Throughout history, gambling has been a popular pastime enjoyed by people from all walks of life. From emperors to commoners, people have been fascinated by the thrill of placing a wager and seeing if lady luck will be on their side. However, some individuals have taken this fascination to a whole new level, becoming famous for their gambling exploits.

In this article, we’ll take a look at history’s 7 most famous bettors.

1. Charles Deville Wells

Charles Deville Wells, also known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo,” was a notorious gambler in the late 19th century. In 1891, he arrived in Monte Carlo and began playing roulette at the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. In just three days, he won 1 million francs, which was an astronomical amount of money at the time. He continued playing and ended up winning a total of 2 million francs before leaving the casino.

2. William Lee Bergstrom

William Lee Bergstrom, also known as “The Suitcase Man,” was a high roller who became famous for his daring bets. In 1980, he walked into Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas and placed a $777,000 bet on a single roll of the dice. He won and walked out of the casino with $1.5 million. He disappeared for a few years but returned to the same casino in 1984 and placed another bet, this time for $1 million. He won again but tragically committed suicide a few months later.

3. Archie Karas

Archie Karas is perhaps one of the most famous gamblers of all time. He arrived in Las Vegas in the 1980s with just $50 in his pocket and went on to win more than $40 million over a three-year period. He did this by playing high-stakes poker and pool, often betting everything he had on a single hand or game. However, his luck eventually ran out, and he lost everything in a series of bad bets.

4. Edward Thorp

Edward Thorp is not your typical gambler. He was a math professor who used his knowledge of mathematics to beat the game of blackjack. In the 1960s, he published a book called “Beat the Dealer,” which outlined his strategy for winning at blackjack. He used a system of card counting and betting that allowed him to consistently win at the game. His book revolutionized the world of gambling and made him a legend in the industry.

5. Nick Dandolos

Nick Dandolos, also known as “Nick the Greek,” was a Greek-American gambler who became famous in the mid-20th century. He was known for his love of high-stakes gambling and often played for millions of dollars. He was particularly fond of playing poker and is said to have once won $500,000 in a single night of playing.

6. Billy Walters

Billy Walters is a professional sports bettor who has won millions of dollars over the course of his career. He is known for his ability to analyze and predict the outcomes of sporting events, particularly in the realm of college football. However, he was also involved in a major insider trading scandal and was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017.

7. Thomas Austin Preston Jr.

Thomas Austin Preston Jr., better known as “Amarillo Slim,” was a legendary poker player who won four World Series of Poker bracelets in the 1970s. He was known for his colorful personality and his ability to read his opponents’ cards. He was also a hustler who made a living playing pool and poker on the streets of Texas before becoming a professional gambler.


In conclusion, gambling has been a popular pastime for centuries, and these 7 famous bettors have shown us that sometimes taking a risk can lead to incredible rewards. From winning millions of dollars at the casino to breaking the bank at Monte Carlo, these high rollers have left their mark on history. While we don’t condone excessive gambling, we can learn from their determination and strategic thinking.

Whether you’re a seasoned gambler or a novice, the stories of these famous bettors are sure to inspire you to take a chance and see where your luck takes you.