Important Names in Gambling
The big names and important people in gambling don't get the credit they deserve. Each of the people described in these biographies was instrumental in shaping gambling as we know it today. Some of these people were pioneers while others improved on the existing ideas of the time.
Without these peoples' contributions, both online and brick-and-mortar gambling would look very different today. Sure, other people would have eventually come in and filled the voids, but we wouldn't have the same level of gaming and extravagance that we have now. These bios tell the stories of the people behind the innovations that make modern gambling what it is.
On top of all that, these stories just make for plain, good reading. It's interesting to see how these diverse characters all came to join the gambling industry, build their empires, and change everything around them. Some of these people were born with almost nothing and became billionaires. Others have more modest fortunes, but they all show the unique grit it requires to succeed in business.
Click on any of the links below to learn about the people behind the biggest brands in gambling.
- Sheldon Adelson: Vegas and Macau billionaire
- Phil Ruffin: Billionaire owner of Treasure Island
- Kirk Kerkorian: The father of the megaresort
- Steve Wynn: Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and more
- Lim Goh Tong: Chinese-Malaysian billionaire and creator of the Genting Highlands
- Donald Trump: Billionaire, real estate mogul and casino entrepreneur
- Denise Coates: The mastermind behind Bet365.com
- Calvin Ayre: The billionaire behind Bodog
- Lee Jones: The face of PokerStars
- Robert Raatgever: CEO of Microgaming
- Anurag Dikshit - A Billionaire involved with Party Gaming
- John Aspinall: Bookmaker Entrepreneur and Zoo Owner
- Phil Ivey: One of the best poker players of all time
- Bobby Baldwin: Professional Poker Player and Successful Businessman
- Andrew Black: Gambling Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Betfair
- MIT Blackjack Team: Legendary Card-counting Masters
- Ruth Parasol: PartyGaming Founder and Self-made Billionaire
- Isai Scheinberg: Innovative Founder of PokerStars.com
- Chris Moneymaker: WSOP Gold Bracelet Winner and Poker Playing Phenomenon
- Raymond Bitar: Founder and Former CEO of Full Tilt Poker
- Phil Hellmuth: Professional Poker Player
- The Shaked Brothers: Founders of 888
- The Ben-Yitzhak Brothers: Other Founders of 888
- Vanessa Rousso: French-American Professional Poker Player
- Jonathan Duhamel: Canadian Born Professional Poker Player
- Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo: Original Master of the Roulette Wheel
- Daniel Negreanu: Top Canadian Poker Player
- King Henry VIII: King of England and Avid Gambler
- Wild Bill Hickok: Gambler and Gunfighter
- Jesse James: Infamous Outlaw and Gambler
- Dan Bilzerian: Poker Playing Playboy
- Dennis Nickrasch: Famous Slot Machine Cheater
- Chris Ferguson: Poker Pro and Possible Con-Artist?
- Alan Woods: Blackjack Player and Horse Racing Bettor
- Bugsy Siegel: Infamous Gangster and Casino Owner
- Al Francesco: A Famous Blackjack Player
- Ken Uston: Blackjack Player and Author
- Keith Taft: Innovator of Blackjack Computers
- Phil Laak: Pro Poker Player and Author
- Teddy Sagi: Billionaire and Founder of Playtech
- Darryl Purpose: Brilliant Card Counter and Musician
- Ian Andersen: Mysterious Blackjack Author
- Tommy Hyland: Leader of Highly Profitable Blackjack Teams
- Standford Wong: Blackjack Champion
- Julian Braun: Blackjack Mathematics Scholar
- John Chang: Blackjack Card Counting Team Leader
- Edward O. Thorp: Pioneer of Blackjack Literature
- Zeljko Ranogajec: A Life-Long Gambler
- Robert Nersesian: Card Counting Lawyer
- James Grosjean: Established Author and Gambling Enthusiast
- Don Schlesinger: Author and Blackjack Hall of Famer
- Four Horsemen of Aberdeen: Inventors of Basic Strategy
- Viktor Blom: Sweden's Promising Poker Star
- Tommy Glenn Carmichael: Infamous Slot Machine Cheat
- Richard Marcus: Las Vegas Casino Game Cheating Expert
- Conor Murphy: Horse Enthusiasts and Lucky Racetrack Winner
- David Benyamine: French Professional Poker Player
- Barney Curley: Leader of the Yellow Sam Betting Coup
- Erick Lindgren: Professional Poker Player and Gambling Addict
- Daniel Cates: Online Poker Pro
- Brian Townsend: Professional Poker Player
- Annie Duke: Professional Poker Player and Philanthropist
- Barny Boatman: Pro Poker Player and Leader of the Hendon Mob
- Bill Benter: One of the Wealthiest Gamblers in the World
- Barry Meadow: Professional Gambler & Award-Winning Author
- Gus Hansen: Danish Professional Poker Player
- Tom Dwan: Professional Poker Playing Prodigy
Criminals or Businessmen?
There's something interesting that you'll notice about the online gambling gurus detailed in these biographies. Many of these people were considered criminals at some point. Countries around the world have an odd assortment of laws that address gambling and especially gambling on the internet.
For example, William Hill got started as an underground bookie who took illegal bets in the UK before bookmaking was even legal there. Some people would call him a common criminal, but his name now adorns one of the most respected and successful gambling sites in the world.
The same also goes for many of our US-based gambling barons. Ron Sacco was arrested numerous times and served multiple stints in prison. At one point, it was even alleged that he was in bed with the New York mafia. The FBI considered him a wanted criminal and pursued him around the world.
But was Ron Sacco really such a bad guy? Sure, he broke the law, but he also employed hundreds of people and ran one of the first honest bookmaking websites open to US customers. If he would have been born in the UK, then he wouldn't have had a single legal problem. Because he happened to be a US citizen, he earned a name of infamy among law enforcement circles.
We're not arguing that any of these people were saints. Whenever you have a cash based business such as gambling or short-term loans, you're bound to attract unsavory characters. What we do ask is that you read these bios with an open mind. At times, it seems the law of the land is open to nothing more than the whims of the powers that be.
One day, you may be a perfectly upstanding, tax-paying citizen with an honest business. The next, you're being compared to terrorists and other violent criminals. The arbitrary lines that define the law don't always provide us with the clearest picture of someone's true character.