It’s many people’s dream to be the person who walks away from the casino with a life-changing amount of money – and many do manage it. And it’s not just in the traditional “bricks and mortar” casinos where fortunes can be won. It’s also a phenomenon that happens online too.
A prime example is the British soldier Jon Heywood who, back in 2015, won an incredible £13.2 million ($16.3 million) playing online slots. Impressive as this might be, it’s nothing like the lifetime winnings that professional casino players can make, as we’re about to demonstrate.
Of course, it takes a special combination of skill and luck to build up these kinds of net worth, and all seven of our featured casino pros have plenty of both.
Bryn Kenney: Net worth $56 million
Kenney had an unusual route into becoming a highly respected poker player first starting out by playing Magic. The Gathering card game competitively. In 2007 he transitioned to poker where his skills soon shone out. It might have taken him another seven years to win his first WSOP bracelet but two years later, in 2016, he cemented his position among the greats by winning $1,687,800 in the $100K Super High Roller event. More recently he has moved online where he has also enjoyed phenomenal success. If he’s looking to expand his online winning potential it could well be time to check out the slingo demo at the Megaways Casino. It’s one of the newest and most exciting online games out there that combines slots and bingo in one big money experience.
Doyle Brunson: Net worth $75 million
Next up is another poker player, but one who had a more orthodox introduction to the game starting out in Fort Worth as a young man. Since then his stellar five decades long career has seen him achieve several feats including being the first ever player to win $1 million in a poker game as well as winning the prestigious WSOP Main Event twice. He’s also only one of three players to win WSOP events four years running – so it’s really no big surprise he’s earned himself a place in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Chris Ferguson: Net worth $80 million
There are many strings to the bow of Chris Ferguson. Besides being a highly successful poker player he is also the holder of a PhD in computer science from UCLA as well as being a professional dancer and club owner. He started honing his poker skills from the tender age of just ten and attended his first WSOP event in 1995. It was the seven card stud event in 2000 that saw him pick up his first WSOP bracelet along with a prize pot of $151,000. His very best year to date has been 2017 in which he picked up $8,900,000 in live tournament winnings with $6,000,000 of the impressive total coming from no less than 90 WSOP cash-outs.
Phil Ivey: Net worth $100 million
Another early starter in the world of poker, Phil Ivey first began to play in 1985 at the age of eight. Since then his meteoric rise in the game has earned him the nickname “The Tiger Woods of Poker”. That’s because there is hardly a high profile tournament or event that he hasn’t managed to win. The only player with more WSOP bracelets is Phil Hellmuth but Ivey’s ten are a testament to his abilities. Even more remarkable is the fact that his single biggest pay-out has been $250,000 in the 2014 Aussie Millions LK competition – and it says a great deal about how often he has won other tournaments to amass his $100 million fortune.
Dan Bilzerian: Net worth $200 million
The Armenian/American player may have had something of a head start following a large inheritance from his parents, but his money-making abilities have shone through nonetheless. He’s a bold player, attracted only by games with the highest stakes. 2014 was the standout year for him when he featured heavily in the winners’ tables at the WSOP. This may well have encouraged him to run for US president in the 2016 election. It turned out that he was a better poker player than he was a politician.
William “Billy” Walters: Net worth $200 million
Walters is an exception in this list having amassed a fortune not from poker but from roulette and sports betting. In 1986 he managed to notch up total winnings at the roulette table of almost $4 million, breaking a record of $1.28 million set by Richard Jarecki fifteen years earlier. He claims that he now expects to win between $50 and $60 million a year and his biggest single sports betting success came in 2009. In this he bet on the underdogs the New Orleans Saints to win SuperBowl XLIV and walked away with a cool $3.5 million himself.
Edward Thorp: Net worth $800 million
Phil Ivey might be the Tiger Woods of poker but Edward Thorp is undoubtedly the Einstein of gambling. As a professor of mathematics he has written many books on probability and its influence on success. He is also a highly accomplished blackjack player who helped to perfect the theory of card counting to tip the odds in favour of the player. His net worth suggests it works.
Of course, there are many more high-earning casino players in addition to these seven, but none quite this successful. However we can be confident that the next generation will soon be snapping at their heels