Casinos in Las Vegas, London, Monaco, and Macau attract millions of occasional gamblers every year. People play low as they have a limited vacation budget. Most likely, these ladies and gentlemen will never return even despite free drinks or high possible gains. But there’s another world. The world of incredibly large wagers, luxury services, and VIP rooms. The world of people who play high. Who are they? Let’s see.
Who are high rollers and whales?
Usually, “high rollers” and “whales” are considered the same type when it comes to casino terms. However, it all depends on money. While regular gamblers bet hundreds of dollars, high rollers play for thousands and whales play for millions. There are no exact definitions. High rollers may have a budget from $100,000 to $1 million for a regular casino weekend and whales start from $1 million with almost no upper limit.
So, it’s pretty obvious that anyone who bets a lot of money can be named a high roller or a whale. These players are really valuable for casinos, especially if they play for a long time. So far as “the house always wins”, the longer the rich play the more they can spend.
How high rollers gamble?
Forget about jackets, sunglasses, crowds around, and poker tables. Real whales are nondescript as they don’t want to be noticed while gambling. Analysts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch claim that rich people play mostly in Asia and prefer baccarat to all other games. High rollers accept comps from casinos but try to hide in VIP-lounges with personal dealers and surely without fans around.
There are a few chances to meet a whale even if you can recognize him or her. These persons play with dealers almost all the time. They choose baccarat because the casino has the least advantages there. They also choose private tables with their own brokers. Pit bosses realize that it’s a bit uncomfortable to move around with millions of cash, so high rollers play with non-negotiable chips which represent their credit line. Huge credit line.
Lately, rich gamblers and modern casinos have started to use cryptocurrencies. That’s logical. Crypto and blockchain offer anonymous and convenient transactions, so players don’t have to bring cash. Whales can transfer funds from their wallets to casinos easily without third parties like banks. Bitcoin is the most popular token for now. However, for instance, a lot of places in Macau utilize Dragon coins and Dragon Global Chips with reduced fees for gamers.
So, here are marks by which whales can be spotted:
- Play baccarat or, rarely, craps.
- Prefer private and VIP rooms.
- Have no limits and use credit lines.
- Look like regular persons.
- Prefer Macau, London, and Vegas.
Despite enormous wagers, high rollers don’t contribute a lot to casino income. John Eidsnoe, lawyer and writer, states that the low- and mid-class gamblers bring the money, mostly. A whale’s visit may bring monthly revenue as well as cause bankruptcy. But it’s about short-term, one-night consequences. Casinos do their business in the long run. The thing is that high bets mean high gains if you are a lucky man but casino will win if you can’t stop at the right moment.
What is it like to be a high roller?
Regular visit of high rollers is the dream of every casino because they increase house edge. That’s why casino bosses appreciate rich players and try to attract them with so-called comps – free goods and services like drinks, food, apartments, transport, and so on. The amount and type of comps depend on the bet size, duration of the game, and reputation of a gambler. Comps are divided into two major groups.
Casino hosts responsible for providing bonuses to high rollers were originated in 1940s. The system is more complex now but the main idea is the same – house offers free stuff to attract new and keep loyal gamblers. There are several levels of comps:
- Free drinks. The lowest level is available for everybody. Almost all casinos in well-known gambling cities like Macau or Las Vegas offer free alcohol. The only requirement is playing any game inside the casino.
- Free meals. Various houses have restaurants or at least bars with number of meals. Free food isn’t for all but you don’t have to be a whale to get it. Regular players are awarded with discounts or certain amount to spend in restaurant. High rollers have no limits.
- Free suits. Casino may offer different types of rooms in their own hotel or somewhere nearby. Whales have access to the most luxury suits like presidential ones. Valuable players also can receive packages called RFB: room, food, drink.
Other comps are for high rollers only. These can be, for instance, private jet flights or a free car with a driver. Casinos provide exclusive tickets to shows or sport events. Whales can enter private areas to play with professional dealers or with other VIPs. Also, casino bosses offer different credit lines for different visitors – the most welcomed high rollers can play without maximum limits.
Online high roller casinos, for example AllHighRollerCasinos.com, also want to catch a player with a lot of money. Apps and sites offer various comps similar to brick-and-mortar casinos but these offers are a bit different. They are divided into two groups again:
- Virtual bonuses. Here are discounts, promo codes, affiliate programs, welcome and deposit bonuses, and so on. High rollers may receive exclusive seats in virtual rooms and invitations to tournaments with a large prize pool. One of the modern comps is cash back.
- Real stuff. For wins or even huge deposits players get jackets, personalized chips, gadgets, jewelry, and other valuable things. Successful high rollers may move from online to real casinos with special invitations.
Despite the fact that online casinos are more familiar with cryptocurrencies, real houses deal with more money. Comps there are also better. But the golden rule “casino has more chances to win in the long run” is the same everywhere.
The most recognizable players
For the last, here are some mind-blowing numbers from famous whales:
- Adnan Khashoggi. The key player of London in 1980s. Adnan spent about ₤3 million during 12 long visits to Ritz casino. In 1998 he owed Ritz about ₤10 million.
- Akio Kashiwagi. The most famous whale of Vegas in 1970s and 1980s. He played baccarat with average $200,000 per hand and had insane credits. Akio was found dead in 1992. Most likely, he was killed for unpaid debts.
- Kerry Packer. This man is titled as the most fearless gambler of all time. Maybe, that was the reason that he won about $9 million from Hilton casino and about $33 million from MGM in Vegas. Kerry’s bets were in average $300,000.
- Mo Chan. The new-era elusive gambler from China won about $10 million in Star City casino in Sydney in 2011. He played baccarat with outstanding bets from $300,000 to $500,000!
I want to point out again: high wagers may bring really high benefits but it all depends on the luck. It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you can’t stop. Because house edge goes bigger the more you are playing.