Top 3 most famous professional gamblers’ stories

31 Oct 2022Guides
Top 3 most famous professional gamblers’ stories


Top professional gamblers, what do they have in common?  What sets them apart?


Gambling is undoubtedly a matter of luck. Yet when we delve into the most successful gamblers’ path in history, we can deduce that gambling is a combination of luck and skill. Hundreds of millions of people have probably tried to gamble throughout human history. Many of them had to lose, yet many had won thousands or even billions. The latter category has a marked history and deserves to be discussed.


Today it is well recognized that being successful in gambling is rather a complex combination of chance and cognitive competence. When the famous psychologist Dylan Evans felt that there is something unique in professional gamblers, he finished by conceptualizing what we call Risk İntelligence today.

So clearly, you, too, wonder about the enigma behind these most famous professional gamblers, right? What do they look like? How were their lives? Do they share a common point that might be the secret explaining their success in gambling?

Let’s observe it together by diving into the story of each one apart!

Here we have chosen the top 3 most successful gamblers whose lives are particular and whose gambling stories are appealing and need to be known.


Professional Gamblers in Sports Betting: Billy Walters

Billy Waters

Billy Walters, sports betting player


His life…

Also known as William Walters, he is an American entrepreneur and one of the most famous successful gamblers in the world. He was born on 15 July 1946 in the poor rural town of Munfordville-Kentucky. His grandmother raised him as his father died when he was 18 months old, and his mother was an alcoholic. He was attached to his grandmother as she cared for him and helped him get loans to start a small grass-cutting business.

When she died, he had to move to live with his mother in Louisville-Kentucky. There, he worked hard to save his life and to be able to rent a room next to his mother. He used to work at a bakery in the mornings and gas stations in the evenings.

Billy Walter got married at an early age, before graduating high school. His marriage was unsuccessful and lasted a short time. Later by the 1950s, he started an Auto sales business. He could succeed in selling an average of 32 cars a month. Then he started his own business wholesaling cars to other dealers in the United States. At the same time, he started being involved in sports betting, where he almost always lost.


His gambling story…

Since 9, William Walters has shown his interest in betting. He had even lost the money he was earning from his paper route. Until his 20s, he used to be a steady loser in bets. He lost in roulette and blackjack tables an amount of $1 million many times. He did lose not only money but also his house.

İn 1981, William walters decided to give up his own car business to be only involved in sports betting. Even though he could shape a successful career in car sales, he decided to become a full-time bettor. By the age of 39, he started learning computer analysis for sports outcomes which helped him become a successful sports bettor. He bets on football and basketball and could win between $50 to $60 million per year.

He became a legendary sports bettor in Las Vegas with a net worth between $100-$500 million. Today, he is known as the most successful sports bettor, as he consistently won sports bets for over 30 years.


Wrapping up…

Starting by losing consistently, then winning for years, and becoming a professional in the same domain can’t be interpreted as a lucky streak. Once again, it becomes evident that gambling is not only a matter of luck but also an acquired skill! That could be what we can conclude from William Walters’ story.

Even though his life was not rosy enough, he had to live almost as orphaned in a poor region with no running water as his grandmother; he became wealthy with betting money. He left his successful business career and believed in his successful gambling experience. He ignored his losses but instead joined a computer analyses group to get to know sports outcomes analyses to get enough knowledge. He knew how to take advantage of that and finished by becoming a steady sport betting winner.

Professional Gamblers in Poker: Phil Ivey

Phil Ivey

His life…

billy Phil İvey, poker player


Phil İvey is known as the Tiger Woods of Poker. He is an American professional gambler. He is a famous poker player who has won various World Poker tour tournaments and could win ten World Series of Poker Bracelets. He won All İn Magazine, the world poker player twice in 2005 and 2009. Awards and titles that İvey has won in world tournaments are innumerable.

Phil İvey was born on 1 February 1977 in California. He graduated from Old Bridge High School in New Jersey and spent most of his life in Las Vegas. He is keen on video games, basketball, Golf, and prop betting.

He is attached to his grandfather, who introduced him to poker at eight.

Phil İvey fell in love with Lucetta at an early age and spent his spare time with her or betting. Even though they used to be inseparable, their marriage finished with a tough divorce.

İvey is well known for his philanthropic sense, and he believes in charity, and his donations are various. Especially when he became one of the richest poker players in the world, İvey donated enormous amounts of money to people in need.


His gambling Story… 

Phil İvey is today one of the wealthiest professional poker players in the world. His gambling story started earlier in his childhood, thanks to his grandfather, who had introduced him to the game. Then in the 1990s, İvey began to develop his skills by playing against his colleagues at a telemarketing firm.

İnterestingly, as he had not the right to gamble before the age of 21, İvey had created a fake İD to keep developing his skills in poker.

When he could become a legal casino player at 21, İvey met the famous casino players, Barry Greenstein and Daniel Negreanu, who helped him with valuable advice to play poker successfully. And he took it seriously.

Today, the number of titles and awards that İvey could earn is inspiring. He has surprised people with his smart strategies in dealing with poker, and his net worth from gambling is estimated to be almost $100 million.


Wrapping up…

We can conclude from Phil İvey that becoming a professional poker player and earning various titles and awards in world tournaments results from long hard work.

He spent many years of his life trying to find the appropriate poker strategies. He kept trying too much without giving up that he was known as No Home Jerome, as he rarely lived casinos easily.

Moreover, İvey was first known for the lousy money management he could win from casino games. But the experience he could develop over time made him learn how to manage his money and his life better to become one of the richest players in the world today. We can then understand that efficient strategies and the intelligence that casino players develop from gambling time are susceptible to spread in all their life areas.


Professional Gamblers in Blackjack: Zeljko Ranogajec

Zeljko Ranogajec

His life…


Zeljko Ranogajec, a blackjack and horse betting player


Zeljko Ranogajec is an Australian businessman and a famous professional gambler. He is a professional blackjack and horse betting gambler. He was born on 22 May 1961 in Hobart, and he belongs to a family of Croatian immigrants.


Zeljko Ranogajec studies commerce and law at the University of Tasmania. He took advantage of dealing with finance, tax and banking in his first experiences in blackjack games. İn the same period, he met his wife, Shelley Wilson, his business partner.


Later Zeljko Ranogajec moved to the university of Sydney, where he dropped out quickly to become a full-time advantage gambler. He wanted to focus on legal methods to gain an advantage while gambling.

Today Zeljko Ranogajec’s assessed net worth from gambling is $600 million.


His gambling story…

Once transferred to his new university in Sydney, Zeljko Ranogajec got himself a part-time job at the Wrest Point Casino. At this step of his life, the gambler has taken advantage of his taxation and banking studies to enjoy his job and develop his blackjack strategies.

He used to try Blackjack tables in his breaks to earn the art of card counting. And he started making lots of money from these casino tables. Unfortunately, soon enough, he got banned from all Australian casinos. He moved to Las Vegas to continue his adventure, but that did not last long. He got banned from many casinos in las vegas which was the main reason for him to initiate horsing race betting.

Zeljko Ranogajec could succeed in horse betting thanks to his particular strategy, which includes sophisticated betting systems. He wagers large amounts on profit margins regardless of the size. His strategy in horse betting consisted of employing over 300 Australians, including spotters, bettors and analysts, staking over $1 billion a year. His network helped him earn lots of money to become one of the richest gamblers in the world today.


Wrapping up…

Even though Zeljko Ranogajec comes from a poor background in a Croatian immigrant family, he took advantage of his banking studies at university. He began card counting in blackjack and gained experience as one of the world’s richest gamblers. We can conclude from Zeljko Ranogajec’s story that being a professional gambler in a specific game does not prevent you from succeeding in another. When he was banned from casinos, he moved from blackjack tables to start a new adventure of horse racing betting. He benefited from the experience he won from blackjack tables to succeed in his new gambling area, namely horse betting. This illustrates that some casino games are similar to sports betting in strategy development, and they don’t lean on only chance but also on skills to build.

Published: October 2022

By: Sarah

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