How Much Do you Have to Bet to be Considered a High Roller? It depends on whether you are betting online or offline, but generally speaking, if we are talking about players who are at the very top of the pile, the so called Casino Whales, we are talking about players that bet a minimum of $10,000 on each bet. This figure can head up to the hundreds of thousands- we are talking about players who have lines of credit in the millions behind them.
If you are “only” betting from $100,000 to $250,000 a visit, you are merely a Premium Player to the casinos. That´s a pretty big league to be in, but it´s not the Premier League!
The Biggest High Rollers in the World
This list is constantly changing as fortunes rise and fall, but below you´ll find a list of characters that have bet some serious money on the tables. Notice, we say tables, as the really big money goes on baccarat, blackjack, and sometimes roulette.
These player can literally bust the house- although normally it´s the house that comes out smiling. Quite a few of these players have triggered profit warnings at the casinos they have played at.
It is estimated that there are around 500 billionaire casino whales in the world and many of them come from Asia. Credit lines of $1 million are standard, and you´ll sometimes hear of credit extended to $25 million or even higher.
And being such big spenders means they get the red carpet treatment when they hit town. Actually, they get the red carpet treatment bef0re they hit town with private jet transfers, limousines and the biggest suites all being used to lure their custom.
Some Famous Casino High Rollers
1- The Sultan of Brunei – Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is the head of state and Yangi-Di Pertuan of Brunei. He is worth around $20 billion and loves a flutter on roulette. A flutter in his case could be a $250 000 per spin session.
2- Adnan Khashoggi – his net worth is down to around $400 million (from around $2 billion), but this Saudi arms dealer still loves a big bet on blackjack and baccarat. When he divorced his wife Soraya Khashoggi, Adnan had to pay up $875 million. Ouch.
This Whale is famous for causing a 19% profits drop in the quarterly earnings of Hilton International through his playing.
3- The late Kerry Packer was known to play almost half a million dollars per Blackjack hand. And he loved to play more than one hand at once! He could also be a generous man and was famous for his tips. One that went down in history was a legendary tip to a cocktail waitress at the MGM Grand. He was so impressed with her service that he asked her if she had a mortgage. She did have a mortgage, so Packer said : “Bring it in tomorrow and I’ll pay it off for you”. He paid off her US$150,000 the very next day.
Another time Packer walked into a cocktail waitress by mistake, and knocked over some drinks on her tray. He later paid off her US$130,000 mortgage.
Those are the big famous whales, but bear in mind that most of the players that frequent these circles are very private. What goes on behind the velvet rope remains private, or they play elsewhere.
Other whales include:
-Mexican businessman Kamel Nacif (Known as “El Rey de la Mezclilla” : the Denim King),
-Larry Flynt (who´s now even got his own casino- the Hustler Casino),
-The late Akio Kashiwagi (the Japanese property investor),
-Mo Chan (who was known to bet up to $500,000 a hand at the Crown’s Mahogany Room in Melbourne,
-Casino King Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and Quek family members who own the Genting Casino group- he can afford to bet big when he´s bankrolled by all of the players at his casino- plus he´s worth $4.5 billion),
-The late Jimmy Goldsmith (he used to bet on the horses even while he was at Eton),
-The “Fat Man” Fouad al-Zayat- he reportedly bet over £90 million at Aspinalls Casino in London and lost over £20 million
-Putera Sampoerna who has a fortune of around $2 billion
-Charles Barkley- an NBA player who is reckoned to have burnt over $30 million at the tables (ouch).
-Bruce Willis who has been known to bet more than $200,000 an hour. He´s probably a Premium Player, but he was knocking at the Whale Door.
-The late chain smoking Roger King, a dealer once sued Mr. King in 1987 after he had won $22,500 playing baccarat and bear hugged him.
-Romon De Sage – charged with running a Ponzi scheme
-Terrance Watanabe-said to have burnt through over $200 million over a period of 5 years in Las Vegas.
-Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese-Mexican businessman who is being investigated for allegedly trafficking pseudoephedrine or ephedrine precursor chemicals into Mexico from Asia
-Siu Yun-ping- Hong Kong´s “God of Gambling” who is known to have bet HK$1.5 million a hand (roughly €150,000).
What Games Do High Roller Play?
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Big whales tend to play baccarat as the house edge is low, and you can play it quickly. Whales also like blackjack (even better odds if you play the right variant and there aren´t too many decks in the shoe, but it takes longer to play), and then there´s roulette, craps, and Pai Gow. High Rollers aren´t stupid. They know the house has an edge so they try and keep this to a minimum. And they know that the longer they stay at the tables, the longer the casino has to take their money off them. So the game is “In and Out”- bet big, fast and leave with a bundle, otherwise known as the Hit and Run strategy.
Where Do They Play?
If you want to know where these Whales play, then you just need to find out where billionaires live and like to hang out. We are talking London, Las Vegas, Macau and Monaco. You do get high rollers playing online, but the betting limits are nowhere near the levels online that you can find in Vegas or London if you have a serious budget. Plus playing baccarat online or craps online doesn´t quite cut it- it´s not the same atmosphere. The Internet is more a place for high roller slots players who are probably betting up to $1000 a spin rather than $10,000 a hand. That´s still a lot of money though!
Although there´s not that many Whales in the world, they make up a huge portion of the global casino industry´s revenue betting over $3-5 billion a year. You can see why they get the odd free drink…..