Biggest Baccarat Wins of All Time
If you happen to be a high roller, chances are you spend time and money in the baccarat pits. Baccarat is a fun and exciting game, and high-rollers in particular are drawn to this game for several reasons. There’s the prestige factor, for one. This is the game that James Bond made famous, and dressing up in your finest threads is still a thing at many live casinos. When it comes to the biggest baccarat wins of all time, the style is just as important as the substance.
Then you have the action – tons of action when you’re a high-roller, and fast, too. You don’t have to spend a lot of time waiting around between hands, so if you want to keep the big money flowing and the adrenaline pumping, baccarat is the game for you.
To show you how much action there is in the VIP room, Bodog Casino is proud to present the top five biggest baccarat wins of all time. It’s impossible to verify whether or not this list is complete, and the dollar amounts (all in US funds) haven’t been adjusted for inflation, but as you’ll see, incredibly large sums of money can change hands.
5. John W. Gates: $1 million
The Gilded Age (c. 1877-1896) is often compared to the way things are done today, and John Warne Gates was one of that era’s biggest movers and shakers. They didn’t call him “Bet-a-Million” Gates for nothing. Having made his fortune on barbed wire, Gates earned his nickname betting vast sums at the horse track, and he kept a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York where he held high-stakes baccarat and poker games where millions of dollars would change hands.
We don’t have a specific example of Gates himself winning $1 million in one night, but as the story goes, Gates did bet $1 million as the Banker on a single hand of baccarat. There were special rules involved: Three hands were dealt instead of two, and his opponent had the choice of playing either or both of the remaining hands as the Player. He chose both, and the $2-million pot was split, so technically, you could say Gates “won” $1 million. By the way, $1 million in 1900 dollars is worth about $35.6 million today.
4. Phil Ivey: $9.6 million*
We have to include an asterisk here, and if you’re familiar with Phil Ivey’s story, you know why. The world-famous poker player loves all sorts of casino games – as long as he thinks he has an edge. Back in 2012, Ivey partnered up with Cheung Yin Sun to soak Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for a reported $9.6 million over a seven-month period, using an advantage play called “edge sorting” that helped the duo identify the cards being dealt.
The asterisk is there because in 2014, a US federal judge ruled that Ivey had to pay that money back (and more) to the Borgata. A similar ruling was made that year in favour of Crockfords casino in London, where Ivey and Cheung had reportedly won the equivalent of $12 million using the same edge sorting techniques, but at least they got to keep their original stake of £1 million.
3. Lin Haisan: $12.9 million
You might be more familiar with the poker boom of the early Aughts, but baccarat has seen some explosive growth of its own. There was even a World Series of Baccarat, and at the inaugural 2015 Championship, Hong Kong native Lin Haisan took down the grand prize of $12.9 million at the Sheraton Macao Hotel, etching his name in the Guinness Book of World Records in the process.
Footage of this event is available on YouTube, and as you can see, it bore a strikingly close resemblance to its poker cousin. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like a second event was ever held, and the trademarks appear to have been abandoned as we go to press. Anyone want to give it a try?
2. Akio Kashigawi: $15 million
The story of Akio Kashigawi’s rise and fall is legendary, in large part because it involves Donald Trump. Kashigawi was a Japanese businessman who may have been connected to the yakuza; his murder in 1992 seemed to confirm as much. Before that grisly incident, Kashigawi was one of the biggest “whales” on the scene, and the basis of the character “K.K. Ichikawa” in the 1995 Martin Scorsese film Casino.
$15 million might be a rough estimate of how much money Kashigawi won in 1990 playing just two sessions of baccarat at the Trump Taj Mahal, having been invited to Atlantic City by Trump himself. The story differs from there, but Trump reportedly came out on top in the end – and Kashigawi’s mounting debts probably led to his demise.
1. Unnamed Asian Group: $55 million
Casinos love high-rollers, but Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia nearly bankrupted themselves in the 1990s when they allowed a group of Asian whales to take them for a claimed $55 million over several months in the baccarat pits – including $12 million in one session. We can’t verify this claim, but if it’s true, it’s the single largest sum of money ever won and rightly takes its place at the top of our biggest ever baccarat wins of all time.
Play Baccarat Online at Bodog Casino
Now that you’ve seen the money that’s up for grabs, you can grab a piece of this pie for yourself by playing baccarat right now at Bodog Casino – whether it’s for dollars or thousands of dollars. Check out our series of baccarat articles to find out more about this exciting game, and we’ll see you at the tables.