Throughout history there have been multiple famous historical figures who have played certain casino games. It is believed that gambling dates back to before written history, so there is no surprise that there have been historical figures who have had some sort of history in gambling games. This article lists some of the more famous gamblers throughout history.
During his lifetime, King Henry VIII was referred to as “England’s Number 1 Gambler” as gambling was his favourite activity during his spare time. Regularly playing variations of popular card games at the time, King Henry VIII often participated in numerous gambling events but luck was rarely on his side. It is believed that he lost around £3,250 over the course of two years by playing cards (a huge sum of money at the time). His most infamous gambling loss occurred when he lost the beloved Jesus bells of the old St. Paul’s church on a single roll of dice.
Another king who regularly gambled was Charles II. Like Henry VIII, Charles was a keen gambler but was careful about how much and what he gambled. Although a fan of card and dice games, Charles also created the written rules for British horse racing in 1665. The changes he made to gambling during his time has King means he is considered the “father of modern gambling”.
Although Montagu served as the British Secretary of State and the First Lord of the Admiralty during the American Revolutionary War, he is most famous for his life as a gambler. Montagu played a variety of card games, but his favourite game was Euchre. It is unknown how much money Montagu won or lost gambling, but he was known to have an obsession with it. Surprisingly, his gambling obsession was believed to have led to the invention of the sandwich. Due to his refusal to leave the gambling table, Montagu would request his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread – a combination unheard of at the time.
Casanova was a popular Italian adventurer and author who’s autobiography, “Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life)”, is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of European social life during the 18th century. His social and political circle meant that Casanova regularly gambled, winning and losing large sums of money. Although the Italian was tutored by professionals, Casanova admitted that he was not disciplined enough to become a professional gambler. Despite not being a professional, Casanova was known to be a tactical and shrewd gambler at times. However his lack of control meant that we would occasionally become compulsive and reckless, causing him to lose large sums of money.
Despite being a fairly mysterious figure, Kashiwagi was one of the world’s top gamblers. Primarily a baccarat player, Kashiwagi regularly placed bets of up to £250,000 per hand, and tended to play for hours at a time. Although he was the casino definition of a “whale”, Kashiwagi was a very successful and skilled baccarat player. Apart from his real estate investments and his gambling habits, not much else is known about the late Japanese investor.