The biggest wins and losses in casinos

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Recently I found out that the most read articles on the Internet are those about winning in Lotto. It’s not surprising, each of us would like to win a few dollars in this way (or even better, a few million). Gambling has always interested people – but some are greater risk-takers than others and it is they who win huge sums, which the rest of us read about in newspapers. Of course, every stick has two ends and a casino game can just as easily end in a big loss.

As of 2018, playing for real money in an online casino is only possible at the only legal online casino in Japan, Total Casino. For almost two years, players smashed jackpots winning several hundred thousand dollars each. The record was set in June 2020 – see the highest winnings at the new online casino オンラインカジノ 新しい.

Highest winnings in casinos

Let’s focus on the positives first and trace the history of the biggest casino winnings in history.

  • Archie Karas’ win is more of a story – from a punter to a millionaire. The American didn’t win the fortune in one evening or by pulling a lever on a slot machine. He had to wait several years for his big win. In 1992 he came to Las Vegas and bet 50 dollars, in 1995 he already had 40 million dollars. This could be a good lesson for all the gamblers, who count on quick money. However, the rest of the story does not have a happy ending. Mr. Karas lost all his money within a year, then won and lost again, only to be arrested a few years later for counterfeiting playing cards.
  • The next story is even more interesting. This time the protagonist is – I guess you could say – the luckiest man in the world. Elmer Sherwin didn’t think of himself like that for more than half a century. Elmer started gambling at the age of 17 and never won more than a dozen dollars until he was 76. Fate turned when he and his wife came to celebrate the opening of the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. At first, he lost 100 dollars, but for another 20 – borrowed from his wife – he smashed the jackpot on a Megabucks machine and won 4.6 million dollars. That might not be surprising if it weren’t for the fact that 16 years later he won again and again on a Megabucks machine. This time the 92-year-old won 21 million dollars! He donated the first prize for a trip around the world and a part of the second one for helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. He died a year later, at the age of 93.
  • The one-armed bandit also turned out to be lucky for a 25-year-old, who smashed the jackpot in Los Angeles in 2003, winning almost 40 million dollars. This is the highest single jackpot win in US casino history.
  • Antonio Esfandiari from the USA had to work a little harder. It took him some time from the first time he played poker to get an equally impressive amount. He now boasts the biggest win in the history of the game. In 2012, he won $17.3 million at the World Series of Poker tournament in Las Vegas. (In the same tournament Sam Trickett – the second place winner won 10 million dollars).

Top losers in casinos

Many players have lost their entire fortune in a casino. The unlucky ones, however, have the biggest debts and not infrequently problems with the law.

  • Terrence Watanabe is an American businessman, at one time also a millionaire. When his company was prosperous enough, he decided to do something else. He gave to charity, and opened his own restaurant, but his greatest pleasure was playing in the casino. Unfortunately, he was not as keen on gambling as he was on business. He first lost $21 million at Wynn Casino in Las Vegas, only to make history in 2017 by breaking the gambling losing record. He lost $127m at the Rio Hotel and Caesars Palace. He spent years paying off his debt but eventually ran out of money. The casino accused him of not paying his debts on time, while the American accused the waiters of serving him alcohol and drugs to stimulate him to gamble. Eventually, the parties reached a settlement, and Watanabe had to pay another half a million dollars in court costs.
  • The year 2014 was not the most successful for Petter Northug, the Olympic cross-country skiing champion. First, he recorded a poor performance at the Winter Games in Sochi, and then he lost 20 thousand euros in poker in one evening.
  • 12 thousand lost + costs of 700 euros for damage. This is how much the son of a Romanian millionaire, Benjamin Tantas, had to pay in 2013 after he started vandalizing the casino after losing.


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