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Archie Karas is one of the most famous gamblers of all time. A Greek-American high roller, he arrived in Las Vegas with $50 and within three years had wagered his way to more than $40 million. In the entire history of casino gambling, ‘The Run’ is the most profitable and longest winning streak ever documented. High stakes poker player and pool shark, Karas claimed to have gambled more money than anyone else in history. The spree ended in the third year, 1995, when he lost nearly all his money in just three weeks.
Archie Karas was born in 1951 on the small island of Kefalonia in Greece. From a poor family, he played marbles to earn money for food and ran away when he was 15, after a fight with his father To support himself, he worked as a waiter on a ship that was heading to Portland in America. He arrived there determined to make a better life for himself and eventually made his way down to Los Angeles, where his epic gambling story began. When Archie had time off from work, he practised his Pool skills and also took up playing Poker for fun. He was so talented at this game that he won over $2 million in just a few months. During the same year, he started playing high stakes Poker and lost all but $50 of his money. Most gamers would have stopped there and then, but Archie took it as a challenge and moved to the very heart of the gambling scene. His next three years in Las Vegas went down in history as ‘The Run’.
Borrowing $10,000 to play high stake Razz, Archie had a lucky break, repaid his loan the same day and amassed $4 million. After only three months in Las Vegas, he had gambled his way up to $7 million. As his reputation grew, less and less Poker players were willing to play with him and so he took up dice, at $100,000 a roll! At the end of his famous winning streak, Archie had won over $40 million in total. Playing for high stakes constantly, he finally ran out of luck and lost hugely whilst playing Craps. He initially spent $11 million in just three weeks and then lost a further $17 million trying to recoup his losses. Unable to accept defeat he turned back to Poker and lost another $2. In just three weeks, Archie Karas had lost $30 and become a gambling legend.
Archie’s famous gambling run lasted from 1992 to 1995. So what happened to him? Well, he continued to gamble and whilst he had some further lucky streaks over the years, it was never to the same degree. Eventually, he was found to be cheating by marking cards at blackjack in 2013. He faced charges of burglary, cheating, and winning by fraudulent means and subsequently received three years probation. Archie has been the subject of numerous documentaries and articles following the fascinating rise and fall in his gambling career. It will be interesting to see if the amazing story of Archie Karas will continue.
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