Whale gamblers is a familiar term in the gambling world. If you haven't heard of it, the word refers to the wealthiest gamblers who are willing to spend hundreds of thousands to several million dollars overnight just for the fun of gambling.

Today's article will discuss the giant whales in the gambling world. Read more about their lives and gaming experiences to discover what makes them exceptional gamblers.

Whale: Gambling Term Definition, Character & Gambling Locations

Whale: Gambling Term Definition, Character & Gambling Locations
gambling chips (source: Freepik)

The shortest and most accurate description of "whale gambler" is a high roller, often known as a whale or cheetah, is a gambler who continuously bets significant amounts of money. In other words, they are not necessarily the people who make massive money from gambling but the brave people who dare to throw millions of dollars into casino games regardless of the results.

It is important to note that not all high rollers that play at high-stakes gambling sites or brick-and-mortar casinos are whale players.

Gambling Whale Essential Features

If you have a chance to see a true whale player, you'll see right away that they're not at all like the other gamblers. They have many dominant characteristics that separate them from the rest, and those distinctive characteristics are an essential basis for them to form a habit of spending big on their gambling. 

First, these players usually don't appear in regular casinos. They often choose venues like high-roller casino tables, VIP games, or big tournaments to show off their spending. This is quite understandable as their spending large sums of money can affect other casual gamblers and ruin their playing emotions.

Next, although not all, most whale gamblers are players with outstanding gambling skills. While you could say that most casino games, except for poker, are heavily dependent on luck, the character examples we feature below can prove otherwise. 

We don't need to talk too much about wealth here, but of course, to be a whale gambler, an indispensable element is a vast fortune. Most of the characters on the list below are people who own the wealth that we all dare only dream of in life.

Attitude when gambling is also a factor worth mentioning. While many whales can have different attitudes depending on the outcome of their game, most of them generally have a nonchalant attitude towards losses. In other words, they gamble as if they were not afraid of losing money.

The final personality trait is obsession. Most high rollers and whales can maintain self-control, but occasionally things spiral out of hand. For instance, one of the most famous gamblers in history, Ramon DeSage, used his gambling addiction to drive him to crime. Because of his fraud plan, Mr. DeSage rose to fame in Las Vegas as a famous whale. Before being captured by the US authorities, he estimated he lost more than $175 million at several casinos along the Las Vegas Strip.

Where Can You Meet a Whale Player?

Depending on the game being played, there might be blackjack whales, roulette whales, baccarat whales, or craps whales. Poker whales were unquestionably some of the most well-known whales in the past. In the physical casinos, you could run into them, but not likely in the freeroll poker games played online for real money. A gambling whale can be found in the following locations:

  • High Roller Casino Tables: The finest casino resorts feature specialized high stakes tables with "considerable financial firepower." Typically, anyone who has the means to purchase the game is welcome to participate.
  • VIP & Private Gaming Rooms: These games are planned for a select group of participants and occasionally by invitation only.
  • Tournaments: There are local, national, internet, and live casino tournaments where you could run into a whale gambler.

Many different sorts of players attend the largest live poker tournaments in Europe, and there have been some insanely large bets placed on the tables. There isn't a gaming event on the Old Continent right now where we may observe whales like Mo Chan, a high roller native to China.

Over $10 million was in his pocket thanks to his notorious run at the baccarat tables at Australian casinos. Mo Chan wagered between $300,000 and $500,000 every hand to win this astounding sum. The gambler fled and never returned since the casino had a cap on his bets.

Who Are the Most Well-Known Whales You Should Know

If you haven't heard of it, the stories of whale gamblers are hard to believe. Some people might be startled to learn that true stories of the well-dressed man wagering double your net worth on a single blackjack hand really exist. So, below, we'll showcase seven of the largest and most well-known whales in the annals of gambling.

Phil Ivey – Playing Wsop and Beyond

Phil Ivey – Playing Wsop and Beyond
Phil Ivey (Source: Youtube)

Every time a list of the giant whales is compiled, Phil Ivey must be included first. After his stint on the World Series of Poker circuit, where he established himself, many people recognized him. But his tale involves much more than simply the poker table.

Many people in the gambling industry's upper echelons have viewed Phil Ivey's career skeptically. Ivey's situation has been partly clouded due to a baccarat game played in London.

The game had big stakes, with a potential prize of $11 million. Unfortunately, Ivey was accused of cheating immediately, even though it is still unclear whether or not he violated any regulations.

Phil has had other significant victories throughout the years as well. A few months before his misadventures in London, he made close to $9.6 million in an Atlantic City casino. This victory was also questioned in several ways.

Whatever your view of Phil Ivey may be, no other player in the contemporary period who is more well-known or has a more compelling backstory.

Kerry Packer – Aussie Businessman & Fearless Gambler

Kerry Packer – Aussie Businessman & Fearless Gambler
Kerry Packer (Source: Youtube)

Kerry Packer, a media tycoon from Australia, was accustomed to making important financial choices. His considerable fortune allowed him to live a lifestyle that included making significant bets on his preferred casino games.

According to many documents, he could wager up to $500,000 on a single blackjack hand and was a seasoned roulette player. He is known to have once bet an incredible $25 million on a single roulette play, which he lost.

But don't feel too sorry for him. He is still valued at many billion dollars now, so everything worked well.

Archie Karas – From $50 To $40 Million

Archie Karas – From $50 To $40 Million
Archie Karas (Source: Youtube)

There must be an intriguing backstory when someone gains notoriety based on an event called "the run." In actuality, the story is one that almost every novice gambler fantasizes about but very few ever actually accomplish. Archie Karas’s case is the most apparent example of "the run."

The success of Archie Karas demonstrates that a small $50 wager may take you far in the gambling world. He played the tables with the little dollars he had and was able to turn them into $40 million. In addition, even though he participated in every casino game imaginable, he liked craps most. 

As in many tales of professional gamblers, Archie Karas encountered difficulties that led to a downward spiral. He would eventually lose almost all of his wealth during the following two years after amassing it. He would eventually end himself in Nevada's Black Book for cheating and other offenses. Even worse, the law put him on three years of probation.

Archie, unfortunately, lost his wealth, but it doesn't change the fact that he is regarded as one of history's greatest gamblers.

Bill Benter

Bill Benter
Bill Benter in a interview(source: Youtube)

After one of the most well-known gamblers of all time, Bill Benter is regarded as the richest gambler ever. How did he come by his enormous wealth? The fact is that, in the middle of the 1980s, he created an algorithm to forecast horse racing in Hong Kong.

His narrative begins with a relocation to Las Vegas while he was in his 20s when he quickly met the leader of an Australian squad that regarded itself to be a card-counting team. After being impressed by his Australian buddies' presentation, he joined the organization, and they soon started generating money.

Benter started well with the card counting business, but he wanted to increase his winnings by trying his luck in horse racing. He developed his statistical and computer abilities during his stay in Vegas, so he created a method he could use for horse racing in Hong Kong.

Benter had a rough start, but he finally turned things around. His investments in horse racing have primarily contributed to his fortune today, which is close to $1 billion.

Edward O. Thorp

Edward O. Thorp (Source: Youtube)
Edward O. Thorp (Source: Youtube)

The story of Edward Thorp could make you rethink your belief that becoming a very successful gambler is mostly a matter of luck and that anyone can accomplish it.

The man was a professor of mathematics, a novelist, a hedge fund manager, and, most crucially, a blackjack researcher. He was a guy of extraordinary intelligence. And by studying, I mean creating card counting, a strategy every gambler has at least heard of in the modern day.

That's correct! Everyone should give thanks to Edward Thorp for his contribution to blackjack. In 1962, he released his book outlining the blackjack technique, which exposed the casino to losses they had never before suffered.

When he finally tested his approach, he found he could make $3,000 in profit each hour at the blackjack table. He probably made hundreds of millions of dollars, if not more, for other gamblers who read his book and used his approach to their games.

Whatever one's thoughts on Edward Thorp may be, one thing is for sure: he left a lasting impression on the gambling industry that no one will ever forget.

Zhenli Ye Gon

Zhenli Ye Gon
Zhenli Ye Gon (Source: Youtube)

Many who frequent land-based establishments know that rich Asians are frequently the focus of the casino's attention. They give casinos worldwide a yearly revenue since they have huge wallets and aren't afraid to take chances.

Chinese-Mexican businessman Zhenli Ye Gon allegedly participated in the production of meth in Mexico. Police searching his house in Mexico City discovered approximately $200 million in cash, supporting his assertions.

Although his narrative doesn't explicitly include any specific winnings, his contribution to Las Vegas casinos demonstrates how significant those establishments were to him throughout his life. He stopped gambling and donated $120 million to Las Vegas casinos. He was a high-spending patron at the Venetian, so as a thank you, they gave him a Rolls Royce.

When a Rolls Royce appears on your list of comps, you have firmly established your reputation as a legendary gambler.


It is intrinsically fascinating to learn about the lifestyles of the wealthy. It becomes more remarkable when you realize that these specific wealthy individuals staked unfathomable sums of money at casino tables worldwide.

Although most individuals will never achieve these levels, it shows that, with the right amount of luck, even a little sum of money may grow to millions.

Published: 01 August 2022 17:39