Akio Kashiwagi – The Baccarat Player and His Feud with Donald Trump
There are some baccarat players who have become truly legendary amongst fans of the game and one such player was Akio Kashiwagi, known amongst the elite gambling circles as “The Warrior”.
Kashiwagi baccarat player was a Japanese real estate magnate who, in the early 1990s, became known for his high-stakes gambling as well as a number of clashes with high-profile figures.
A Truly High Stakes Gambler
Long before the era of baccarat sites on the Internet, Kashiwagi’s most famous baccarat game took place in 1990. He was invited to the Trump Taj Mahal to play against the house. Some say he won $6 million; others say he won $8 million, but either way, he certainly won. This reportedly left Donald Trump furious. Trump consulted with some experts who explained that baccarat has a very low house edge but that the longer the player plays, the more they are likely to lose.
Trump then devised a way to get his money back. He invited Kashiwagi back to the casino to play with two rules. Kashiwagi was to start with $12 million and he must continue playing until he either reaches $24 million or loses everything.
What followed was days of intense, high-roller baccarat action. At one point, Kashiwagi was $9 million ahead (bringing the total to $15 million after the two sessions), and Trump reportedly considered stopping the game. There are several accounts of what actually happened, but what is agreed by all is that at one point, Trump was up $10 million, meaning that he’d won back the $6 million from Kashiwagi’s first trip and an additional $4 million.
At this point, Trump decided to end the game. Kashiwagi was reportedly furious as the game was ended prematurely. His aide even announced that they would be burning the autographed copy of Trump’s book “Art of the Deal” that he had been given as a gift.
Significantly, Kashiwagi left without paying Trump. He had been playing on credit and departed before a $6 million check he wrote had cleared. Furthermore, there are also reports that he cashed $500,000 worth of chips on his way out of the casino.
The Man behind the Gambler
Kashiwagi made his fortune in the thriving Japanese real estate market, amassing an empire that boasted over $1 billion in assets and earned him profits upward of $100 million a year. It was these financial resources that enabled him to become one of the most famous baccarat players of all time.
However, his story does not have a happy ending. Kashivagi was murdered in his home near Mount Fuji in early 1992. He had been stabbed 150 times. However, nothing had been stolen from the house and the police had no leads. The murder remains unsolved to this day.
Despite this, there is no doubt about his legacy in the casino world. His presence was so impactful that he inspired a character in the film ‘Casino’, ‘KK Ichikawa’, an analog for Akio Kashiwagi.
Kashiwagi’s Baccarat Strategy
Kashiwagi’s approach to baccarat was methodical, taking advantage of the game’s low house edge and his own enormous bets. This strategy saw him win as often as he lost, but his strategy was not just about the size of the bets but also the timing and the ability to read the game and its subtle ebbs and flows.
This understanding of baccarat’s nuances allowed Kashiwagi to engage in marathon gaming sessions that became the stuff of legend. His endurance at the table was unmatched, often playing for days without respite, a testament to his nickname, “The Warrior”.
Ultimately, Kashiwagi baccarat player relied on luck as much as any other player. However, his willingness to bet as much as $250,000 per hand meant that he could quickly amass vast winnings, propelling him into the baccarat history books.