There are always only two options when you enter a real or online casino – you’re either going to win or lose.
Although gambling responsibly is the only way to prevent major losses, let’s face it – it isn’t always easy.
If you’re winning, you might be tempted to push your luck. And, if you’re losing, you might try to recover your losses by doubling your bets.
Truth is, unless you know when to stop betting, you might lose much more than you’d expect.
Don’t believe us?
Read along and learn about the biggest casino losers of all time, the mistakes they made while gambling, and 5 casino safety tips that will prevent you from becoming one of them!
10 Biggest Casino Losers of All Time
Without further ado, here are the 10 biggest casino losers:
#1. Maureen O’Connor
Incurred losses: over $1 billion
Game of choice: Video poker
Maureen O’Connor, the former mayor of San Diego and the only female on the list of biggest casino losers, is among the players with the highest wager amounts. She is also the biggest casino loser to date, and her story serves as a cautionary tale to all gamblers.
Between 2000 and 2009, O’Connor won nearly $1 billion playing video poker. She was a real high roller, and some casinos on the Las Vegas Strip would even send private jets to bring her from San Diego.
However, O’Connors uncontrollable gambling habit caused her to lose all of her winnings (and more!) as well as steal over $2 million from her late husband’s foundation to cover massive gambling debts.
#2. Terry Watanabe
Incurred losses: $205 million
Game of choice: Blackjack
With estimated total losses of $205 million, the businessman Terrance Watanabe is one of the biggest casino losers of all time.
What sets Watanbe apart from other biggest casino losers, however, is that he wasn’t particularly good at blackjack.
In some sittings, for example, he would play three hands simultaneously on the $50,000 limit table, often hitting even when he was on twenty, hoping for an ace.
Incurred losses: £191 million
Game of choice: Roulette
Fouad-al-Zayat was a Syrian businessman and a die-hard high stakes roulette player.
In 2008, Fouad sued six UK casinos after losing over £190 million at roulette in the span of 15 years.
Out of the millions of pounds that Fouad-al-Zayat lost, he lost £2.25 the first night he opened an account at London’s Aspinall’s casino. In fact, during the first fifteen minutes of playing, Fouad lost £500,000.
However, this loss didn’t discourage the Syrian businessman from gambling, as went on to become a regular at the Aspinall’s casino for several years.
Eventually, all Al-Zayat’s assets were frozen due to gambling debts, including a luxurious 747 jumbo jet.
#4. Omar Siddiqui
Incurred losses: $162 million
Game of choice: Blackjack
Omar Siddiqui, also know as Mr. S in the gambling world, was an executive at an electronics firm who set up a massive skimming scheme to steal millions of dollars in kickbacks.
Siddiqui spent all this money in his favorite place – Las Vegas Strip casinos, where he was known as Mr. S. In fact, most casinos on the strip competed for his attention, and with good reason.
Siddiqui was a high-stakes blackjack player known for his extremely large bets. He would easily bet a fifth of a million dollars on a game.
Between 2005 and 2008, Siddiqui gambled away over $162 million and in 2011, he filed for bankruptcy.
As of today, Siddiqui remains among the most sued gamblers in casinos around the States for unpaid gambling debts, and one of the biggest casino losers of all time.
#5. Archie Karas
Incurred losses: $40 million
Game of choice: Baccarat, poker, pool, and dice
It’s difficult to say if Archie Karas, famous for having the longest winning streak in gambling history, is a loser or a winner.
In his heyday, Karas was known to gamblers all over the world for his huge stakes, as he always bet at the highest limit. Because of this, even the best poker and baccarat players were intimidated of him.
In 1995, with a combination of baccarat, poker, pool, and dice, Karas turned $50 into over $40 million in Vegas. A year later, he lost it all in just three weeks, making him one of the biggest casino losers of all time.
#6. Charles Barkley
Incurred losses: $30 million
Game of choice: Baccarat, roulette, blackjack, and dice
Charles Barkley is a former basketball player who lost nearly everything he earned during his basketball career. His losses at high stakes baccarat, blackjack, dice, and roulette amount to around $30 million.
In contrast to most biggest casino losers on this list, however, Bakley played for fun rather than to win.
In 2006, the NBA player lost more than $2.5 million in just two hours, yet it hasn’t stopped him from gambling. As of today, he still remains one of the most famous high rollers in the gambling world.
#7. Kerry Packer
Incurred losses: £20 million
Game of choice: Roulette
Kerry Packer, an Australian media mogul, had the single largest losing run in the UK casino history. It took him less than a month to become one of the biggest casino losers.
Packer lost approximately £20 million over three weeks in 1999.
Although Packer was among the biggest casino losers, he wasn’t a sore loser at all. On the contrary, Packer was known as one of the most generous, kindest, and good-spirited gamblers. He would often treat casino staff with generous gifts and even offered one waitress to pay off her mortgage.
#8. Frank Sarakakis
Incurred losses: £13 million
Game of choice: Roulette
If you let your emotions take over, you can easily start chasing your losses while playing roulette, doubling up on every wager in an effort to recover your money.
That’s exactly what happened to Frank Sarakakis, a Greek automobile magnate.
In 1994, Frank Sarakakis became one of the biggest casino losers. Over the course of a year, he lost £13 million at the Crockfords gambling casino in London in a continuous attempt to recover his losses.
However, this wasn’t Sararakis’ first time losing millions of pounds. In 1988, he lost a similar amount at the Ritz casino.
#9. Akio Kashiwagi
Incurred losses: $10 million
Game of choice: Baccarat
In 1992, Akio Kashiwagi was known as the world’s biggest gambler of the time.
Being the world’s largest gambler, it’s no surprise that Kashiwagi set the record for the biggest baccarat loss of all time – an estimated $10m in a single session at the Trump Casino.
The bad luck, however, didn’t end there. Shortly after becoming one of the biggest casino losers of all time, he was stabbed to death outside his home.
#10. Jimmy White
Incurred losses: £3 million
Game of choice: Blackjack and poker
Being one of the world’s greatest snooker players was not enough for Jimmy White, as he also had to become one of the biggest casino losers of all time.
As far as the snooker legend can remember, he lost up to £3 million at blackjack and poker.
Eventually, irresponsible gambling led Jimmy White to bankruptcy, despite being among the richest snooker players in the world.
5 Casino Safety Tips to Use Today
Don’t want to be among the biggest casino losers? We’ve got you covered!
Use these casino safety tips to gamble responsibly:
- Look for licensed casinos. The UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) requirements must be followed by all casinos in the UK. So, if a casino of your choosing doesn’t state that it is licensed by the UKGC or another well-known body, you should generally avoid it.
- Read the casino’s terms & conditions carefully. Each casino has its own set of regulations. Certain casinos, for example, will have KYC (Know Your Customer) regulations in place, such as requiring a scanned passport when depositing or withdrawing money.
- Read the casino’s review section. It’s a good idea to check the reviews and see what fellow players have to say about the website once they’ve tried it out. If the gamers have given favorable feedback, it’s a good indicator; bear in mind, however, that this doesn’t always guarantee that you will also have the same experience with the online casino.
- Check the software providers. Secure casinos, overall, provide games created by reputable software companies. NetEnt, Microgaming, and others are among them. These companies examine their games for fairness and accreditation, so seeing them at an online casino is a good sign that they’re the real deal.
- Don’t chase your losses. Besides a passion for gambling, the biggest casino losers have one thing in common: they try to recover their losses by increasing their bets. Most often, however, this leads to major losses. So, if you’ve lost three games in a row, your best option is to try your luck next time.
- Set a budget. Before starting the game, determine how much money you’re willing to lose. By setting a budget and sticking to it, you can ensure that you won’t lose more than you can afford.