Biggest Losses in Gambling History

Appleosophy | Biggest Losses in Gambling History
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Gambling is a risky business where millions can be won and lost over the course of a standard night at a Polish casino. All players who sit at a casino table or slot machine know that they’re risking money when they sit down to play. 

Whether they win or lose often comes down to the luck of the draw, and although some Portuguese games like Poker and Blackjack require skill to play, there’s still a lot of luck involved. As a result, losing is just as common as winning, and there are plenty of players out there who have lost everything they bet on a night at the casino. 

In this article, our resident gambling expert writer Victoria Oliveira (read more about her here) is looking at some of the most famous cases of gamblers who have lost significant sums of cash. Some of these losses are so big you might not believe them, but all are confirmed as being 100% accurate. 

Archie Karas – $40 million

Archie Karas is one of the best examples of a gambler who made a fortune before promptly losing it all. The Greek-American high roller first came to Vegas in 1992 with just $50 in cash to his name. He was a pro Poker player and was soon amassing a decent sum of money by winning tournaments and cash games at Poker rooms throughout the city. 

He used his skill at the Poker table to take a $10,000 loan which he then used to buy his way into the higher paying tournaments, paying back his creditor double their money in a short space of time. 

After this early success, he quickly made a fortune, winning millions in casinos across the city. During this time, he played and beat many of the top pros, but as his confidence grew, he changed his strategy. Instead of relying on Poker, which took skill, he started playing chance-based games like Craps and Baccarat. 

In a short space of time, he had the biggest gambling loss in history, losing over $40 million, but the man was relatively unfazed by this despite it being one of the biggest gambling losses in history. He said, “You’ve got to understand something. Money means nothing to me. I don’t value it. I’ve had all the material things I could ever want. The things I want, money can’t buy health, freedom, love, happiness. I don’t care about money, so I have no fear. I don’t care if I lose it.” 

Modern Portuguese online casino players can learn a lot from Archie. Even though sites such as BetTilt Portugal will have hundreds of games to choose from and many of them offer $100 free, sticking to a budget and exercising responsible gambling are the factors that they should always consider. 

Maureen O’Connor – $13 million

While the amount of money lost by O’Connor isn’t as much as some of the other gamblers on this list, the circumstances surrounding it make it a much bigger story. Maureen came from a poor, working-class family who had so little money that they once couldn’t afford a turkey for Thanksgiving. When she reached adulthood, Maureen married a fast-food tycoon, Mr. Peterson, and worked as a teacher before eventually becoming the mayor of San Diego. 

After the death of her husband in 1992, Maureen turned to gamble as an escape, and eventually ended up making over $1 billion in bets on sporting events. Her gambling addiction got so severe that she had to sell large amounts of assets along with taking money out of her late husband’s charitable foundation. It’s estimated that over the years, she lost around $13 million. Based on her betting habits, Maureen was betting around $300,000 a day over a nine-year period, a truly astonishing amount of money. 

Harry Kakavas – $20.5 million

Harry Kakavas isn’t the biggest ever loser in terms of gambling losses, but he managed to lose regularly over a long period of time. While he did lose a lot of money, one of the things that set Kakavas apart from many other gamblers is the fact that he had the foresight, talent, and understanding to reduce his losses and keep them to a minimum. He could probably share some useful tips on how to enjoy playing online games.

Between 2012 and 2013, Kakavas played baccarat at the Melbourne Crown Casino for 16 months and spent a total of A$1.43 billion, resulting in net casino losses of A$20.5 million. While Kakavas had no problem gambling for 16 months, he did accuse the casino of exploiting his pathological urge to gamble and took them to court. Unfortunately for Kavakas, the case didn’t stand up in court, with the presiding judge stating he had shown “rational decision making and was able to act in his own best interest”.


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