The camel-coated brigade



In The Sugarman's series on the world's most infamous gamblers we will hear everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. Tales of hopeless losses, majestic wins and gambling the like of which you or I can only dream of. 

Today we go straight to the top of the highest echelons of the gaming fraternity with a look at a man who's gambling exploits will probably never be bettered. In gaming circles a 'Whale' is a member of the gambling elite. A man (or woman) who's play can actually have an impact on the casino's bottom line. 

A true whale can single-handedly make or break a casino's yearly profit margin. GENUINE 'whales', of which there are reportedly 150 in the world, gamble in excess of $100,000 PER HAND and will receive a credit line of upwards of $5 million without the Casino bosses even flinching. 

However, even in the land of the casino whale, the rules of Mother Nature still apply. In the two thirds of the water, which covers our planet, there are many big fish, but such is the law of the food chain, one fact will always remain. 

No matter how big a fish you are, somewhere out there, lurking beneath the waves is an even bigger creature waiting to bite. Thus in the land of the Casino Whales, where free penthouse suits and the finest champagne on tap come as standard, there once lived a bigger fish. 

A whale SO big his mere presence in the building would chill a casino boss or a trackside-betting bookie right down to the bone. Ladies and Gentleman, I bring to you today the daddy of all gamblers one Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer. 

Kerry Packer was Australia's wealthiest man with a personal fortune Estimated at $5 BILLION making him (according to Forbes magazine) the 94th richest man on planet Earth. Amassing his fortune in the cutthroat world of publishing and broadcasting Packer gambled MILLIONS largely...........for fun. 

Depending on where you read accounts of his gambling, one 4 day stay in Las Vegas' MGM grand Casino in 1997 relieved the house of somewhere between $20-40 million dollars, sank their quarterly earnings report and led to the sacking of several high ranking Casino executives. 

In another legendary story Packer got into an altercation with a loud-mouthed Texan at a blackjack table in Vegas. 

The story goes that the brash cowboy yelled at Packer "Don't you know who I am boy? I'm worth $60 million pardner!" The big Australian simply turned and replied "$60 Million? Toss you for it?"


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Packer also reportedly took his losses on the chin and was also generous when sharing his good fortune. He once casually asked a waitress how big her mortgage was and then without another word left her a tip for the exact amount she owed. 

Packer stayed mostly in Casino's but his occasional ventures into track side horse racing were equally notorious. Indeed, although in frequent, his horse racing exploits still made him widely accepted as the BIGGEST trackside gambler in Australian racing history.

An example of Packers relationship with the camel coated brigade comes in the story of one bookmaker travelling to Kerry's office at channel nine in north Sydney to collect money owed from a long weekend betting battle with the media mogul.

After what seemed like and endless wait to collect the $5.3 million owed to the bookmaker, Packer’s secretary emerged with a cheque for $5 million dollars. 

Happy, but a little perturbed the bookie tentatively explained that the amount on the cheque was wrong. As the secretary went back into Packers office to sort out the disagreement the big man appeared at the door and with typical aplomb threw the bookie a look and said, "You know I only deal in round figures."

Kerry Packer died on 26th December last year and with it gamblings biggest whale had played his last hand. The degree of gambling on the Bookiebusters site is wide. 

Stakes are varied and what is a lot to some is probably chump change to others. Occasionally, egos get the better of people and altercations can arise. 

What we should ALL remember from the life and gambling times of Kerry Packer is that no matter how big a fish we like to think we are, there's ALWAYS a bigger whale that could swallow us up like the pilchards that we are. 

Mind how you go. 



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