Many people visit Las Vegas to enjoy the beautiful life, see world celebrities, enjoy magnificent performances and experience the incomparable pleasure of gambling. But a special category of players. These are the so-called Vegas whales, which have their own style of play with huge stakes and the willingness to risk millions of dollars. In one night, these people are capable of losing or winning a fortune. They are often confused with high rollers, but in reality, the differences between these categories of players are quite significant.
What is the difference between Vegas whales and high rollers?
Although both categories of gamblers are not clearly defined, casino workers successfully distinguish one from the other. Both are important components of the consumer market for gambling services. But high roller bets when visiting casinos on weekends are usually in the range of $100,000 to $1 million, while the Vegas whales’ bet sizes start at $ 1 million. It is a million dollars that is usually the line that separates the high roller gambler from the “whale”.
Usually, the amount of money that the “whale” invests in the game is between $ 1 and $ 20 million. If such a player spends several days in a row in Las Vegas or other gambling capitals, then the daily spending on the game may increase by several million more. Regular gamblers better start playing real money slots to begin their journey to becoming a Las Vegas whale.
As a rule, whales wager about $ 25,000 at a time and receive numerous bonuses and preferential service from the establishment. But even if you are not a gambler of this class, the best casinos will treat you like a VIP. Read our review and take a look at the TOP 10 gambling establishments.
Top 10 Most Famous Whales of Las Vegas
In the global gambling industry, there are no more than 200 very large Vegas whales capable of placing bets of $ 10 million or more in one day. These people are well known and every major gambling establishment is trying to get their attention. Below we share information about some of them (from those who are no longer alive to the youngest of the living).
10. Edward “Tiger Mike” Davis (died at the age of 85)
A typical example of the “whale” of the old school is the oil king Edward Davis. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 85. But until the end of his life, he remained one of the outstanding gamers in Las Vegas.
He allegedly came to Vegas with cash and a self-defence gun. Both he wore in special pockets of tailored clothes. The trunk of his car also contained stashes of money. To attract such a client, the owner of Wynn Las Vegas put at his disposal a villa in the immediate vicinity of the gambling establishment.
There is a version that at the end of his life he lost the lion’s share of his capital in the casino.
9. Larry Flynt (died at the age of 78)
We are talking about the creator of the publication for the 18+ category Hustler. Over the decades, this outstanding gambler has often visited Vegas, spending up to $ 50,000 there per bet. At first, the main place of his game was the Las Vegas Hilton, but then Flint changed it to Hard Rock and other casinos, the owners of which attracted him with special conditions.
8. Kerry Packer (died at the age of 68)
This Australian media tycoon made huge bets in Las Vegas in the 90s of the last century. According to media reports, he made a $ 20 million purchase of MGM Grand. It took him less than an hour. The size of his bets sometimes amounted to $ 250,000, and he left 2,500 each to all the dealers. Impressive!
7. Akio Kashiwagi (died at the age of 68)
This “whale” was one of the largest in Vegas in the 70s and 80s. His baccarat bets were in the range of $ 100,000 – $ 200,000 at a time.
Kashiwagi died a violent death in 1992, and the mafia is blamed for his death.
6. Kamel Nazif (75 years old)
Nazif became the founders of a super-profitable business in Mexico related to the textile industry. He visits Vegas casinos all year round. Like most large gamblers, of all games, he prefers baccarat, betting $ 200,000 at a time. Rumour has it that he reacts very violently to the results of the game, especially if he wins.
5. Archie Karas (75 years old)
Archie Karas’s life is like a movie plot. His journey from poverty to fame and huge money is the best advertisement for gambling. Arriving in the United States from Greece with fifty dollars, he quickly mastered the game of poker and conquered Las Vegas. His fortune, amassed from a successful game, after three years of continuous victories at the card table, was estimated at $ 40 million. He reportedly was betting about $ 100,000 at stake. Ultimately, he went broke and was convicted of fraud. He was banned from visiting casinos in the state of Nevada, but according to rumours, he still places bets somewhere else.
4. Ramon DeSage aka Ramon Abi-Raked (70 years old)
One of the largest Vegas whales, whose name became a sensation when he was sentenced to three years in prison in 2019. We are talking about a fraud, as a result of which Ramon De Sage embezzled at least $ 28 million. It is believed that he was pushed to the crime by a passion for a luxurious life and huge debts that he made by losing $ 75 million in Las Vegas casinos. This record put him on a par with other “whales” of Vegas.
3. Terrence Watanabe (59 years old)
This American businessman and avid gambler is truly legendary. During the game, he drank alcoholic beverages imported especially for him, and in between games he occupied a three-room suite on the territory of the casino. The size of his gambling limits was $ 17 million. But such large bets often go wrong. According to media reports, the loss of this gambler after the ban on visiting Wynn Las Vegas in 2007 amounted to $ 127 million.
The life of this man is literally overgrown with legends. He is accused of an excessive passion for alcohol, as well as an uncontrollable craving for gambling. Moreover, he is credited with many strange behaviours and even sleepwalking. In the end, this gambler owed a lot to various casinos, which led to a series of courts and retaliatory claims up to reaching an out-of-court agreement.
2. Zhengli Ye Gong (58 years old)
As the owner of a Mexican chemical concern, he was accused of supplying the drug mafia with chemical raw materials for the production of drugs. Before the verdict of the court, he was one of the most avid gamblers in Las Vegas. In total, his losses to various casinos amounted to $ 100 million. However, during a search of his mansion, the police found another 207 million. Therefore, it was unlikely that his losses upset him greatly. But who is the number 1 whale of Las Vegas in this rating?
1. Charles Barkley (58 years old)
NBA basketball star Charles Barkley is a Las Vegas casino enthusiast. By his own estimates, over the course of his life, he lost about $ 30 million. His main passion in gambling was and remains blackjack, and his teammates have repeatedly watched him play at the Wynn Casino. At the same time, Barkley is absolutely alien to arrogance, and he willingly gives the opportunity to look at his game to almost everyone.
This is a story about the great Vegas whales who left their memory in the largest casinos in Las Vegas. Gambling did not make any of them richer, but, without a doubt, gave them the opportunity to live for their own pleasure.
Tiffany Cutting – an experienced journalist who has been covering the world of gambling for over 3 years. At the moment, she is the indispensable lead content writer on the Slotsspot team.