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5 of the Greatest Gambling Losses in History

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5 of the Greatest Gambling Losses in HistoryGambling, with its tantalizing promise of wealth and excitement, has a dark side that often remains hidden behind the glittering lights of casinos and the thrill of high-stakes games. Some individuals, driven by the pursuit of fortune, have experienced monumental losses that stand as cautionary tales in the world of gambling. Here, we explore five of the greatest gambling losses in history, revealing the devastating consequences of risking it all on the roll of a dice or the turn of a card.

1) Terrance Watanabe – $204 Million in a Year

In the mid-2000s, Terrance Watanabe, a successful businessman, found himself in the midst of a gambling spree that would go down in history. He visited the Caesars Palace and the Rio casinos in Las Vegas, where he wagered an astonishing $204 million in a single year. Watanabe’s game of choice was high-stakes baccarat, and his luck seemed to have run out. By the end of his gambling binge, he had lost an eye-watering $204 million, making it one of the most significant individual losses ever recorded.

2) Harry Kakavas – $164 Million in 14 Months

Australian businessman Harry Kakavas had a penchant for high-stakes gambling, particularly at the baccarat tables of the Crown Casino in Melbourne. During a frenzied 14-month period, Kakavas managed to lose an astounding $164 million. His addiction to gambling led him to sue the casino, claiming they took advantage of his compulsive behavior. The legal battle that ensued shed light on the dark side of the gambling industry and the responsibilities casinos bear when dealing with high-rolling, addicted gamblers.

3) Akio Kashiwagi – $10 Million in a Single Baccarat Session

Known as the “Warrior of Baccarat,” Akio Kashiwagi was a Japanese real estate tycoon who loved to live on the edge. In 1992, he faced off against Donald Trump at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Kashiwagi’s favored game was baccarat, and during one memorable session, he lost an astonishing $10 million. Despite his willingness to take risks, Kashiwagi’s luck eventually ran out when he was found murdered in his home in 1992, a crime that remains unsolved to this day.

4) Charles Barkley – Estimated $10 Million in Gambling Losses

Charles Barkley, the NBA Hall of Famer, is renowned for his achievements on the basketball court. However, off the court, Barkley developed a notorious reputation for his high-stakes gambling. Estimates suggest that Barkley has lost around $10 million over the years through sports betting and casino games. Despite his losses, Barkley maintains a candid attitude about his gambling habits, acknowledging both the highs and lows that come with the territory.

5) Kerry Packer – $20 Million in a Single Blackjack Session

Kerry Packer, the Australian media mogul and billionaire, was known for his extravagant lifestyle and penchant for risk-taking. In 1999, Packer engaged in a legendary blackjack session at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The stakes were jaw-dropping, with Packer reportedly losing $20 million in a single night. However, Packer’s immense wealth allowed him to weather such losses without significant financial repercussions, demonstrating that even the most substantial losses can be absorbed by those with the means.


The stories of these individuals serve as cautionary tales about the perils of excessive gambling. While the allure of winning big is undeniable, the risks involved can lead to devastating consequences. These five cases highlight the thin line between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in the high-stakes world of gambling.

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Unveiling the Glitz and Glamour: Stories Behind 5 Unique Pieces of Vegas Memorabilia

Unveiling the Glitz and Glamour: Stories Behind 5 Unique Pieces of Vegas MemorabiliaLas Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World, is synonymous with extravagance, glamour, and unforgettable moments. Beyond the bustling casinos and neon lights, there lies a treasure trove of Vegas memorabilia that encapsulates the city’s rich history. In this article, we’ll delve into the stories behind five unique pieces of Vegas memorabilia, each carrying a piece of the city’s iconic past.

1) Elvis Presley’s Rhinestone Jumpsuit (1970s):

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, left an indelible mark on Las Vegas during his residency at the International Hotel (now the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino) in the 1970s. One of the most iconic pieces of Vegas memorabilia is Elvis’s rhinestone-studded jumpsuit, worn during his electrifying performances. The jumpsuit, adorned with intricate beadwork and embellishments, reflects the opulence and showmanship that defined Vegas entertainment. Today, this piece of rock history commands a hefty price tag of over $1 million and stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the legendary Elvis Presley.

2) Rat Pack Signed Show Poster (1960s):

During the 1960s, the Rat Pack—comprising Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford—ruled the Vegas strip with their charisma and talent. A rare and coveted piece of Vegas memorabilia is a show poster signed by the Rat Pack during their iconic performances at the Sands Hotel and Casino. This piece of history, with authentic signatures from the legendary entertainers, serves as a tangible connection to the golden era of Vegas entertainment. Auctioned for over $15,000, this signed poster encapsulates the camaraderie and star power that defined the Rat Pack’s heyday.

3) Original Stardust Casino Sign (1958-2007):

The Stardust Hotel and Casino, with its iconic neon sign and futuristic architecture, was a landmark on the Vegas Strip for nearly 50 years. In 2007, the Stardust was demolished to make way for new developments, but a piece of its legacy lives on through original memorabilia. One of the most sought-after items is an authentic section of the Stardust’s neon sign. These pieces, with their distinctive design and historical significance, are highly prized by collectors. Prices vary depending on the size and condition, with smaller sections fetching around $2,000 and larger pieces commanding upwards of $10,000.

4) Vintage Showgirl Costume (1960s-1970s):

The allure of the showgirl has been a quintessential part of Vegas entertainment history. Vintage showgirl costumes from the 1960s and 1970s evoke the glamour and sophistication of the iconic Las Vegas revues. Adorned with sequins, feathers, and elaborate headdresses, these costumes represent the epitome of Vegas extravagance. Collectors and enthusiasts can acquire authentic showgirl costumes from renowned productions, with prices ranging from $500 to several thousand dollars. Each costume tells a story of the dazzling performances that once graced the stages of iconic Vegas venues like the Tropicana and the Flamingo.

5) Original Slot Machine (Early 20th Century):

The slot machine is a symbol of the Vegas gaming experience, and original machines from the early 20th century are highly sought after by collectors. These antique slot machines, with their intricate designs and mechanical charm, harken back to the early days of Las Vegas gaming. Authentic machines can fetch significant sums at auctions and private sales, with prices ranging from $5,000 to over $100,000, depending on factors such as rarity, condition, and historical significance. Owning an original slot machine allows enthusiasts to possess a tangible piece of Vegas’s gaming heritage.


Vegas memorabilia is more than just collectibles; it’s a journey through the glitz, glamour, and history of the Entertainment Capital of the World. Whether it’s Elvis’s rhinestone jumpsuit, a Rat Pack signed poster, a piece of the Stardust’s neon sign, a vintage showgirl costume, or an original slot machine, each item tells a unique story of the city’s vibrant past. These pieces of Vegas history, with their price tags reflecting their rarity and cultural significance, allow collectors and enthusiasts to own a tangible piece of the magic that defines Las Vegas.

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Stu Ungar: The Legend of Poker

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Stu Ungar: The Legend of PokerStuart Errol Ungar, widely known as Stu Ungar, was an American professional poker and gin rummy player, widely regarded as one of the greatest card players of all time. Born on September 8, 1953, in Manhattan, New York, Stu Ungar’s life was marked by incredible highs and devastating lows, creating a poker legacy that still resonates in the gambling world today.

Stu Ungar’s journey into the world of poker began at a young age when he started playing gin rummy with his father. His natural talent for card games quickly became apparent, and by the age of 10, he was already beating his father regularly. This early exposure to card games laid the foundation for what would become an illustrious career in poker.

Ungar’s major poker successes are characterized by five significant points that showcase his unparalleled skill and dominance at the poker table:

1) Back-to-Back World Series of Poker Main Event Wins:

Stu Ungar’s name became synonymous with the World Series of Poker (WSOP) when he achieved the unprecedented feat of winning the Main Event in consecutive years, 1980 and 1981. His aggressive playing style and ability to read opponents set him apart, making him the youngest player at the time to win two back-to-back Main Events. These victories solidified his place in poker history and earned him the nickname “The Kid.”

2) Mastering Multiple Poker Variants:

Stu Ungar’s prowess extended beyond no-limit Texas Hold’em. He excelled in various poker variants, showcasing his versatility and comprehensive understanding of the game. His victories included triumphs in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP in 1983, further emphasizing his skill across a spectrum of poker disciplines.

3) Unmatched Gin Rummy Success:

Before making his mark in poker, Stu Ungar was already a legend in the world of gin rummy. He won several major gin rummy tournaments and championships, displaying an innate ability to outplay his opponents and manipulate the cards in his favor. This success in gin rummy contributed to his strategic approach and sharp card-playing skills in poker.

4) Triple Crown Achievement:

In 1997, Stu Ungar accomplished a remarkable milestone in poker by completing the Triple Crown – victories in the WSOP Main Event, the Super Bowl of Poker, and the World Poker Finals. This achievement underscored his dominance across various high-profile tournaments and solidified his status as one of the greatest poker players in history.

5) Tragic Personal Demise:

Despite his incredible success at the poker table, Stu Ungar’s life took a tragic turn due to drug addiction and personal struggles. His inability to manage success off the felt led to a downward spiral that ultimately contributed to his untimely death in 1998 at the age of 45. Stu Ungar’s tragic demise serves as a cautionary tale within the poker community, highlighting the importance of balance and responsible behavior outside of the game.

Stu Ungar’s legacy endures as a testament to his extraordinary talent and undeniable impact on the world of poker. While his life may have been marked by both triumphs and tragedies, his contributions to the game and his influence on subsequent generations of players remain indelible.

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  • This isn’t a photo of Stu Ungar

4 Main Protagonists in Louis Theroux’s Gambling In Las Vegas (Including ‘The Mattress King’)

Image by Freepik4 Main Protagonists in Louis Theroux's Gambling In Las Vegas (Including 'The Mattress King')One of my favourite gambling documentaries has to be Louis Theroux’s Gambling In Las Vegas which aired back in 2007 on BBC 2. After all these years later (17 years), I can still remember this crazy cast of gamblers and their stories. Presented by Theroux he heads to the Las Vegas Hilton to reveal the world behind the myths of casino culture. Directed by Stuart Cabb, it also stars Richard Wilk, the ‘Whale Hunter who had clients commit suicide over gambling losses’ tempting The Mattress King to gamble hell-and-all cash.

This episode had a run time of 60 minutes and well received by viewers and critics alike.

Let’s reminisce about a few of these infamous gamblers which include:

1) Allan Erlick ‘The Mattress King’:

Allan ‘The Mattress King‘ is a high-roller gambler (a whale) who enjoys a gamble at Las Vegas. He’s seen sitting at the roulette table winning $50,000. Louis asked: ‘You’re winning money, why not stop now?’ Allan replies with a smile: ‘Gamblers never stop.’ You just knew it was going to take a downward trajectory from there. Allan, from Toronto, Canada is a high-roller on a mission to bet big. He gets the best suite in the Hilton free of charge (the most expensive room he ever stayed). As his friend Richard Wilk’s says: ‘This is your home for three days!’ He has his own butler, too. Allan says: ‘I could go to any hotel but I go where Rich goes. We’re friends first, business later. We’ve had one argument in 10 years! He works for the casino but he’s rooting for me to win.’ Louis says: Vegas, they didn’t build this place on winners!’  The next morning Allan was ready to roll to the sound track of Elvis Presley ‘It’s Now or Never’. Playing roulette, Allan couldn’t find a winner. he was risking $4K a spin. Louis asks: ‘Is there any technique to where you are putting the chips?’ Allan says: ‘I’m just picking what I feel. I’ve been gambling since I was 16. My wife doesn’t like me gambling. It’s not a good thing.’  On the second day Allan was losing heavily after losing $80K on the slots.  Alan says: ‘Who is counting? It’s a gambler’s problem, knowing when to quit!’

2) Martha ‘Gambling Her Son’s Inheritance’:

Martha, a heavy smoker in her 80s, has been a regular at the casino for over 7 years and lost over $4M. The casino even paid for the memorial service of her late husband (Sam). ‘It was so beautiful. It  didn’t cost me one penny!’ She sits at the slots playing with a smile on her face and without a care in the world. However, he long-suffering son (Seth) (clearly in a no-win situation) says he doesn’t mind his mother gambling away his inheritance.  She says: ‘Whatever is left he can have.’  I’m sure Sigmund Freud would be able to explain this family dynamic. Casino man Tommy Brown looks after Martha Ogman, a retired doctor, who plays high-limit slots. Tommy said: She’s our number one guest, a beautiful woman.’ Martha says: ‘This is my second home!’ What’s more surprising (or not) is that she’s been going to the casino for the last 10 year, every day.  Tommy say: ‘We value her! It’s a place of enjoyment. We don’t want you to lose your house.’  The next day Louis joins Martha to play the slots. He asks: ‘Is there any skill involved?’  She answers: ‘No!’ Louis asks if Martha is addicted to gambling. She says: ‘I’ve never been addicted to anything in my life. Why would I stop, I’m enjoying myself?’ Louis asks: ‘Are you going to run out of money? ‘ She replies: ‘No.’ Martha said: ‘My husband and son never tell me what to do. I do what I think is right.’ ‘If there’s nothing left, there’s nothing left.’

3) Richard Wilk: ‘Whale Hunter!’:

The man who brings the biggest gamblers into the casino and make sure they keep gambling. Supposedly, one of his closest friends Allan Erlick ‘The Mattress Man’ is in his sights. Wilk’s calls him ‘The Mattress King’ because he owns one of the biggest mattress businesses in Canada. Wilk’s says: He’s a friend, high-roller and the godfather to my little girl!’ (I wonder what he does to his enemies!).  Allan truly is a lamb to the slaughter. When talking about Allan losing an estimated $160K he says: ‘Who am I to tell people what to do with their money?’

4) John Rominelli & Tim Nordahl: ‘Salesmen On A 3-Day Blitz’:

I’m not sure which is John or Tim, but the one with the beard looks quite smug telling Louis he is up ’10G’, while detailing that his friend over the year is down $160,000. Which he says, smiling: ‘It’s not true! He’s full of it! I’m not in the hole at all.’ I must admit I love these two gamblers. You just know something is going to go tragically wrong after the ’10G’ man says: I try to play as consistently as possible.’   I can’t help smile at the two friends who keep laughing at each other and almost insisting each is a big-time loser. Louis asks: ‘Will you be doing any gambling tonight?’ The smug bearded man replied: ‘Absolutely.’ Laughing, he says: ‘Isn’t that why people come to Vegas?’   Later that evening Louis met up with the pair who had been on The Strip. It had been 24-hours since he last talked to them. Louis asks: ‘What happened?’ The bearded bloke, looking half stressed if not nervous said: ‘I’m down 14 or 15K, plush the ’10G’ I won!’ Louis says: ‘So, you’re down $24k.’ The bloke replies: ‘It sucks!’ He smiles as Louis asks: ‘Have you been having a wonderful time?’  He carries on gambling, with his friend smiling in the background, saying he is going to teach Louis how to win. (You can tell this is1n’t going to end well). Chewing gum, John an extrovert gambler says: ‘I’m not a quitter.’  Playing roulette with Louis (who was winning) John continued to lose. He says: ‘This is unbelievable. I haven’t won a hand in half an hour.’  John walks away from the table a dejected figure clearly stressed out. Tim bets $400 on a hand and wins. ‘That’s how you do it, man.’ We see the camera zoom to John at another table shaking his head after losing more cash. He comes back to the table to see how Louis is doing. Louis asks: ‘How you doing?’ John replies: ‘Forget about me.’ John’s losing streak continued. To be fair, I felt sorry for John. Tim says: ‘Don’t be negative.’ In the background we hear the familiar sound of Elvis It’s Now or Never. With John chasing his losses Louis finished the evening with one last big bet. He won! Tim said he lost $4K. ‘Only bet what you can afford to lose.’ He points to John in the distance laughing, he says: ‘That’s what you don’t want to do!’ Louis asks John: ‘How you doing?’ He replies: ‘Horribly.’ Tim starts sing: ‘You gotta know when to hold’em, you gotta know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.’ It’s truly a scene of desperation.

Excellent TV.

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The Art of Deception: 5 Amateur Cheats That Players Attempt in Las Vegas Casinos

Image by on Freepikcard cheat casino Las Vegas, known as the gambling capital of the world, attracts millions of visitors seeking the thrill of the casino floor. While most patrons play by the rules, some are tempted to try their luck through less-than-honest means. In this article, we explore the amateur cheats that players occasionally attempt in Las Vegas casinos – tactics that, more often than not, end in swift ejection or legal consequences.

1) Sleight of Hand with Cards:

One of the oldest tricks in the book involves players trying to manipulate cards through sleight of hand. Amateurs might attempt to switch cards or subtly mark them to gain an advantage. However, modern casinos employ advanced surveillance systems and skilled dealers who are adept at spotting even the slightest deviations. The risk of being caught and banned from the premises far outweighs any potential gains.

2) Chip Switching:

Some amateurs try their luck by attempting to switch lower denomination chips for higher ones when cashing out. This tactic involves quick and discreet movements, hoping that the cashier or security won’t notice. However, casinos are vigilant about chip counts, and discrepancies are swiftly identified. Not only does this cheat jeopardize the player’s chances of ever returning to the casino, but it may also lead to legal consequences.

3) Collusion Among Players:

Amateur cheats occasionally attempt to collaborate with others at the table to gain an unfair advantage. This could involve signaling or sharing information about their hands to give them an edge over other players. Casino staff are trained to recognize suspicious behavior, and collusion is taken seriously. Once detected, those involved are likely to face expulsion and possibly legal action.

4) Past Posting in Roulette:

Past posting is a tactic where a player places or changes a bet after the outcome is known. In roulette, an amateur cheat might try to add or remove chips from the table after the ball has landed. However, casinos have sophisticated security measures in place, including high-resolution cameras and attentive staff. Attempting past posting is a surefire way to attract unwanted attention and face the consequences.

5) Fake IDs or Impersonation:

Some amateurs attempt to enter casinos using fake identification or by impersonating someone else to gain access to privileges they would not otherwise have. Casinos invest heavily in identity verification, employing technology and well-trained staff to spot fraudulent activity. Getting caught using a fake ID can lead to being blacklisted from the casino and, in extreme cases, facing legal repercussions.


While the allure of winning big in Las Vegas can be irresistible, attempting to cheat the system is a dangerous game with severe consequences. Casinos invest heavily in security measures to ensure fair play and maintain their reputation. Amateur cheats may find initial success in their attempts, but the odds of getting caught are stacked against them. The penalties, ranging from expulsion to legal action, far outweigh any potential gains. In the world of Las Vegas casinos, it’s always wiser to play by the rules for an enjoyable and trouble-free experience.

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