High Stakes Gambling - The Most Obscene Amounts of Money Ever Put on the Table

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Staff member
May 3, 2008
Behind the discreetly guarded doors of luxurious hotel suites exists the world in which millions of pounds can change hands in an instant, a world in which kings are pitted against each other in a game of chance or skill, a world where even the most stringent of outside rules stop applying. It's the world of high stakes gambling.

High Stakes Gambling and the Law

Earlier this year, the British government succeeded in winning a vote to place tougher curbs on high stakes betting machines that were allowing ordinary punters to bet £300 in a minute. These stakes may be too high for a man on the street, but these are peanuts for the real high stake gamblers. The world of high stake gambling is shady, because most of the players closely guard their identities as well as the kind of money that changes hands.

Last year, an FBI sting operation uncovered some details of a high stakes poker game played in New York, in which each chip was worth $25,000. Soon, the pile on the table had skyrocketed to over $2 million. Before he could see who won or lost that money, the undercover FBI agent was curtly asked to leave the room. Did someone high up in the Bureau tip off the bookies?

We'll never know. However, it's easy to imagine the kind of money that could be won or lost in a single night of high stakes gambling.

Most Obscene Bets in Recent History

Poker is not the only game that is notorious for raising stupendous bets. Sports are another big arena for high stakes betting. Roulette, dice, and other games of pure chance also attract mindboggling bets. Here's a quick round up of the biggest publically known bets in recent history.

Knocked Off: In 2012, the American boxing champion and millionaire Floyd Mayweather bet $3 million on his home team the Michigan Wolverines. He lost just as the Wolverines capitulated to Alabama. The amount of his bet might seem obscene to some, but it wasn't much for someone like Floyd, whose net worth is $140 million and who charges $50 million per fight.

Red is NOT the Color of Danger: Ashley Revell, a gambler from London proved this in a game of roulette. A professional gambler, he was obsessed with the idea of betting everything he had on a single spin of the wheel. In 2004, he sold all his possessions to raise $135,300, and bet all the money on red at a famous Las Vegas casino. When the ball fell on 7 Red, Revell had instantly doubled his net worth. He pocketed $270,000, left the change ($600) as tip, and walked out.

Million Dollar Pool: The Greece-born high takes gambler Archie Karas is famous for his longest winning-streak in the history of gambling, a streak that started with $50 in his pocket, and ended when he had won over $40 million. In between the two points, there were many high-stake games of pool and dice. He's reported to have beaten his secret playing buddy "Mr X" at a series of $40,000-each pool and poker games, eventually depriving Mr X of some $3 million. Archie is also famous for rolling the dice for $100,000 per roll—and winning.

5 Billion Dollar Man: Nick Dandolos (1883–1966) aka Nick the Greek is probably the richest gambler in recorded history. At the time of his death, his estimated winnings amounted to $500 million, a figure that's equivalent to $5 billion in today's dollars. He claimed to have gone from rags to riches more than 73 times and never respected money.
At one time, he lost $2–4 million in a highly publicized poker marathon against Johnny Moss, a series of games that continued for five months.

How much is the most amount of money that you've ever gambled with? Did you win or lose? Let us know in your comments.

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