Casino High Rollers
High rollers and whales are the bread and butter of casinos both on and offline. To catch one is the casino dream; to hold onto them is heaven.
These players think nothing of throwing away a few million in cash in just one night. Win or lose, it is all the same to them, but it makes a huge difference to the casino.
Casino High Roller
For the average player, the difference between high roller and whale is almost non-existent, but there is a difference. Simply put a high roller is considered to be a player that can spend anywhere from 100,000 to one million euros in a weekend trip to a casino. Different casinos might vary slightly in what they perceive as a high roller, but most high rollers share some of the same traits.
Firstly, they tend to be worth quite a lot of money, usually hitting millionaire status. Because of their high play rate, they are usually able to get a line of credit with the casino very easily. The amount will vary depending on the length of stay and what games they are playing.
High rollers are also always treated as VIPs. This treatment usually includes a number of perks and bonuses throughout the high roller’s stay. Whilst relatively friendly to those around them, once the game gets going they will turn serious.
They may have money to burn but the game is a serious one, and while they are gambling all concentration is on the game in order to avoid making silly mistakes.
A casino whale is the big fish in the casino pond. Unlike high rollers, whales are usually billionaires. A whale is likely to only start spending at the one million mark, and their budget per hand can go up into the tens of millions.
These players can spend a weekend playing and make or lose millions without breaking a sweat. Such is the amount of money that they spend that they can influence how much a casino profits in a given month. Like high rollers, whales tend to have access to instant casino credit lines. Depending on how much they usually spend this can be in excess of 25 million.
Easy to notice
Whilst whales are spending a lot of their money in the casino, they also tend to have very generous natures and are known to tip very well. The best part about this is that whether they are winning or losing, they will still tip well. Whales are also usually very easy to notice in a casino setting as they tend to be accompanied by a number of bodyguards, close friends and even family members.
Whales may be seen out in public, but as a general rule they are rather publicity shy, preferring to stay out of the limelight. They will, however, certainly make use of the VIP status that is afforded them by the casino. This usually involves access to a private penthouse suite or villa for the duration of their stay, as well as private transport, tickets for exclusive events, holidays, private game rooms and much more.
When it comes to their game choices, most whales tend to prefer baccarat. However, that is not to say they won’t play other games such as blackjack, craps and roulette. On very rare occasions, some whales will even descend to the slots and place a couple of thousand on just a single spin.
The Biggest Whales of All Time
One notable whale is the Saudi, Adnan Khashoggi. An international arms dealer, he took London’s Ritz casino for over £3.2 million during a series of twelve visits in the 1980s. He would spend long hours in the casino on his trips to the city, predominantly and successfully playing baccarat during these sprees. Khashoggi is proof of the important role that a whale can play in a casinos profits, as in one memorable occasion he caused the Hilton’s quarterly profits to drop by 19% simply from the winning streak he was a part of.
The famous NBA player Charles Barkley was another fond of gambling. Reputedly he has lost in excess of 30 million dollars during his time playing in casinos. His game of choice is blackjack, and whilst he has made losses, he has made some incredible wins too. An open and friendly player, he usually chooses to play on the main floor allowing others to watch him at play.
Kerry Packer is an Australian business mogul renowned for being a gambler with no fear. Every time he plays it is in the big leagues, usually playing with a minimum of ten million on the line. However, this gambit appears to pay off, as he is a consistent winner. In 1992, he won $9 million at the Hilton in Las Vegas. Another high win was the £33 million at MGM, where he played at $300, 000 per hand. Known for his generous tipping, Packer on occasion hands out tips of $1 million.
Akio Kashiwagi’s reign was during the 70s and 80s when he was considered to be the biggest gambler ever to attend Las Vegas. Fearless in baccarat, he would gamble a minimum of $100,000 per hand in each of his game sessions. Sadly, in 1992 he was found murdered in his Japanese home and it is suspected that an organized crime group played a part in his death.
The successful Mexican businessman Kamel Nacif made his money in the textile industry. Each year he heads to Las Vegas where he plays only baccarat. In his games he has been known to play a minimum of $200,000 for just one hand. Unlike the general personalities of whales, Nacif reportedly has a very fast temper, particularly if his luck starts to run out midway through a game..
Phil Ivey is possibly the best poker player of all time. Labelled as a true gambler, Ivey has been known to go on worldwide tours to play craps, flying to different casinos around the world just for some gambling fun. It is unclear how much he has lost or won but he does play at $100, 000 for single rolls, and he plays baccarat at $200,000 per hand.
Ramon DeSage was one of the most famous whales on the Las Vegas strip, even before his gambling antics took off. Indicted by the US government for being part of a fraud scheme, it is believed that he used this fraud money to play at the casinos, winning and losing over $150 million in the process. To this day, he is one of the biggest gamblers ever to have hit the Las Vegas strip.
Play for fun
Unlike regular gamblers, true high rollers and whales simply play for fun. They have already amassed millions and don’t really need the wins. Huge wagers, equally big tips and an aversion to the public set them apart from other players.
Their devil may care attitude and the huge hands that they essentially throw away are a casino’s dream, and they leave the rest of us wishing we could be in their shoes.