Gambling has been around since the dawn of man. It’s likely the wheel was invented because someone bet it couldn’t be done. Still, hearing about winning big at the casino is as rare as seeing a white person with dreads without a longboard. There’s a reason why people wear diapers while playing slots—they’re waiting for that big pay out to redeem some sort of self worth or dignity. Sometimes that big pay out finally happens and most times it simply doesn’t. So how exactly did Archie Karas turn $50 into over 40 million dollars over the course of 3 years? He believed in his luck and even more so, his bad luck.
Everyone’s dream upon entering the casino is to leave with your bank account having twins or to get as drunk as you possibly can off the free drinks. Archie Karas did exactly that, but never stopped winning. It all started when he was a boy living in poverty in Greece. Archie would shoot marbles and win small amounts of money just so he could eat. He ran away from home to get away from his dad after an argument leading to him working on a cruise ship as a waiter, at which time he was making only $60 a month. After arriving in Portland he eventually made his way down to Los Angeles where his epic gambling streak began. Archie started playing competitive pool but after beating everyone, no one wanted to play anymore. With the lack of money in the pool halls—since everyone was hiding with their tail between their legs—Archie began playing poker. This is where the real money came and left, where he won and lost 2 million dollars leaving arguably the greatest gambler of all time with only $50 to his name.
Archie, not having that shit for one minute, drove to Las Vegas with that last $50 bill in his wallet. Fortunately, he ran into a fairly good friend at the casino who just so happened to be able to lend him $10,000 to play high stake Razz, which is similar to poker only that the smallest hand wins. Given his recent bad luck, he decided that the game would be perfect for him—and it was exactly that. In 3 hours, Karas repaid the loan with 50% interest and still had a pile of cash to keep playing. He played for another 3 years and simply couldn’t lose while accumulating 40 million dollars in the process. Archie was on top of the world and king of the casino. He wasn’t just winning in poker, he was circulating all the games winning whatever he damn well pleased. But of course what goes up, must come down as his luck finally ran dry losing terribly in a game of craps. Not learning his lessons from previous experiences, Karas recklessly spent 11 million dollars on craps in 3 weeks. Not being able to accept defeat, he went on to lose another 17 million dollars trying to get back his previous losses. To add insult to injury, in that very same month he lost another 2 million in poker spending a total of 30 million in 4 weeks. For most people this would be the end of their gambling career but not for Karas, who knows lightning can strike twice, as he borrowed 40 thousand dollars and turned it into 1 million in all of 3 weeks. The king of gambling then was quoted, “Money means nothing to me. I don’t value it. I’ve had all the material things I could ever want. Everything. 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.”
So where is Archie Karas now? Well, unfortunately he was caught cheating at a blackjack table in 2013. He currently faces charges of burglary, cheating, and winning by fraudulent means. Although it’s a known fact that he has gambled with more money than anyone in casino history, you have to wonder how much of it was done legitimately. Although not yet convinced, the constant wave of rising and falling leaves us with the amazing story of Archie Karas. As the late and great Eddie Guerrero said, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.”