It’s every gambler’s dream to walk away from a casino with a big jackpot win. Classic games like poker, blackjack and other table games have been studied endlessly by savvy players hoping to improve their “luck” when they sit down to play. Some folks train for years in order to maximize their winnings at the tables. Other players just enjoy watching how the game plays out and count their blessings if they win.
Most often, casino wins are modest. But sometimes a gambler will walk away with a life-changing amount of money. In this article we’ll review the five biggest wins in gambling history. Did these players have superhuman skills, luck on their side, or a little bit of both? Perhaps we’ll never know, but that’s what makes gambling so entertaining. Read on and maybe you’ll discover a secret for yourself.
Poker Playing Prodigy - Antonio Esfandiari - $18.3 Million
When you think about large gambling wins, most people immediately think of poker. After all, the popularity of World Series of Poker events is astounding, and for good reason. People love to watch skilled players having fun and winning big.
Many poker players are celebrities in their own right, and one of the biggest poker celebs is Antonio Esfandiari. Esfandiari has that magical balance of skill and luck that has led to a solid track record of big wins over his career. His biggest purse was won in 2012 at the WSOP’s Big One for One Drop which remains to this day one of the largest poker prizes ever at $18.3 million.
Sports Betting Sensations
Sports can be a lot more fun to watch if you have a little skin in the game. The prize purses aren’t as large as some table games and slots, but it’s always exciting when your favorite team (or player, or horse) wins, and you get to join in on the excitement.
This happened in 2015 to Dave Oancea (aka Vegas Dave), who famously bet $140,000 on the Kansas City Royals, a team that hadn’t won a World Series in 30 years. His wager paid off for him and he walked away with a cool $2.5 million.
Other notable sports betting wins include engineer Steve Whiteley, who wagered £2 on six horses and won a whopping £1.4 million. There’s also sports celebrity Charles Barkley, who won $800,000 betting on the Super Bowl in 2002. That said, he had to wager $500,000 to get it, so the return on investment wasn’t as thrilling in his case.
The Baron Of Blackjack - Kerry Packer - $40 Million
It’s commonly known in business that you need to spend money to make money. And, in the case of Kerry Packer, the same could be said for gambling. This Australian businessman still holds the title for the largest-ever win at blackjack. In a single evening, he bet more than $250,000 on eight different tables and walked away with a $40-million purse. It probably didn’t hurt that he was also a billionaire media tycoon who could easily afford to lose the $250K he wagered—but it’s still fun to think about winning that kind of cash.
Slot Machine Stunner - Some Random Guy - $39.7 Million
You could have all the gambling skills in the world, but sometimes a huge win comes down to simple luck. This happened in 2003 to an anonymous young computer engineer who put $100 in a Megabucks game at the Excalibur casino and walked away with almost $40 million in coins.
Roulette Wheel Wizard - Pedro Grendene Bartelle - $3.5 Million
Picture a classic casino and you’ll almost always think of the roulette wheel. If you love the thrill of a game that’s pure chance, then winning big when the spinning wheel stops is a top casino thrill. Pedro Grendene Bartelle got to experience this sensation when he won $3.5 million in 2017. He went all-in with $100,000 in chips on Red 32, which made him an instant millionaire.
What Games Have The Biggest Gambling Wins?
In the world of casino gambling, some games pay out more regardless of skill or luck. So, if you’re looking to win an eye-watering amount of money, slot games are your friend. They’re entirely based on chance, so no matter the sum you walk away with, it’s always thrilling when you win.
The best part? You don’t have to be a high-roller or even set foot in a casino to win big. If luck is on your side, you may end up like the anonymous Swedish player who landed $24 million on online slot Mega Fortune (how appropriate!). His 25-cent investment really paid off for him, and it could for you, too! Best of luck on your gambling adventures!