Many traits separate the gambling whale from the experienced high roller, and once you learn them, you will be able to tell which player is a whale and which one is a high stakes gambler. For example, a poker high roller has to stay focused on the game for a long time, while a blackjack or baccarat whale has to make fast decisions pressed by the casino time limits. By the end of the article, you will know what casino offers and complementary items the resorts give to their high roller players. Don’t skip the chapter about the most famous whales and read the Q&A section of this article.
Whale: Gambling Term Definition, Character & Gambling Locations
We can find many definitions of the “whale gambling” term, but the shortest and most accurate is “A high roller, also referred to as a whale or cheetah, is a gambler who consistently wagers large amounts of money” (Wikipedia). Here we should say that not every high roller playing at a brick and mortar or tested and verified high stakes casino sites is a whale player.
Gambling Whale Essential Features
The high stakes players always draw the attention of the crowd. After all, you can’t see a person who can spend half a million per night and walk out smiling. Knowing this, you may think that the casinos make their money from their games, but that is not entirely true. For example, a big percentage of the Las Vegas casinos’ income comes from slots and low stakes card and table games.
If you have a chance to observe a real whale player, you will quickly notice that they are completely different from the rest of the gamblers. Our guide to the different types of online casino players article can give you an idea about the main characteristics of the different player types. In the table below, we summarised the main traits of the whale gamblers.
|🔥 Gambling Treats||Whale Gamblers|
|✨ Casinos||High roller casino tables, VIP games, tournaments|
|🃏 Games||Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker, Slots, Craps|
|📊 Strategy||Huge bets that blow off other players from the game or can “break the bank” (the casino faces substantial losses or even bankruptcy)|
|🤯 Skills||Game knowledge, practical experience, and an abundance of finances|
|💸 Bets/Wagers||Maximum possible bets, side wagers, wager challenges to the other players|
|💰 Cash Flow||Gambling whales are wealthy people|
|🌶️ Attitude||Depending on the player and the level of current winnings/losses, but overall polite as the ‘fear factor’ of losing money is reduced to a minimum|
Obsession is another character trait, but we chose not to include it in the table. Most high roller players and whales manage to control themselves, but sometimes things get out of control. For example, one of the biggest gamblers of all time – the legendary Ramon DeSage, allowed this gambling obsession to turn him into a criminal. Mr. DeSage became a well-known whale in Las Vegas because of his fraud scheme. It is calculated that he wasted over $175 million in various Las Vegas Strip casinos before being apprehended by the US government.
Where Can You Meet a Whale Player?
Depending on the game being played, there might be roulette, baccarat, craps, and blackjack whales. Undoubtedly, some of the most popular whales in the past were poker whales. You can meet them in person in the land-based casinos, but probably never in the online freeroll poker tournaments for real money. Here is where you can encounter a gambling whale:
- High Roller Casino Tables: the best casino resorts with “substantial financial firepower” have special high stakes tables. Usually, everyone who can afford to buy-in in the game is welcome to play.
- VIP & Private Gaming Rooms: you guessed right by thinking that those games are organised for a small circle of players, and sometimes they are invitation only.
- Tournaments: there are international, domestic, online, and land-based casino tournaments where you can meet a whale gambler.
The biggest live poker events in Europe are visited by many types of players and there has been some crazy huge bets on the tables. So far, there is no gambling event on the Old Continent where we can see whales like Mo Chan, the Chinese native high roller. His infamous run in Australian casinos’ baccarat tables put over $10 million in his pocket. Mo Chan won this incredible amount by playing $300,000 – $500,000 per hand. The house limited his wagers, so the gambler left and never returned.
How to Avoid Becoming a Losing Whale Gambler?
Now that you know what the whale gambling term is, it is time to discuss how not to lose if you become a whale player. The first thing to remember is that gambling is unpredictable, and even a certain win can vanish in a blink. That is a fact proven many times before, as you can see in our article about the craziest poker hands. Before you jump onto the high-stakes poker table or into playing $200,000 per hand on baccarat like Kamel Nacif, make sure you follow the tips we list below to improve your game.
Improve Skills & Play Regularly
Excellent knowledge of the game and its strategies are important to high rollers and low rollers. If you are new to casino games, start with low stakes, improve your knowledge, and enjoy the games. By being a low-stakes player, you have a chance to stay longer on the tables and defeat more opponents. If you have decided to become a whale player on the poker tables, it is essential to know the poker tells of the other players instead of relying only on your cards.
The longest poker game was held in the Bird Cage Theatre in Arizona. It is said that the game began in 1881 and lasted for 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days. According to the Bird Cage Theatre, the buy-in was $1000, and the players were well-known in the Wild West.
Game skills are essential for the duration of the gambling game. Roulette, blackjack, craps, and baccarat are fast-paced games where you win or lose within minutes. On the other hand, some poker games can last for hours and even days. Extending the game through time aims to make your opponent tired, bored, and many times even drunk. That is why the tournaments and many high-stakes events give each player a few minutes to decide, or the player misses his turn.
Make Wise Bets & Know When to Quit
In our article on the famous poker blow-ups and tilts, you can find a few examples of confident players who could not calculate the risks correctly. Even though the casino’s high roller bets may go up to $300,000 (in Las Vegas, USA, and Australia) or even up to $500,000 (in Macau), keep in mind that you are not obligated to make such wagers per game, especially per hand.
“Quit while you’re ahead. All the best gamblers do.” Baltasar Gracián y Morales, (1601-1658; Spanish Jesuit, writer, and philosopher)
To be a successful gambling whale, you need to know when to quit the game. This might seem easy, but even the pro-gamblers and experienced players find it difficult to stop. The ability to control yourself and step away from the table will keep your winnings intact. Players who slip and fall into the gambling trap lose everything they own. Such an example is Terrance Watanabe, who, over five years, lost over $220 million in Las Vegas casinos.
Know Your Opponent & House Rules
The richest gamblers in the world have game skills and, at the same time, have exceptionally good knowledge of the gambler’s psychology and personality types. Most casino whales and professional players frequently meet at different tournaments and events, giving them enough time to get to know each other. If you are new to the game, it is good to give yourself some time to observe and learn what the other players’ tells are.
Despite the high rollers’ preferences towards playing mainly poker, baccarat, craps, or blackjack, they all have the same player qualities. Seeing beyond the opponent’s calm face in poker is just as easy as seeing their cards in their reflective glasses. The best pro-gamblers advise you to keep your eyes open and pay attention to the behaviour of the rest of the players even more than your cards.
The whale gambling term describes the most popular situations, but there is no need for you to be already rich or a constant high roller to win. It is enough to have a little bit of luck to play at a house bad at calculating players’ promos and other special perks. Such a lucky streak brought Mr. Don Johnson about $15 million from two different casinos. The casinos offered him blackjack comp points that turned the house edge in his favour. It seems astonishing, but this could happen to any player who requests comps and is smart enough to say nothing when the casino makes a mistake.
Top Games & Offers for Casino Whales
Whale gambling is more than throwing piles of cash on the gambling table. Most of the high-stakes players prefer one game and diverse their gambling with everything the casino has to offer. Dedicating a night to poker and then throwing the dice a few times can be considered a good night, especially if you win. Real gamblers never shy away from exploring new games and chances to win.
Once the game is over, it is time to enjoy the spoils and benefits of being a high stakes player. Even though high rollers and whales are usually already rich individuals used to luxury and spoiling, they can’t say no to a good pampering. This is where the casino resorts step in, and shower presents over the whales. Even the online gambling sites and the verified and secure real money online poker sites in the UK have sweet promotions for the players.
Don’t think that only big money losses can bring comps and prizes from the casino. Every online casino has accessible bonuses, and anyone playing at a brick and mortar casino can get many casino or hotel extras. To get them, you should sign up for a player’s card and simply ask the resort representatives and pit bosses for players’ prizes, rewards, and other comps. Here are some of the things and perks you can get for free as a high roller player:
- Free Private Jet Trips: The jet can pick up or take the player and his party to or from a specified destination.
- Limousine Rides: You don’t think that after the private jet tour, the high rollers are walking or taking the bus, right? The limo rides are a treat from the casinos to all high roller players.
- Luxurious Suites & Villas: High-end accommodations are always made available to the biggest players and their family and/or friends. The huge luxurious apartments may have a butler, personal chef, massage room, private pool, fully stocked bars, and fulfilled list of the player’s requirements.
- Casino Host: The casino host is the closest thing to a genie in a bottle. All you have to do is ask, and it shall be given to you – special dinner, free show tickets, private table games, booking a jet, and anything else you can think of. By satisfying almost every gambler’s need, the host can bring millions in revenue to the casino every month.
- Extend Credit & Rebates: Extend credit is given to many players to keep them in the game. Alternative casino offers are rebates on betting turnover or on losses.
- Comps & Perks: This is a mile-long list, and some of the treats are upfront cash bonuses, events tickets, free stay at the hotel, special prizes, and lots more. The range and value of the comps vary depending on the player and his wins or losses.
The whale gambling term may give you the impression that there are only male gambling whales, but that is far from the truth. Nevertheless, lady gamblers rarely make crazy high stakes. There is also no female player enraged by a loss, throwing piles of money on the table just to get in the game and prove to the entire universe that she is a winner. Even so, many female players use whale players’ benefits, whether winning or losing.
Poker Whales & Other Popular Whale Players
An excellent example of a poker whale is Andrew Beal. This famous poker player always took a seat on the poker tables and astonished everyone with incredible bets size. The casino whale’s weapon is bottomless money pockets, but eventually, there is always another high roller player that can match the money pile. When this happens, only game knowledge and skills can decide who the winner is.
Phil Ivey – Playing WSOP and Beyond
No one knows exactly how much he’s up or down, but he wagers over. In our Phil Ivey’s MasterClass review, you can learn how to play like this pro-gambler and WSOP all-time best poker player. With expert skills and unreadable poker face, he wagers over $100,000 per roll on the craps tables, and after that, easily throws $200,000 per hand on baccarat.
Kerry Packer – Aussie Businessman & Fearless Gambler
Kerry Packer’s story takes us to the world of the Australian business magnate, who is also known as one of the best and fearless gamblers of all time. Taking part in high-risk and high roller games with stakes in the range of tens of millions per session lead to wins of $9 million in 1992 (from Hilton, Las Vegas), and about $33 million (from MGM, Las Vegas) won in one session at $300,000 per hand.
Archie Karas – From $50 to $40 Million
Archie Karas’ story proves that you can conquer the gambling world with $50. He used the few bucks in his pocket to hit the tables and managed to transform them into $40 million. Even though he was playing every possible casino game, his preferred choice was craps. Unfortunately, Archie lost his fortune, but that can’t stop him from being known as one of the greatest gamblers of all time.
Even though those are some of the most popular whale gambling faces, there are many more players who deserve your attention. Whales like Zhenli Ye Gon, Edward O. Thorp, Akio Kashiwagi, Adnan Kashoggi, Charles Barkley, Zeljko Ranogajec, and more are the reason why people like watching high roller games. Check their life and gambling stories, if you have the chance, and you will see what makes each of them a great gambling whale.
Whale Gambling Popular Questions & Answers
In our whale gambling article, you saw what makes the whale and high roller players interesting. Now, it is time to answer popular questions about whale players our readers asked us. The information below is short, and if you need details, follow the link to the relevant part of this article.