5 Richest Gamblers in the World

Worldwide gambling significantly increased in size and scope during the coronavirus pandemic. With lockdowns in place, gamers turned to their phones. Popularity grew among online slots and sports betting platforms.

Despite the slowdown, worldwide sports betting volume totaled nearly $200 billion in 2021. As of 2023, an estimated 1.6 billion people gamble worldwide.

Top gambling events in the U.S. include the Super Bowl and March Madness.

As professionals, the wealthiest gamblers in the world sit atop the gaming industry.

Here’s a look at the top pros and their net worth.

Phil Ivey ($100 Million)

If you watched the World Series of Poker (WSOP) during the poker boom between 2003 and 2006, you’ve probably heard of Phil Ivey. Gamblers don’t typically become mainstream celebrities.

However, in Ivey’s case, regarding gambling, he’s one of the world’s most familiar faces.

In 2000, at 23, Ivey won a Pot Limit Omaha event, capturing his first WSOP bracelet. The spirited win included a heads-up takedown of Amarillo Slim, a Texas professional gambler who’d been inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1992.

Ivey won the first-place prize of $195,000.

Throughout the 2000s, he continued to pick up WSOP bracelets, earning ten in total for his career. Breaking the loudmouthed Phil Hellmuth’s previous record of winning ten WSOP bracelets at 42, Ivey, at 38, became the youngest player ever to earn ten bracelets.

He’s made 31 WSOP final tables and placed in the money 59 times. His biggest win came in 2005 for a Pot Limit Omaha tournament with a first-place prize of $635,603.

Ivey also won the World Poker Tour (WPT) in 2008, earning almost $1.6 million. As of 2023, he’s earned nearly $40 million from live tournament winnings.

Known as one of the best poker players in the world, Ivey may possess a net worth of over $100 million.

Daniel Negreanu ($60 – $75 Million)

Daniel Negreanu is another familiar name in the world of poker. Hailing from Canada, Negreanu boasts of winning over $40 million in poker tournaments.

Born in Toronto, Negreanu currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. He’s made a living by playing poker there, including 148 WSOP money finishes, 45 final tables, and six bracelets.

He’s also the first player in WSOP history to make the final table at three separate bracelet-awarding locations (Las Vegas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe).

For his 2013 Asia-Pacific bracelet, he won the No Limit Hold’em Main Event worth over one million in Australian dollars. Later in the year, he won a High Roller No Limit Hold’em event in France, earning €725,000.

Those wins came almost a decade after Negreanu won two WPT titles in 2004, taking home nearly $3 million in prize money.

He’s also published books and articles on poker, contributed to a 38-section MasterClass on poker theory, and maintains a YouTube channel with over 750,000 subscribers.

Negreanu’s estimated net worth is around $60 – $75 million, making him one of the world’s wealthiest gamblers and professional poker players.

Edward O. Thorp ($800 Million)

Born in 1932, Edward Thorp is one of the wealthiest gamblers in history. As an American mathematics professor, author, hedge fund manager, and researcher, he published Beat the Dealer in 1962.

The book introduced the concept of card counting to improve a player’s chances of beating the house at blackjack. Selling millions of copies to date, it changed the rules at casinos.

His ideas associated with probability theory to generate financial gains from small correlations may apply to any bankroll or table game, including online roulette gambling.

In the late 1960s, Thorp took his knowledge of probability and statistics into investing.

Today, Thorp maintains a net worth of around $800 million.

Billy Walters ($200 Million)

An entrepreneur and philanthropist from Kentucky, Billy Walters might be one of the world’s most famous and wealthiest sports bettors. Born in 1946, Walters claims to have had over 30 consecutive winning seasons as a gambler.

He found early success as a car salesman in Louisville before starting his own business in 1972. Less than a decade later, he left the industry to become a full-time sports bettor and bookmaker.

He became well-known as a controversial high-roller at casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In 2010, Walters won a $3.5 million bet on the New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl XLIV.

Walters was convicted of insider trading in 2017 and sentenced to five years. President Donald Trump commuted Walters’ sentence in January 2021.

Known as “the Michael Jordan of sports betting,” Walters plans to publish a book entitled Gambler in 2023.

Kerry Packer ($5 Billion)

Kerry Packer, an Australian media tycoon, was born in 1937. He inherited his father’s estate worth $100 million in 1974. He maintained shares in media networks through his family’s holding company.

On his path to becoming a billionaire, Packer also got involved in gambling through the Crown Casino in Melbourne, as a subsidiary of Crown Resorts.

Packer’s fame increased with significant wins and losses worth tens of millions at London and Las Vegas casinos.

Upon his death in late 2005, an anonymous casino executive told Cigar Aficionado that Packer might have lost as much as $20 million on the Strip in the previous 15 years.

He played up to $300,000 per hand at baccarat, doled out $100,000 bankrolls to his entourage, and left six-figure tips for his dealers.

Chances Are, Gambling Won’t Make You Rich

The world’s wealthiest gamblers offer a diverse look into how these professionals earned their loot. For most players, gambling won’t get them rich.

Poker players hone their craft through repetition, strategy, and reading others. Online gambling offers beginners the chance to test their bankrolls at sports betting, slots, poker, blackjack, and more—from a cell phone.

Gambling remains a form of entertainment; only the sturdiest players turn it into a profession.

What’s your favorite way to gamble?

Check out some online roulette strategies to improve your chances of winning.