Who’s the most successful casino gambler ever?
Arguably, the most successful casino gambler ever is Anargyros Nicholas Karabourniotis, otherwise known as Archie Karas, or simply ‘The Greek’, who, in December, 1992, embarked on an unprecedented winning streak, known in gambling circles as ‘The Run’.
Reputedly arriving in Las Vegas with just $50, Karas borrowed $10,000 from a fellow poker player, which he quickly turned into $30,000 playing a form of stud poker known as ‘Razz’. Turning his attention to nine-ball pool, Karas played an unidentified individual for progressively higher stakes, up to $40,000 a game, eventually winning $1.2 million. Karas subsequently relieved the same individual of a further $3 million playing poker at Binion’s Horseshoe and, in the coming months, built his bankroll to $7 million.
Karas continued to play poker, for eye-wateringly high stakes, against some of the best players in the world, including the likes of Stuart ‘Stu’ Ungar and David ‘Chip’ Reese. At the end of a six-month period, Karas had won over $17 million. At that point, Karas began shooting craps at Binion’s Horseshoe, for $100,000 a roll, and kept on winning, eventually amassing over $40 million.
After two-and-a-half years, Karas’ luck ran out; in 1995, he lost approximately $42 million, predominantly on craps and baccarat. Between 1988 and 2013, Karas was arrested five times for cheating at blackjack in Nevada and, as a result of ‘numerous transgressions’, was subsequently included on the Gaming Control Board (GCB) Excluded Person List maintained by the Nevada Gaming Commission.