The World's Greatest Gambler - The Amazing Story of Archie Karas

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May 3, 2008
"You've got to understand something. Money means nothing to me."

These are the words of Archie Karas, one of the world's greatest gamblers and a high stakes poker and pool player, who has been from rags to riches and back multiple times.

"I've had all the material things I could ever want—everything," says the Greek-American high roller. He was born to poor parents in Cefalonia, Greece.
He grew up shooting marbles, sometimes for a loaf of bread. Karas ran away from home at the age of 15 after being attacked with a shovel by his enraged father, whom he never saw again.

He started working as a waiter on a ship and was making $60 a month when the ship docked at Portland, Oregon. Tired of the sea, he decided stay in America and moved to Los Angeles,
where he started working at a restaurant located next to a bowling alley and pool hall. He started bankrolling his accounts while polishing his pool skills, and started played poker
when there was no one left to beat at pool. By 1992, his winnings amounted to $20 million. In December that year, he had lost all of them in high stakes poker, and was left with only $50.

With 50 bucks in his pocket, Karas decided to say farewell to Los Angeles and drove to Las Vegas. It was here that he started his legendary winning streak that is recorded in history
as the largest and longest winning run. Simply called "The Run", the winning spree started when Karas came across a fellow poker buddy from Los Angeles and borrowed $10,000 from him to "invest" in poker.
He quickly won $30,000 and returned $20,000 to his benefactor, who was more than satisfied with his ROI.

Karas started playing pool using his part of the winnings, a little over $10,000. Luck ran him across a wealthy pool player, whose name Archie refuses to reveal for the sake of his reputation.
Karas calls him Mr X, and it's to Mr X that Karas owes the major part of his winnings. They started playing each other at pool with $10,000 a game. When Archie had beaten Mr X
many times and won hundreds and thousands of dollars, they raised the stakes to $40,000 a game.

At the end of their pool adventures, Archie had won over $1.2 million from Mr X. They switched to poker, in which Archie made another $3 million.
They were playing for stakes never before witnessed in modern gambling, and made other poker players watch in awe. Archie, however, was just warming up.

During the next few years, he had beaten every famous poker player for mindboggling stakes. A time came when no one was willing to play him because of his unbeaten reputation
and stupendous stakes. He had amassed $17 million in just 6 months of poker action. Finding no rivals to play against, Karas turned to dice. He was rolling for $100,000 per roll, and winning.
At the end of his historical winning streak, Archie had made more than $40 million.

All great gambling stories have similar endings, and Archie's is no different. His winning run came to an end in 1995, two and a half years after it had started.
He lost most of his $40 million fortune within three weeks, and the rest of them soon afterwards. There were a few more small winning runs, but nothing as spectacular.
Eventually, Archie Karas was caught marking cards at a blackjack table in a San Diego casino.
He was arrested from his home in Las Vegas and is awaiting trial for burglary, cheating, and winning by fraudulent means.
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