The Stories Behind the Biggest Baccarat Wins
Baccarat has long been associated with high rollers and while today, players of any sized bankroll can enjoy it, it is still very much a game that attracts the big spenders. This means that there have been some colossal wins at online baccarat sites, but also at the casino tables over the years and here we will introduce you to some of the notable baccarat wins.
Lin Haisan – $12.9m at the World Series Baccarat Championship
If you are a baccarat fan, then you may well have heard of the World Series Baccarat Championship. This impressive win took place during the 2015 tournament organized by the Suncity Group at the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel.
The tournament offered a prize pot of HKD119,000,000 ($15,339,600), which set a record for the biggest prize money for a baccarat tournament. The biggest individual winner was Lin Haisan from Hong Kong, who won an enormous jackpot of HKD100,000,000 ($12.9 million), and according to the Guinness Book of Records, this is the largest baccarat tournament winnings up until now.
Anonymous Group – $55m at the Crown Casino, Melbourne
The reason why this win is not at the top of the list is that it was achieved by a group of people over an extended period towards the end of the 1990s. The winning group remains anonymous to this day, but they were playing at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.
Their winnings were so large that the casino would have actually gone out of business were it not for financial intervention. The casino had advertised a special promotion featuring high stakes baccarat games. They were allowing VIP gamblers to bet as much as $500,000 per hand and relying on the fact that the odds were in the house’s favor.
However, players do get lucky and the casino discovered this to its cost. It is thought that the group won as much as $55 million during this period and that an individual hit landed a single win of $12 million!
Akio Kashiwagi – A Truly Extraordinary Tale
Akio Kashiwagi was a legendary baccarat player who earned himself the nickname ‘The Warrior’ due his intensive playing sessions that could reportedly last for as long as 80 hours. He was such a famous player that a character in the film ‘Casino’ was named after him, K.K. Ichikawa, played by Nobu Matsuhisa.
There are many stories about Kashiwagi and it is widely agreed upon that he would think nothing of betting $100,000 a hand or even double that if given the opportunity.
However, the most famous story about Kashiwagi involves none other than Donald Trump. In February 1990, Trump invited Kashiwagi to play at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Kashiwagi was put up in a luxury penthouse and a special baccarat table was set aside for him. According to John O’Donnell, the chief operating officer at the casino, Kashiwagi brought $6 million and was given a further $6 million in credit.
On the first evening of his stay, Kashiwagi won $4 million, $1 million of which came in the first half an hour. Due to baccarat’s small house edge, Trump reportedly became concerned about the casino’s finances, with Kashiwagi betting $250,000 a hand, 70 times an hour. He, of course, experienced winning and losing streaks but left the hotel after two days, having won $6.2 million, putting the casino in financial trouble.
Trump was determined to recoup his losses, so he called upon the services of mathematician Jess Marcum. Marcum concluded that the longer Kashiwagi played, the worse his odds would become. Together with casino expert Al Glasgow, an agreement was reached that Kashiwagi would play at the casino until he either doubled his money or lost it all.
The story goes that Kashiwagi quickly went $9.6 million up, but his fortunes soon reversed and after six days, he was $10 million down, at which point Trump ended the game.
Many Additional Big Winners
There have been a number of additional notable baccarat wins over the years, perhaps most famously Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin Sun, who, working together and using a technique known as edge sorting, won $20.6 million playing at casinos in Atlantic City and London. However, both casinos accused them of cheating and after long court cases, they didn’t receive any of the money.
The above players all bet big to win big. However, as we wrote about recently, one lucky player won $300,000 from just $60, so you don’t necessarily have to start off as a high roller. Whatever your budget, why not try your luck playing online baccarat to see if you can join the ranks of the big winners.