The World’s Most Famous Professional Sports Gamblers
Not too many players manage to get to the professional gambling scene and turn their risky hobby into a stable and long-term source of income. And yet, we have examples of incredibly inspiring stories of players who have put their gambling knowledge to the next level and become millionaires. They continue to shock the world with their impressive victories and controversial actions, and we will share with you brief biographical information about 5 such gamblers in this article.
1. Anthony “The Lizard” Bloom
If you have wondered what the perfect sports betting life looks like, you should look at Tony Bloom, who is the true embodiment of a successful gambler. This Briton adores football and other sporting events and heavily relies on his knowledge of the teams to make millions in betting. His cold-blooded decisions in both poker and betting have earned him the memorable nickname “The Lizard.” Anthony’s overall fortune is unknown. However, many experts and enthusiasts believe it may well exceed billions of dollars.
Bloom has devoted almost his entire life to gambling, and it has helped him achieve astounding financial success. Massive betting wins made him the majority owner of professional football club Brighton & Hove Albion. Besides that, Tony founded Starlizard, a company that provides customers with highly accurate tools for predicting football matches.
Anthony comes to betting responsibly and thoughtfully. He prefers to place numerous massive bets and focuses primarily on the overall result. In addition, he bases his strategies on delusions that bookmakers often fall victim to. For example, “The Lizard” argues that bookmakers tend to overestimate the injured players’ value and underestimate the odds for an incomplete team too significantly. These overreactions have allowed Bloom to generate colossal wins thanks to mistakenly decreased odds.
2. Ben “Parlay” Patz
This successful professional player represents a younger gambling scene. Being born in 1996, Ben fell in love with sports betting pretty fast, and once he turned 18, the bookmakers saw his first bet. It was a boxing match between legendary undefeated Floyd Mayweather and another iconic boxer, Manny Pacquiao.
One may assume that his nickname has something to do with his betting approach, and they would be right. “Patz” prefers to place parlay bets that combine several sports outcomes into one massive bet. This method allows you to generate colossal total odds even when you are making relatively small bets. Ben’s gambling buddies recognized his amazing ability to predict multiple matches at once and started calling him “Parlay Patz” because of this.
“Patz” has accumulated numerous winnings during his short career. However, he also experienced some difficulties. For example, the unlicensed gambling operator refused to pay Ben his $75,000 winnings for his successful parlay bet. The betting platform agreed to pay the player $12,000, but the unfair defeat did not stop this ambitious guy.
After this unfortunate situation, Ben changed his approach to betting and started choosing gambling sites much more carefully. His combination betting strategy earned him prizes like $333,000 and $183,000 on his 13 and 8 predicted matches, respectively. The 23-year-old betting phenomenon follows basketball and soccer events and does not care if it is professional or college leagues.
In addition, it is worth noting that “Parlay Patz” has recently faced a fairly serious situation. After a thorough investigation, the FBI discovered that Ben was sending out hundreds of threats to professional athletes to affect their performance on the court or the field. This terrible act cost the player a lot, and he has to stay away from any gambling-related activities these days.
3. Haralabos Voulgaris
The global sports betting scene would not be the same without this man. Experienced players know this professional player by the nickname “Bob.” This talented sports analyst and bettor began his path to fame in the late 90s. Voulgaris specializes in the events of the most prestigious basketball league in the world – the NBA. He has developed several unique predictive techniques that have helped him make a fortune in gambling.
Haralabos has an amazingly analytical mind that made him a millionaire by the age of 25. But what exactly makes his bets so reasonable? The thing is that “Bob” builds his predictive model around the several head coaches’ behavioural patterns. Back in the day, Voulgaris analyzed how Byron Scott, Jerry Sloan and Eddie Jordan managed their basketball teams: New Jersey Nets, Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz. The bettor noted certain trends and made predictions based on them, which, according to him, turned out to be correct in more than 70% of cases.
Haralabos approaches betting pretty progressively and never sticks to outdated strategies if he sees them lose their effectiveness. He changed his methodology several times to continue making multi-million-dollar bets and even developed a revolutionary betting tool. The NBA provides fans with all the statistics they need about the teams’ performance in every match. It allowed Voulgaris to create an analytical model called “Ewing” that helps bettors track and predict team performance across the NBA.
Besides basketball games and other sporting events, Bob is also a huge poker enthusiast. Moreover, this card hobby also brought him a pretty solid financial compensation. As of 2020, Voulgaris has managed to generate over $3 million over the course of his 14-year poker career. Haralabos competed in 19 events to achieve these results, and one of his most memorable winnings came in 2017 when “Bob” took over $1,150,000 for fourth place in the prestigious WSOP One Drop event.
The Dallas Mavericks basketball team’s owner, Mark Cuban, was impressed with Voulgaris’ talent so much that he hired him as Director of Quantitative Research and Development. The funny thing is that the club did not even have such a position before and created it specifically for “Bob.” The bettor has been partnering with Mavericks from 2018 to 2021 and made many significant decisions that helped transform the team into an NBA playoff contender.
4. James “Jeopardy!” Holzhauer
James has been destined to have an exciting life since he began showing his extraordinary talents as a child. He impressed teachers with his crazy math skills, followed a one-to-one math program and regularly won prestigious educational tournaments. Once James realized that his incredible counting skills could benefit him, he began to use them to participate in various intellectual TV shows and sports betting.
Holzhauer is a true “Jeopardy!” show’s legend holding the massive record in terms of win-to-appearance ratio. This quiz game allowed James to generate a fairly decent fortune of over $2,4 million. It took him 33 appearances to achieve this result, with the most profitable session bringing him $131,000. And while another contestant, Ken Jennings, slightly surpasses James’ money record, it took him 75 tries to make about $2,5 million.
Another memorable example of James’ amazing gambling intelligence is his participation in The Chase. He shocked this quiz with numerous records relying on gambling analytics to make decisions. A perfect example of such calculated and cold-blooded action was one of the second rounds on the show when Holzhauer refused to increase the difficulty of the questions to double his potential $60,000 winnings. He was convinced that even this sizable extra money could not make up for his much lower winning chances.
While his gambling career began pretty modestly, he quickly moved from hearts and spades to more serious games and sports betting. Poker was his first card game, and the World Series of Baseball was the first betting success for him in 2006.
Also, Holzhauer decided to put his card skills to the trial and took part in the World Series of Poker in 2019. However, this tournament was unsuccessful for the player. He competed against 1800 participants, and his biggest win was $600 only. James did not earn his massive bankroll making bets, but he used numerous gambling strategies to achieve success as a show contestant, and that is why he is so well known and respected in the casino community.
5. Billy Walters
Any adequate sports bettor knows who Billy Walters is. This professional gambler has impressed the American gambling scene numerous times. His betting career includes both unsuccessful first steps and the most shocking winning results in Las Vegas’s history.
Billy grew up in a poor family and turned out to be an amazingly purposeful person. When he worked as a salesman of used cars in 1965, he made sales records earning over $50,000 a year, which was an incredible amount for those times. And while Billy continued to work 80 hours a week, he also did not miss the opportunities to make profitable bets.
It is fair to say that Walters’ gambling history began over 65 years ago when he was 9 years old. His first sports bet happened to be losing back then. However, this defeat in no way distanced him from risky games. Billy experienced significant losses early in his career and even lost his house once. Luckily for him, the winner decided to leave the house to Walters in exchange for paying off the $50,000 in debt over 1,5 years.
But in his 30s, Billy decided to change the situation radically. He started to take casino games much more seriously and noticed some tendencies allowing him to make more likely bets. One of his most iconic winnings came in 1986 when Walters and his partner won $3,8 million in less than two nights at the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel. According to gamblers, they noticed that the roulette wheel had some defect, so the ball was more likely to land on certain numbers.
Billy’s sports betting achievements are no less impressive than his casino adventures. Even though it was in the 80s, Walters managed to find a competitive betting advantage for himself – it was a computer analysis of the likely outcomes. The player has been continuing to bet for 39 years and made a profit every time except one year, which snapped his 30-year winning streak. Billy’s betting preferences are quite diverse, covering both professional and college basketball and football matches.
While the facts mentioned above point to a fairly successful Walters’ gambling life, his current personal situation may surprise many of you. The fact is that the American court sentenced Billy to 5 years in prison in 2017, and he had served this sentence until the spring of 2020. In addition to a $10 million financial compensation, the gambler will have to comply with house arrest until early 2022.
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Frequently asked questions
What sport does Haralabos Voulgaris prefer to bet on?
Bob specializes in basketball betting, focusing on NBA matches.
Why Anthony Bloom has the nickname “The Lizard”?
Tony is known for his calculated and cold-blooded gambling decisions in both poker and sports betting.
Is it true that Ben Patz threatened athletes?
Yes. The FBI managed to prove the player’s guilt in this case, and he was legally punished.
What is Billy Walters’ betting winning percentage?
According to the legendary bettor, he predicted more than 57% of his bets correctly, thanks to his strategies.