Gambling Whale Stories

In high stakes gambling, there are two terms which you should understand:”whale” and “high roller”. Generally, it’s assumed that a high roller is someone with a gambling budget of $100,000 to $1M for a regular 3-day weekend visit to the casino.

The casino will consider you a whale if you begin to get over the $1M bankroll mark. Whales have a normal budget of $1M to $20M and could easily be up or down millions in a weekend. Their bets are usually more than $25,000 per hand and take delight in the very best freebies, comps, and other perks from the casino.

Kashiwagi remains one of the biggest Baccarat whales there ever was, and died leaving gambling debts estimated at almost $20 million. Kerry Packer There are many stories surrounding this gambler, which are likely a mix of fiction and truth, but one story which best describes the mythical gambling of Packer goes as follows. This is often Casino Whale Stories a reactivation bonus so if you have not been playing for a long time you might receive this as a good will to get you back. Sometimes this is no registration free spins Casino Whale Stories for existing players or just a simple free cash bonus. In this opening episode of Cheating Vegas, we learn the classic tricks and scams that vegas cheaters pull to get away with millions. We learn how to spot a c. And that's translated to increases of 200% in revenue for strategy games and 42% for casino games. But the paying percentage is the real news. Whales drove game development, and are still important.

Approximately, there are probably less than 200 mega whales, whose bankroll is more than $10M, throughout the world. That’s why many casinos are aggressively competing to win this market segment to achieve a large effect on their profits every quarter. Below we’ve compiled a list of the biggest whales of all time.

List of Well Known Las Vegas High Rollers

Adnan Khashoggi

Adnan is the son of the personal physician to the Saudi King and a global arms dealer. In the 1980s, he has spent more than £12M in the Ritz Casino in London. He’s known to spend long amounts of time playing on the casinos in London. He mainly played Baccarat during his gambling sprees.

Archie Karas

When he arrived in Las Vegas, Archie had only $50 in his pocket. He somehow managed to run this up to more than $40m before losing it all. His fascination with Craps allowed him to make a huge run, though he’s an ardent poker player. He had made multiple visits to casinos in Las Vegas until to this day.

Akio Kashiwagi

Akio is perhaps the largest gambler to ever visit Las Vegas during the 1970s-1980s. He was a brave Baccarat player that won’t hesitate to spend $100,000 to $200,00 per hand during his sessions. In 1992, he was found murdered in his house in Japan and his death was linked to organized crime.

Charles Barkley

Former NBA star Charles Barkley is a self-professed gambler who loves to play Blackjack. Throughout his gambling career, he lost close to $30m. He usually stays on the main open floor of the Wynn Casino and allows people to watch him play.

“Sir Charles” opens up about his gambling.

Don Johnson

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Don became popular after the media reported on how he won close to $15M from two different casinos. It became apparent that the casinos made a mistake and provided Don a comp plan that essentially flipped the house edge to his advantage. This unexpected luck allowed him to collect large winnings playing blackjack.

Fouad al-Zayat

Known as “The Fat Man” Fouad is estimated to have lost more than $42M on his 12-year gambling spree. This Syrian businessman had visited some of the top casinos in London for more than 600 times during his gambling spree. One casino sued him for bouncing a checks for millions in gambling debt- according to him he’s stopped now.

Kamel Nacif

Nacif is a prominent businessman in the textile business in Mexico and he’s known to take trips to Las Vegas many times every year. As with most whales, he mainly plays Baccarat, wagering as high as $200,000 per hand. He’s famous for his hair-trigger temper every time his luck turns out bad during his sessions.

Kerry Packer

Packer is an Australian business magnate and known to be one of the most fearless gamblers of all time. He’s not afraid to risk tens of millions on each session he played. He won a lot and his estimated winnings reached $9m from Hilton Las Vegas in 1992. It’s also rumored that he won $33m on this particular session at MGM.

Larry Flynt

Founder of Hustler adult magazine, Larry is a frequent visitor to Las Vegas for decades. His main game is Blackjack and risks up to $50,000 per hand in every session. He moved to Hard Rock and other hotels when new hosts of Las Vegas Hilton courted his action with generous comps.

Mo Chan

Mr. Chan went on a notorious run in Australian casinos amassing $10M from the table playing Baccarat at $300,000 to $500,000 per hand. This Chinese native high roller apparently had a falling out with the casino when they restricted his game and he promised never to come back.

Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey is the personification of a true gambler and possibly, the best poker player of all-time. He’s known to take “crap tours” worldwide where he visits more than five casinos in various places. He gambles more than $100,000 per roll on the craps table and is said to play Baccarat up to $200,000 per hand.

Phil Ivey video on beating casino for $30 million!Sands casino bethlehem pa events.

Ramon DeSage

Ramon DeSage is perhaps one of the most prominent gamblers of all time to ever visit the Strip. This very famous whale was charged in a Fraud scheme by the US Government. From the money he obtained from his frauds, he wagered and lost almost $175M in different Las Vegas casinos.

Gambling whale stories caught

Sultan Of Brunei

This monarch is known to be a passionate gambler in London and Las Vegas. He’s known to lose $1M daily inside casinos. He mainly played Baccarat and go on secret trips where he would spend a long time playing at the tables and enjoying all the comps given by the casinos.

So where do these big dogs play? While some are discreet, others enjoy these high limit Vegas card rooms. You never know who you will run into in Sin City.

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Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who helps companies grow their online business. A firm believer in creating great content, he founded to empower world travelers. You can also find his work published at the Huffington Post, Social Media Today, and many other online journals. His latest claim to fame is having his footage of feeding giant crocodiles in Costa Rica featured on Animal Planet. Visit his official site to learn more about him.

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The “whales” of the social-gaming world are a mystery to most of us. As the biggest spenders, they make up a tiny group (think about 2 percent of audiences) that drives most of the revenue for publishers of these games. But the word “whale” isn’t a flattering term, and neither are the numbers associated with it. These are people, not just customers.

It’s easy to think of whales anonymously because we’re not quite sure who they are or how they think — they’re often elusive due to the stigma that surrounds them. We know they play social games, but are they social? Are their habits casual or obsessive? What kind of people are they?

‘Whale’ has many meanings

Whales existed in online and mobile video games long before they started appearing in the West. Longtime game analyst Michael Pachter told GamesBeat that Asia has used free-to-play with microtransactions for 15 years, but it still feels like a relatively new phenomenon here as we wonder whether the business model holds a place in our future.

Today, the idea of a “whale” carries a different weight for each company. 5th Planet Games, a developer of social games for both casual and hardcore audiences, starts classifying its players as whales when they spend $100 or more a month. That’s a big jump from whales on Facebook, for instance, where social gamers could drop $25 per month to meet the same qualification.

5th Planet chief executive Robert Winkler revealed at the Game Developers Conference Online in 2012 that with its game Clash of the Dragons, 40 percent of revenue came from 2 percent of players who spent $1,000 or more. Ninety percent came from those who spent $100 or more, and the top whale had spent $6,700.

Other companies, like social casino developer Blitzoo, defines various categories of whales based on a combination of factors: total money spent, playtime, experience points earned in-game, and so on. Play sessions tend to be three or four times longer than what an average player’s would be.

But these are all still numbers, not faces or personalities. Winkler told us that a strong sense of community is important for encouraging whales to not only engage but also monetize, and that’s a clue to who they are as people.

“We’ve found that most players are more willing to spend money to help out their fellow gamers than to try to defeat them,” he said. “As an example, players who take part in our ‘guilds,’ or groups of players who come together to accomplish communal missions, are 8.5 times more likely to monetize than players who do not belong to a guild, and the ARPU [average revenue per user] of players in our guilds is 53 times higher than other players.”

For that reason, building community is a huge priority for 5th Planet. It’s a way to attract more whales and monetize more successfully.

“This could be by participating in your forums, by running contests and giveaways, by forming special guilds or councils, or simply by talking directly with your players and showing that you’re listening,” said Winkler. “When players feel like they’re part of community, they become more invested in the outcome of game. And when they’re more emotionally invested in the game, they’ll invest with their wallets as well.”

5th Planet declined to inform us whether their whales receive any special benefits, and as for whether these players subsidize the game for others, it only said, “As with any free-to-play game, there are a group of paying players, including whales, whose in-game [spending] allows game houses to bring new, fresh, and updated content to all players.” We were unable to acquire responses from the other companies we spoke with for this article.

Are whales different from ‘normal’ gamers?

Talking to whales isn’t easy; their habits and relationships with social-game publishers are touchy subjects. But as I found with one player, who goes by the handle “Bludex,” all you have to do is disarm their defenses a little. Aside from the amount he spends every month ($100 on average and sometimes as much as $400), he shares many of the same interests and concerns of regular gamers.

Like many whales, Bludex prefers to stick with one or two games — in his case, 5th Planet’s Clash of the Dragons (a free social massively multiplayer online role-playing card game) and Legacy of Heroes (a free collectible card game). He doesn’t stray much into other platforms.

“To me, a game is only as good as its following and associated community,” he said. “Without quick queue times for competitive events and a bustling forum, games tend to lose interest with me.”

He’s not exactly glued to his computer screen, though. Bludex says he plays for roughly 20 minutes in the morning and one to three hours in the evening. Just because he spends a lot of money doesn’t mean this routine conflicts with everyday living.

When I’m at work, I barely have any time to think about games,” he said. “However, most of my social time with friends involves lots of gaming. Board games, card games, going to a casino, playing Magic [the Gathering], etc. So gaming is very important to my social life.”

That’s social life outside of games, not necessarily in them. Bludex supervises a network operations center for a large company and enjoys active pursuits like hiking and eating out at restaurants. That’s part of why he doesn’t prefer single-player experiences.

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“I’m a social being at heart,” he said. “When there’s nobody to share my experience with — whether it be some friendly trash-talking or a virtual high-five of an accomplishment — the games just become less interesting.”

He doesn’t leave those friendships solely online, either. “I have friendships going on 10 years or more with people I game with online that I’ve almost all met in real life at some point or another,” he said. “I would definitely say gaming has been the main driver in my social life both online and offline.”

Like most dedicated gamers, Bludex actively follows news announcements related to the titles he plays, but frequent content additions are what keeps him coming back. With each break he took from Clash of the Dragons, for instance, he returned to check out a new update. And when he played World of Warcraft, he would quit for as long as a year — until Blizzard released a new expansion.

The more we talked, the more Bludex opened up about his passions and thoughts on current issues in the industry, but one question remained: How does it feel to be called a “whale”?

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