6 gambling legends you need to know

Let’s be honest: there are a lot of good gambling success stories out there. If you google for gambling success you probably get thousands of search results. But don’t worry, we make it easier for you to impress your friends with some fun facts—we collected 6 of the most incredible gambling stories. Have fun reading them!

1. Edward Thorp (Blackjack)

Edward Thorp is a maths professor, fund manager and famous gambler. Thorp is 88 years old and he already developed card counting techniques back in 1961, when there were no good computers to rely on, impressive isn’t it?

Thorp’s specialty is Blackjack. He even wrote a book called “Beat the dealer” in which he explains his strategies to win. This book is considered to be the first book on card counting techniques.

Thorp demonstrated the techniques from his book in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno. When playing in Vegas, he started out with $10,000 and won another $11,000 just over the first weekend. A lot of casinos frowned upon his card counting strategies and even tried to ban him, which ultimately led Thorp to start wearing disguises to gamble.

The “godfather” of card counting definitely deserved the number 1 spot in our list of success stories.


2. Mick Gibbs (Sports Betting)

How to make £500,000 on a £0.30 bet? Well, Mick Gibbs, a roofer by profession, was lucky! In 2001 he placed £0.30 to predict the winners of 15 games across Europe with astonishing odds of 1,666,666/1.

Gibbs predicted the first 14 games correctly. The final Champions League match between Bayern Munich and Valencia ended in penalties and the final kick made Mick Gibbs £500,000 richer. An incredible success story!


3. Chris Moneymaker (Poker)

There’s no better name for a successful poker player than “Moneymaker”, right? Well, this man really deserves the name—which is not an alias, but his real name. Chris was an accountant before he started his poker career at the World Series of Poker in 2003.

Back then he was the first poker player who qualified for the tournament by playing poker on the internet. He won the first prize, $2.5 million, and immediately turned into a poker superstar. He continued his poker career and won a lot of big competitions, including some WSOP events. Chris also wrote a biography about his poker career.


4. Don Johnson (Blackjack)

Don Johnson is a businessman and famous gambler. Johnson won more than $15 million at Black Jack. The most interesting fact about that? He did it without using any card counting techniques.

What’s also really impressive about him: Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack—in one night(!), thereby single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he had taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million.


5. Nick Dandolos (Sports Betting & Poker)

Another legend you should know about when it comes to gambling. Nick Dandolos, also known as “Nick the Greek” comes from a wealthy Greek family and moved to the USA at the age of 18. He had a lot of money which probably led him to start betting. He became a legend especially for the size of his wager.

It’s estimated that he won and lost more than $500 million over his lifetime. According to Dandolos, he went from rags to riches over 73 times. But money never was that important to him which is why he donated $20 million to education and charity.


6. David Sklansky (Poker)

A name you should definitely know around fellow poker players. Sklansky is a renowned poker star and has had an amazing gambling career. Just like most successful gamblers, he also wrote his own book: “Ducy”. He won three different World Series of Poker events.

His nickname, “The mathematician”, already suggests that his great success is largely based on his mathematical background. It’s estimated that he won more than $1.3 million in poker tournaments in total, and probably even more at playing ring games. One more reason to work on your math skills, we’d say. Not convinced yet? Check out this blog post to find another reason.