The biggest casino win in history, or rather series of winnings, is that of Archie Karas — a Greek immigrant who allegedly turned $50 into $40 million by playing poker in Las Vegas casinos.
While most of us like to place a bet on our favorite sports team, give a slot machine a spin or play a hand of poker, we often win or lose modest amounts of money, which is totally fine as long as we’re having fun and playing responsibly.
However, in this article, we are going to discuss the luckiest players on the planet that won life-changing amounts of money and walked out of casinos with millions of dollars.
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Archie Karas – Rags to Riches … and Back to Rags
First up is the story of Greek immigrant Archie Karas, a gifted poker player who turned $50 into $40 million. He was nicknamed ‘’The Run’’ in Las Vegas after becoming famous for the longest documented winning streak in casino gambling history.
Allegedly, he drove to Las Vegas in 1992 with only $50 in his pocket, borrowed $10,000 from a friend of his, and then turned that into $40 million by the beginning of 1995, only to lose it all within a year. Karas is not to be mistaken for Nick the Greek (Nick Dandolos), who was another high-stakes gambler of Greek origin.
Biggest Online Casino Win – Norwegian Named Peter Wins $38 million
The second-biggest overall casino win and largest online casino win in history is that of a 20-year-old Norwegian man known only as Peter. He won a jackpot of 11.7 million Norwegian krone, which is the equivalent of about $38 million at time of writing. Peter played the well-known Arabian Nights progressive slot by NetEnt, which is famous for its multi-million-dollar jackpot.
Kerry Packer – The Billionaire Who Bagged Another $40 Million
Although Kerry Packer didn’t really need the money, so to speak, as he already was a billionaire before stepping foot in the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, won a total of $40 million by playing blackjack and baccarat in the late 1990s.
The Australian businessman was known to be a generous tipper, reportedly giving tips to MGM Grand staff worth over $1 million dollars and paying off mortgages of random waitresses. Who said working at a casino was a bad idea?
Elmer Sherwin – The Legend Who Won the Same Jackpot Twice
Elmer Sherwin definitely deserves to be mentioned in this biggest casino article, as he might have been the luckiest man who ever lived. He started gambling as soon as he was old enough to enter a casino but never won anything noteworthy until he was almost 76 years old.
When Sherwin was traveling with his wife around the country in their mobile home, he suggested making a stop in Las Vegas to visit family. He then would spend $100 a week at the local casinos around town, mostly playing his favorite slot machine, Megabucks.
At one point Sherwin and his wife attended the grand opening of the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where once again, his $100 vanished quickly playing the Megabucks slot machine. Determined to win, he convinced his wife to give him $20 more to play with, and lo and behold, the bells started ringing as Sherwin hit a $4.6 million progressive jackpot after lining up five Megabucks symbols in a row.
Although $4.6 million would definitely change most of our lives, the story gets even crazier. Sixteen years after his jackpot win, he won a $21 million jackpot on the exact same type of Megabucks slot machine in the Cannery Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas. He was seeking the prestige of hitting it twice, which no one had done before, and managed to pull it off.
Sherwin donated a large part of his winnings to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts and gave the rest to his son and daughter-in-law before passing away two years later at age 93.
Young Engineer – The Unknown Player Who Hit $39.7 Million
A 25-year-old player only known as ‘’young engineer” won $39.7 million playing slot machines in the Excalibur in Las Vegas. Instead of cashing out the full $39.7 million all at once, he chose to be paid out in yearly installments of $1.5 million.
Over $20 Million Absolootly Mad Mega Moolah Online Casino Win
In 2021, a player who wishes to remain anonymous won €19,4 million euros or roughly $20 million USD at time of writing by playing Microgaming’s Absolootly Mad Mega Moolah jackpot at the online Napoleon Sports & Casino with a mere €15 wager.
The weird thing about this jackpot win story is that the winner had read about a lucky Napoleon Casino player who had won a multi-million dollar jackpot and he dreamed about doing the same thing.
The anonymous player set a new record for an online jackpot win for the Guinness World Records, which stood at $20,062,600 before. The previous highest-ever online jackpot was also won on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot, but at Betway Casino.
John Tippin – The Lucky Winner Who Reached a Tipping Point
John Tippin is a textbook example of how gambling doesn’t always lead to a long and happy life. He was a post office worker who won $12 million at a Megabucks slot machine at the Gold Coast Casino In Las Vegas in 1996.
However, the win literally overwhelmed him and he ended up writing a book about his struggles with isolation, financial problems, the loss of friends and even paranoia. Unfortunately, he ended up losing most of his money due to his expensive lifestyle.
Amy Nishimura – The Woman Who Talked $9 Million Out of a Slot Machine
In 2003, a woman named Amy Nishimura celebrated her 72nd birthday in the Fremont Hotel in Las Vegas. She invested $140 in one of the Megabucks slot machines and other players frowned at her as she was talking to the slot machine she was playing for three hours straight. Eventually, she hit a massive jackpot of $8.9 million. Maybe talking to slot machines increases your chances of winning, who knows?
Next Biggest Casino Win – You?
Luck like this could be waiting on the table or at the slots for any lucky gambler. So if you’re into casino games or progressive jackpot slots, in particular, be sure to check out our list of top online casinos.