Alan Carr, a British comedian, broadcaster, and film producer, once said you should never meet your heroes. While most of his work is meant to entertain and cause a few pain-in-your-cheeks laughs, this is more than just another witty comeback. Indeed, there’s a lot of harsh reality hiding in this simple yet poignant point of view. 

As true gambling lovers, we often fantasize about meeting the top baccarat players in the world. Despite common sense or valuable pieces of advice like the one above, we relish the opportunity to get a glimpse of their lifestyles, everyday rituals, and baccarat secrets just to be able to recreate some of the incredible swings that made them millionaires in the first place.

Well, your wish just came true. Read on as we’ll present you with the best baccarat players the world has ever seen.

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Bond, James Bond 

Yes, we’re aware James Bond isn’t a real person. Nevertheless, no baccarat-player-related list is complete without acknowledging this legend of a player. Double-oh-seven is a designated superspy in the British Secret Intelligence Service. Ever since 1962, he has been preventing villains from taking over the world – and enjoying baccarat all the while. Playing Chemin de Fer Baccarat, his favorite, he has graced many fictional casinos worldwide. 

We don’t know exactly how much he won by playing his number one game. Still, we do know one thing: we’ve all fantasized about ordering a Vesper martini, wearing his infamous suit while visiting or scrolling top live dealer baccarat casinos, at least once. Hey, stand-up comedians aren’t the only jokers around here! 

Akio Kashiwagi 

Jokes aside, we’ll move on to a more serious (and much less fictional) subject. Also known as the Warrior, Akio never feared to bet 6-digits at the baccarat table. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding Kashiwagi. His personal life was equally exciting and controversial as the one he led in a casino. He was a notorious Tokyo property developer. However, nobody was certain about how he got rich in the first place. Many believed he was connected with the Yakuza. 

Nevertheless, Akio was among the top baccarat players in the world, known for his adventures in Atlantic City. After visiting the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino one night, Kashiwagi managed to land a $6 million win after wagering “only” $200,000. But, only a few months later, the tables turned (pun intended), and Akio Kashiwagi became the owner of the biggest loss the game of baccarat had ever seen. The warrior finally lost a battle—and $10 million—due to a bad wager. 

As a result, Akio went from hero to zero in the blink of an eye. In the end, he owed $5 million to Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino and another $4 million to Las Vegas Hilton. His death was more spectacular than his baccarat success, though. In 1992, Akio was found dead. The cause of his death? He suffered 150 stab wounds from a sword. 

Phil Ivey

The world’s best all-around poker player and winner of 10 WSOP gold bracelets didn’t wander onto our list of the best baccarat players by accident. In fact, Phil Ivey was a skilled player, natural in many other forms of gambling, and often flirting with baccarat. Punto Banco was his favorite game. 

Phil was a strategy master. On the other hand, his accomplice “Kelly” Sun was a master of discovering card flaws (e.g., tiny bumps in edges or minuscule differences in proportions). The duo joined forces and, using advanced gambling techniques, made a combined $20.6 million at the Atlantic City and London baccarat tables. The two were the main protagonists, while Borgata and Crockfords were their stages. 

Phil was using his sophisticated gambling tactics while Sun was discovering flawed cards from a distance. At first, Borgata paid out $11 million in winnings. However, it all changed after the London casino withheld their winnings and opted against paying out Phil and Sun. After judges in London sided with Crockfords, Borgata sued the team and won back the $11 million. 

The Greek Syndicate

Though most of the players mentioned above relied heavily on luck when gambling, The Greek Syndicate was the complete opposite. The team gathered some of the top baccarat players in the world, creating almost a perfect collection of top casino punters. The team featured several members, including:

  • Francois Andre
  • Zaret Couyoumdjian
  • Eli Eliopulo
  • Anthanase Vagliano
  • Nicolas Zographos

They traveled to casinos in Monte Carlo, Cannes, and Paris over the course of 10 years (1920 -1930). Nicolas was the key to their immense success. Zographos had outstanding mathematical and memorization skills. According to many accounts, Nicolas could memorize every single hand that had been dealt from a shoe. Ultimately, his skills allowed him to predict what cards would come out with near-perfection. 

The Greek Syndicate managed to land a significant profit from casinos using their knowledge, skills, and experience. Unfortunately, after World War 2 started, casinos all around Europe were closed, as countries concentrated their efforts on fighting the war. 

Are There any Professional Baccarat Players?

In short: yes. We already mentioned several of them in the previous entries. If you visit any casino, both online and land-based, for a couple of days in a row, there’s a chance you’ll see some familiar faces. There are many baccarat players regularly visiting Macau, Atlantic City, Reno, Tunica, Biloxi, and many other places. Though most of them aren’t top baccarat players in the world, playing baccarat is their primary source of income and their way of life. 

Who Won the Most Money in Baccarat?

There are many stories about incredible ups and downs at baccarat tables. One story dates back to the 1990s, in Crown Casino in Melbourne. Allegedly, a group of Asian high-rollers visited the casino and occupied the baccarat tables. Long story short, the group walked out with $55 million and disappeared from the face of the Earth. It is estimated that one of the group members landed a staggering $12 million. 

When it comes to baccarat games, the house is not as invincible as you might expect. During the 2015 World Series Championship, one player had an extremely lucky hand. Lin Hassan scored the highest baccarat jackpot and bagged $12.9 million. Ultimately, he won the championship and entered the top baccarat player on the world list. 

Can You Get Rich Playing Baccarat?

Like all other games of chance, baccarat is attracting a lot of attention by allowing huge potential winnings to all who play it. The baccarat gameplay is relatively simple. However, if you wish to thrive at casino tables, you’ll have to involve strategy in the manner of the top baccarat players in the world. Relying on luck may put you in the middle of an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. 

But, with a lot of effort, you can excel in baccarat and start walking out of the casinos with immense amounts of money. You don’t have to be a math guru or have a photographic memory to succeed in baccarat in the long term (though it would be helpful). You can find tons of material on how to win in baccarat. You never know; maybe some future articles will also include your name. All in all, baccarat has the capacity to make you rich; it’s up to you how and to what extent you’re ready to devote yourself to the game.  

What is the Best Baccarat Strategy?

In the game of baccarat, the house edge is fixed. However, considering the low house edge, players can win anytime at baccarat tables. Naturally, like in any other casino game, you can increase your chances in baccarat by using different strategies. 

Players looking for an easy route towards earning more in a casino typically use hole carding or edge sorting techniques. The most popular way of getting an advantage is hole carding. However, one should put in a lot of work to master this tactic. Also, it could come in handy if you manage to find a dealer who flashes hole-card values, which is not common at all these days. 

Conclusion

We can say some of the top baccarat players in the world have won and lost more money than some of us will make in our lifetime. Some players are known for their high-roller wagers with little to no strategy during their extravagant betting. On the other hand, some players have used their talent and hard work to master the game. There are no rules when it comes to baccarat. This is baccarat’s greatest advantage; it gives all players an equal chance – it’s up to you to make the most of it.

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