5 Successful Professional Gamblers

If you talk to someone who doesn’t gamble about gambling they will likely tell you it’s for fools. After all, they don’t do it. You can find many sad tales around people that have lost everything. In extreme cases they sadly and too often take their own lives. So you can see why many people see gambling is for losers. But there are really successful gamblers all around the globe some more than others. I think it’s important to read this article realising that the following gamblers are extreme cases. Your future story is not likely to be like theirs so do not draw too much inspiration from them. 

Only bet that which you can afford to lose. 

We look at 5 successful gamblers. Success in gambling in this article means that the gambler involved won more than they lost to a significant gain. 

Stanford Wong 

Successful mostly at Blackjack Stanford Wong who’s real name is John Ferguson also created multiple businesses out of gambling, mostly book around Blackjack but he also created his own publishing house Pi Yee Press. One other notable creation was a computer program that helps beat the odds Blackjack Analyzer. 

  • Professional Blackjack 
  • Blackjack Secrets 
  • Basic Blackjack 
  • Professional Video Poker 
  • Optimal Strategy for Pai Gow Poker 
  • Casino Tournament Strategy
  • Betting Cheap Claimers 

If you have been into Blackjack for even a short time you will have heard of him or maybe ‘wonging’ which is when players use his techniques. 

A player who counts cards, waits for an opportunity to get into a ‘good’ game before playing is said to be engaged in wonging. Many casinos block this technique by simply having a rule against entering a game mid shoe. 

He created a newsletter in 1979 from his publishing house titled Current Blackjack news.

Edward O Thorp 

Born in 1932 Edward Oakley Thorp is still alive today managing his hedge funds. Thorp received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the university of California LA. His work and study into probability maths suggested you could beat the house advantage through counting cards. 

He applied his theories in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Vegas where he won 11,000 dollars over a single weekend. He is the author of the book Beat The Dealer. You can catch up with him on twitter @EdwardOThorp 

Publications include: A Man for all Markets

Nick Dandolos 

Nikolaos Andreas Dandolos commonly known as Nick the Greek was a professional gambler. He died on Christmas day in 1966. Like many professional gamblers Nick was a learned man, he studied Philosophy and gained a degree in it. 

Sent to the USA when he was 18 by his grandfather he started his new life in Chicago but moved up across the border to Montreal. It was here he had great success betting on horse racing. 

It could have been that coming from a wealthy family he had a leaning toward high stakes betting. The famous Montreal half million wins however were all turned into losses as he returned to Chicago where for some reason he switched to poker and craps. 

It was during this time that he achieved celebrity status for his gambling and character. It is estimated that he won and lost around 500 million in his life. Sadly he lived a much poorer life towards the end but he never stopped gambling. There are some lessons to be learned from Nick's life.


Don Johnson 

Don Johnson became known for a few wins in recent history. One time in 2011 in Atlantic City he won 15 million dollars playing blackjack. These are seriously high numbers by anyone’s books. Part of the reason he was able to do so well was the casinos desperation at the time to attract players. He was able to negotiate a 20% loss refund but some of the rules he asked for were granted such as staying on soft 17. This gave him a mathematical edge. 

The numbers that broke the bank 

Tropicana $6 million
Borgata $4 million 
Caesars $4 million 

Billy Walters 

Last on the list but certainly a man whose life deserves mention and further inspection.

William T Walters has been a prolific car salesman, a later life sports betting pro, astute businessman and investor. And then insider trading landed him in prison. His story is a true rags to riches one. He was raised by his grandmother in Munfordville Kentucky in America. He was instilled with a terrific work ethic working 80 hour weeks selling cars any way he could. He made a lot of money doing it and broke company records. 

He lost his first bet with a friend at 9 years old. It wasn’t something he got right until he found a biased roulette wheel he milked for 3.9 million some 20 years later. Until that time he had net losses of $50,000 before he was 25. Beyond the roulette wheel he is known for sports betting where he did very well in the 80’s. He created The Computer Group which has been incredibly consistent at predicting sports winners. Walters said in a good year he made 50 million dollars. The sport is basketball and football. Bookies will not take his bets so he has to have runners place bets for him. All this time he invested in various businesses and got involved in the markets. His current prison sentence is due to end in 2022 so it should be interesting to see what he decides to now do with the rest of his life. It certainly wasn’t boring.

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