While it’s a known fact that most people will not get rich by gambling, seeing how the odds are always against you, there are some exceptions that prove the rule. There are few casino games in which players can actually gain an advantage over the house, such as blackjack where you can count cards, but some smart or lucky people managed to beat the odds and became millionaire playing bets.
We’ll start our list with the man who invented and perfected the card counting strategy – Edward E. Thorp. Thorp was a mathematics professor from 1959 to 1977 and wrote the blackjack card counting bible titled “Beat the Dealer”. He tested his theory in various casinos in Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas, starting with $10,000 from professional gambler Manny Kimmel.
With his theory already proven, Thorp decided to use his acquired knowledge in the stock market and ended up making a fortune, as his net worth is estimated at no less than $800 million.
The man who won the most from gambling is Bill Benter, a mathematics genius from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who learnt how to count cards at blackjack and started his gambling career in 1977 in Las Vegas. Seven years later, he got banned from most Las Vegas casinos because he was constantly breaking the bank and decided to move to Hong Kong and focus on horse races. Together with Alan Woods, he developed the world’s first software for horse races betting. His net worth is estimated at $100 million annually.
And since we’re talking about Alan Woods, it has to be mentioned that he was the pioneer of horse races betting, and although he also started his gambling career at poker machines, where he was mostly losing, and blackjack tables, he later paired with Bill Benter and Zeljko Ranogajec and shifted his focus to Hong Kong horse races. He is considered one of the most influential gamblers of all time, having developed a betting software that took into consideration various factors in a race, like track condition, weather, and more. Woods died in 2008 and at the time his estimated net worth was AU$670 million.
Billy Walters is another well-known figure in gambling, being one of the people who got rich from roulette and sports betting. He runs his own bookmaking service in Vegas, but few know that he wasn’t always a lucky winner. In fact, he lost everything to his name over 15 times in his youth, and he began his winning streak in his late 30s. It seems that he now makes about $15 million a year, with a net worth of $200 million.
Besides professional gamblers, there are also people who became rich overnight from gambling, without even being avid players. A woman called Patricia Demauro, for instance, gambled only twice in her entire life and she struck luck at Borgata in Atlantic City when she made a whopping 154 consecutive wins at rolling dices. It’s not known how much she won, but she said she only spent $10.