$50 To $40 Million: Archie Karas

Much can be said about Archie Karas, the infamous Greek-American gambler, high-roller and daredevil. However, one thing is certain. He is a man who, for the duration of his gambling career, challenged the odds and moved the boundaries of what is seemingly possible. His almost mythical life story, his success and his glorious fall from grace, could be summed up with the old maxim “If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never win”. A man with such a focus and mindset can do truly great things in his chosen field. Archie Karas certainly did so in the field of gambling. As he boastfully but justly remarked, he was the biggest ever.

From Rags To Riches And Back Again: The Life Story Of Archie Karas

The path that brought Archie Karas to success was long, winding and thorny. As is often the case with those who made it later in life, Archie’s origins were humble, to say the least. He was born as Anargyros Nicholas Karabourniotis in 1950. His family was poor and little Archie had to earn small sums of money by playing marbles, just to put some food on the table. After a row with his temperamental father, Archie went to America at the age of 15. He apparently showed a real talent for Poker and Pool and by sing his gambling trade, he earned more than $2 million. However, in 1992 Archie lost all his life savings in the game of Poker. Always the daredevil at heart and with just $50 in his pocket, Archie went to Las Vegas. What happened next, quickly become the stuff of gambling legends.

It took him just six months to turn his initial $50 into $17 million. But, that wasn’t enough for Archie Karas. He continued playing until he earned the awesome sum of over $40 million. His impressive winning streak, the likes of which had never been seen in gambling history, lasted about three years. His awesome feat had become known in the gambling annals simply as “The Run”. The name certainly doesn’t do it justice, since it was more of the Marathon. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Archie never really played for money, but for the thrill of the game. That’s why he continued to play, regardless of the financial consequences. Even when he started losing big, he was determined to go on.

The Downfall Of Mighty Archie Karas

Although he had some small ups and flashes of good luck, Archie Karas just spiralled downward until he lost all his $40 million. Now, somebody else would learn something from this hard life lesson and would end their gambling career. Not Archie. In 2013, he was caught cheating at Blackjack in San Diego Barona Casino. Archie admitted his charges and was found guilty and sentenced to three years of probation. Moreover, he was included in the Nevada’s List of Excluded Persons. In practice, that means that he’s forbidden to enter any casino in Nevada, and that’s certainly a hard blow for a high-roller of Archie’s calibre. Now that the media dust has settled a bit, he still resides in the place of his greatest triumph, Las Vegas. Although he undoubtedly made more than a few mistakes in his lifetime, Archie continues to be the inspiration for all those who want to follow in his footsteps.

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Archie Karas and his infamous winning streak