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The World's Greatest Gamblers

 article about best gamblers in the world
The poker world lost one of its icons last year, with the passing of casino legend Amarillo Slim. One of the last bastions of the old school, Slim was a million miles away from today's breed of players, all fresh and squeaky clean, drawn into the game by flashy televised championships and online poker rooms.

An intimidating six foot three, and even taller in his Cuban heel cowboy boots and ten gallon hat, Slim had been playing poker since the 40s. Born the year Wyatt Earp died and Wall Street crashed (the first time around), Slim was a Texan cowboy through and through, playing poker the hard way as a rounder until he made it into the history books with his first World Series of Poker win back in 1972.

He'd go on to win four more, but it wasn't his WSOP victories that made Slim a cult figure on the circuit. First of all, there was his style. Custom-made ostrich boots with spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds on them, his shirt buttons covered in uncut emeralds - sent to him by Pablo Escobar to apologise for abducting him in Colombia by mistake. No really.

Legendary tales like these surrounded Slim, from the time he rode a camel through a casino for a bet, to the time he took on Wimbledon champ Bobby Riggs to a game of table tennis – on the condition that Slim could bring the bats. Slim brought two kitchen skillets – he'd been training hard with them too, and Riggs was pummelled.

His easy charm and larger-than-life nature, not to mention that mighty fancy cowboy gear, earned him a place on just about every chat show going, as well as a part in Robert Altman's California Split, making him one of the first ever poker superstars in the US, and inspiring some questionable country tunes along the way.

But he's not the only one to help have helped add a little sparkle to the gambling world. The casino circuit's always been packed with characters, attracting a strange mix of weirdos, chancers, mathematical geniuses, billionaire playboys - anyone with the cojones big enough to take on lady luck.

Here are some more of our favourite casino legends, every one of them lending glamour, magic and mythical status to the world of gambling.

Ashley Revell
32-year-old Ashley Revell made major headlines after he decided to play one very special game of roulette. Selling off every single thing that he owned, he managed to raise over $135,000 to wager on one lucky spin. Filmed live for TV, Revell bet literally everything he had on red – and won. Doubling his money to over $270k, cool as a cucumber he left the casino, never to return. Want to find out about some more daredevil roulette wheel spinners?

Joseph Jagger
This handsome devil is the Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo. Well, it's the guy who played him in the movie. The real Monte Carlo legend was one Joseph Jagger, a mill engineer who decided to investigate the theory of wheel bias. Back in 1873, Jagger hired six clerks to clandestinely record the outcomes of the six roulette wheels at the Beaux-Arts Casino at Monte Carlo, Monaco. He discovered what he dreamed might be true - one of the six wheels showed a clear bias, with nine of its numbers turning up more frequently than the others. Heading straight for the roulette tables, over several days at the casino he amassed an amazing 2m francs – equivalent to £3,250,000 today, and triumphantly left Monte Carlo for good.


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