Script by Craig Bradshaw – Video Bruno Thienard
Its 1995 in Las Vegas and Archie Karas has achieved the gambler’s ultimate dream.
In an astonishing winning streak he has turned $50 into a $40 million bankroll while playing dice, Baccarrat and poker.
This incredible rush has now become part of Las Vegas legend, and is known simple as “The Run”
It all began in December 1992. Karas had just lost almost all of his net worth in a poker game in LA.
With only $50 left in his pocket, he decides to head over to Las Vegas.
The first casino he entered was Binion’s Horseshoe. Recognising a friend there, he negotiated a $10,000 loan to help him get into a 200/400 Razz game
With Razz being one of his strongest games, Karas managed to spin his loan up to $30,000 and repay his friend in the space of 3 hours.
During the following days he challenged the players of the city to games of pool and poker with the stakes beginning to escalate.
Next, the fearless Karas decided to challenge the best poker players in the world heads up.
Running red hot and with his bankroll and confidence sky high, he sat down against WSOP Main Event two-time champion Stu Ungar.
He followed this with matches against the great Chip Reese, and managed to emerge 1.2 million dollars in profit for the day.
In the months that followed he also took on Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson and incredibly, kept defying the odds to turn a profit at stakes as high as 10,000/20,000.
It is said that Chip Reese lost over 2 million to him in one night, and Johnny Chan lost a million dollar freezeout heads up match against him.
Then came the night when Karas showed up with 4 million dollars wanting to play stakes of 20,000/40,000.
Although Chip Reese knew he had a skill edge over Karas, he turned down the offer.
Either Reese was beginning to believe Karas was truly on a bullet-proof run of luck
Or he simply couldn’t find the money or the backers to play – but it marked a change of direction in the run.
Having grown his bankroll to 17 million, Archie Karas now decided to take down Binion’s Horseshoe casino.
This casino already offered the biggest games in town at 20,000 dollars per bet, but this was pocket change for Karas.
He would arrive at the casino with 5 million dollars in the back seat of the car with him looking to play all day.
His invincible run continued, but he was frustrated at the betting limits imposed and continually tried talking Jack Binion into allowing higher bets.
Not wanting to anger such a fantastic customer, he obliged and Karas’s bet limits rose to 80,000, then 100,000 dollars.
Somehow, against all the odds, Karas kept winning.
It would have been disastrous for Binions if he went and spent all his millions at another casino
And so they kept giving in to his demands for increased bet sizes until they reached 300,000 dollars per bet.
The casino must have feared being catastrophically bankrupted by this man who couldn’t stop winning
As his bankroll soared to the incredible sum of 40 million dollars.
Karas owned every 5,000 chip in the casino, which led to them minting new 25,000 chips especially for him!
But finally, the inevitability of mathematics began to wake from its slumber and came looking for the man who had defied it for so long.
He had come close to bankrupting Binion’s through the sickest run, lasting 3 years.
But in a 3 month period, the long awaited downswing hit, and hit hard.
He lost 11 million in one day, and bled out a full 30 million dollars onto the casino floor over those few months.
He decided to take a break and headed back to his home in Greece
But, degenerate gambler that he was, Karas couldn’t stay away from the action.
He’s soon back shooting dice and playing Baccarrat for 300,000 per bet, and quickly burns through his last 10 million dollars.
Archie Karas continued to gamble with limited success over the years that followed, and had the odd small good run that most gamblers have,
But eventually attempted to switch the odds by marking cards at Blackjack.
He was banned from all casinos in Nevada, and never set foot in them again.