Legend: Greek Gambler Who Took Vegas for a Ride

Archie KarasThere are many great legendary gamblers and stories from the 20th century. The most famous story was the incredible gambling run of Greek immigrant Archie Karas. Karas was born in Antypata, Greece in 1950 and went to the United States as a young man with only a few dollars in his pockets. Who would have guessed that Karas would one day turn $50 into millions and millions by doing what he loved most, gambling?

While his legend became well known in Vegas circles, it was his incredible run at Binions Casino that began in 1992 that has become the greatest gambling story ever told. He began with a $10,000 stake. He started by winning over $3 million in a pool game. He took his winnings straight to Binions where he jumped into a poker game with some of poker’s greatest that included Chip Reese, Stu Ungar, Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. He wiped them all out and walked away with $17 million.

Over the next couple of years, he went on an indescribable run at the crap and baccarat tables. It was mentioned at one time that he may have had all of the $5,000 chips that the casino issued and was rumored to have made a serious offer to buy the casino in exchange for the chips. By the end of 1995, he had amassed an estimated $40 million.

As any one could have predicted, the story does not have a happy ending. As his winning streak came to an end, a devastating losing streak ensued. Over several weeks, he managed to lose every dime playing his favorite games, poker, craps and baccarat. For Karas, it wasn’t about winning or losing, he loved the action. At that time, he was considered to be the biggest gambler in the world and he claimed the title of the man who gambled more money than any other man in history.