar and Chris Ferguson), which is a company that created the online gambling platform called “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, respectively. At the World Series of Poker, this professional has earned 44 money finishes.
Not only that, but Lederer made over a dozen appearances on “Poker After Dark” and provided video commentary for other tournaments.
8. Jonathan Duhamel
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, was the champion of the High Roller Event at the European Poker Tour Deauville. At the 2011 WSOP, he cashed twice for more than $40,000 in earnings later that same year.
And his success does not end here. The following year, at the PokerStars Caribbean Poker Adventure, Duhamel reached four final tables.
Since 2013, this gambler’s live tournament winnings totaled more than $12 million.
9. Patrik Antonius
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 hit the jackpot in 2018 at the Super High Roller Bowl China NL Hold ’em Tournament by winning a prize of $3,151,734.
More recently, Antonius, one of the top gamblers, won $21,512 at the 2019 EPT Barcelona €10,000 NL Hold ’em, and $11,133 at the 2019 EPT Barcelona €5,000 NL Hold ’em.
Although he is yet to earn a WSOP bracelet, his total net worth of just under $25 million is astounding.
10. Haralabos Voulgaris (NBA Sports Betting)
Haralabos Voulgaris net worth: $500,000 to $2 million
Haralobos Voulgaris is widely regarded as one of the planet’s most prolific and successful NBA sports bettors. According to some accounts, Voulgaris invested his life savings on the Shaq/Kobe Lakers to win the 2000 NBA Championship.
So, how did Voulgaris become one of the world’s wealthiest gamblers? Well, he made an insane amount of money thanks to his unique ability to read coaches. For instance, he dared to bet over $1 million on any given NBA match.
In 2017, he tried his luck at poker, and he finished fourth in the World Series of Poker’s Big One, with winnings totaling $3 million.
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, this gambler 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.
Karas’s fall started with a loss of $11 million on craps, followed by a staggering $17 million on a single game of baccarat. Shockingly, in a very short period, Karas lost $30 million.
Who is the biggest gambler in the world?
At the moment, William “Bill” Benter is the biggest professional gambler 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.
(The Habit Stacker)
Has anyone got 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 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.
(Best US Casinos)
How much money do professional gamblers make?
Some professional gamblers can earn six or seven figures per year. Nevertheless, most professionals nowadays generate $40,000–$100,000 a year.
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.
(Best US Casinos)
Who is the most successful gambler of all time?
It is widely believed that Amarillo Slim was the best gambler of all time, and not just because of his poker skills but also because of 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.
(So Much Poker, Popular Bio)
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 is estimated.
Comment, share, and stay tuned!