Kerry Pecker – King of Whales
Packer was a longtime heavy smoker and an avid gambler, known for his titanic wins and losses and has been touted as the Casino king of all time.Packer built a media empire over his lifetime and became the richest man in Australia ($A6.5 billion) before his death in 2005. Beyond his extravagant wealth and media empire, the Aussie was known for his high stakes gambling ventures into Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat and other games.Packer’s visits were a risky affair for the casinos, as his wins and losses could make quite a difference to the finances of even bigger casinos.
The high roller’s love of polo, betting on horses and casinos was legendary, including stories of how he lost US$20 million in one night playing Blackjack at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Another story had the billionaire dropping $19 million at the Ritz Club in Vegas. In 1999, it was reported that a three-week losing streak at London casinos cost him almost A$28 million—described at the time as the biggest reported gambling loss in British history including the £15 million loss on four Live Roulette tables. He subsequently simply walked out of the casino with no regrets. This has been confirmed by casino owners in South East England.
However, he also experienced plenty of success too such as the time he reportedly forced London’s Aspinalls Club to shut down after winning so much money in Blackjack. Another time saw him winning somewhere between $24 and $33 million from the MGM Grand while playing both Blackjack and Baccarat. Amazingly, it’s said that Packer almost broke the MGM Grand, which resulted in the firing of several prominent employees who let him make huge bets. The larger-than-life gambler played for forty years at the higher stakes throwing bets up to $375,000 a hand while playing seven Blackjack hands at a time. He would routinely bet $450,000 on a Blackjack hand and on one night, the legend has it that he left one of the live dealers a seven-figure tip while leaving.