Archie Karas: The Greatest Greek Gambler of All Time

Here’s a look at the life and times of the greatest gambler in history. Archie Karas is known to have won an astonishing $40 million dollars during his winning streak that lasted for three consecutive years.

We have all heard tales of incredible gambling fests. Las Vegas attracts a large number of high rollers who come and go. Not only that but also many people have earned and lost millions of dollars, too. However, there is one incredible gambling story that has left hordes of people surprised, horrified, and awestruck all at the same moment. That is the story of Archie Karas. Archie is popularly known for his nickname “The Greek” and his incredible winning streak. That’s why he is dubbed “The RUN.”

He is the legendary gambler who turned $50 into $40 million in just over two years. But who exactly is Archie Karas. In this article, we will tell you the story of this greek gambling legend.

Who is Archie Karas?

Anargyros Nicholas Karabourniotis or Archie Karas for short is also known as “The Greek”. He was born in Greece on November 1, 1950, in Antypata on the Greek island Kefalonia. Archie grew up in a very poor family wherein he and his siblings we unable to experience any luxuries. Moreover, he and his family were even forced to skip meals sometimes.

Who is Archie "The Greek" Karas?
Who is Archie “The Greek” Karas?

Their situation motivated Archie to attempt to help his family by finding a method to earn money so that everyone could eat. Archie Karas began shooting marbles with the neighborhood kids to win their lunch money. Since he was so good at it, Archie immediately realized that he had an advantage over the other children. That was his gambling prowess. He had no qualms about risking the little money he had. In addition, Archie had a sixth sense for when it was time to boost the stakes.

However, Archie and his father have a very tense relationship. Thus, they often fought each other. One day, another dispute has swiftly escalated into violence. Thus, his father has hurled a shovel into him nearly striking his skull. This fighting has led to Karas pack his bag and ran away from home. At the age of 15 years old, he boarded a ship to leave for the USA. Archie paid for his passage to Portland, Oregon by working as a waiter on a ship. Here, Karas earn $60 per month.

Continuation into a Gambling Life

Archie decided to stay in the United States once he arrived. So, he hitchhiked from Portland to Los Angeles. He got a job at a restaurant after arriving in LA. He gradually learned English through conversing with clients. Now, Archie Karas can fluently speak Greek, English as well as Spanish.

Archie began his gambling career in the bowling alley next door. Also, he learned that he was a natural at poker. So, he decided to pursue a career as a pool shark.

When Archie wasn’t working, he went to the pool hall to utilize his talents to hustle money from other people. Archie seems to be comfortable with all things gambling, as he easily transitioned from blackjack to poker.

Archie was so naturally gifted at the game that he was able to make more than $2 million in only a few months. Sadly, at the end of the same year, he had lost all but $50 of that money playing high-stakes poker.

Most people would have given up at this point, but Archie saw it as an opportunity to relocate to Las Vegas and embark on new adventures.

As Archie recalls his formative years, he says that he doesn’t place high importance on money. It is because money cannot buy the things he desires which are:

  • Health
  • Freedom
  • Love
  • Happiness

So, he is not afraid. Thus, he plays as without being afraid of losing. Archie Karas wasn’t scared to bet anything when he was young whether it was marbles or anything else.

Why does Archie do not place high importance on money?
Why does Archie do not place high importance on money?

Archie Karas: The Beginning of a Lucky Run

Karas met across an old acquaintance who happened to be quite wealthy while visiting The Mirage Hotel and Casino. Thus, Archie’s friend agreed to lend him $10,000 to gamble with after seeing how successful and skilled he was back in Los Angeles.

By playing $200/$400 limit Razz, Archie was able to transform the initial $10,000 into $30,000. Karas returned $20,000 to his friend, leaving him with $10,000 in the bank. Throughout his career, Archie has had several financial supporters. It is due to the reason that he possessed a raw skill that many gamblers coveted.

Mr. X is extremely wealthy and he was very much willing to play pool against Archie for extraordinarily large bets. First, they began playing pool with a $10,000 bet for each game. Soon, their stakes increase to $40,000 per game. Archie Karas was so good at playing pool that Mr. X pleaded for a second chance with him. So, they both moved their pool competition to Binion’s Horseshoe. Here, Archie won an additional $3 million from him.

His winning streaks never stop there, Archie had earned quite a reputation for himself in the world of gambling. And soon many famous gamblers from all over the world were traveling to compete against him. Archie Karas welcomed all these competitors, as he truly believed he was unbeatable.

Big Name Gambling Legends VS. Archie Karas

One of the first big-name legends to battle against Archie in a casual game of Heads-up Razz was Stu Ungar. Stu is a three-time World Series of Poker champion. By the end of the event, Archie won more than half a million dollars. Desperate for another chance, Stu challenged Archie to a 7-card stud game. Archie has earned an extra $700,000 from him in this game.

Notable Players that Archie Defeated:

  • Doyle Brunson
  • Chip Reese
  • Johnny Chan
  • Puggy Pearson

Despite the odds being stacked against him, Archie was able to transform his original $50 investment into $17 million. This all happens in just six months by playing a variety of poker and pool games. However, Archie found it difficult to find anyone ready to compete against him at the stakes he desired because of his unbreakable reputation. So, he decided to turn his talents to the crap tables.

When it comes to dice, Archie’s most memorable moment occurred at the Binion Casino, when he placed the maximum of $200,000 on the 4 and 10 for 1 to 4.6 odds.

Archie was up $920,000 after just two rolls, prompting the casino to instantly decrease the maximum. Archie had amassed almost $40 million by the conclusion of his unstoppable winning streak of two and a half years.

How it all fell apart?

Unfortunately, all good things must end. Thus, Archie’s fortunate run is no exception. Archie Karas had lost everything in barely over three weeks. Moreover, it all began when he lost $11 million in a craps game.

What is the longest Baccarat run?

He was very much frustrated and saddened by his error of not stopping after the initial $3-4 million. So, Archie went to the casino the next day, this time to play high-stakes baccarat.  He persuaded the casino management to boost the betting limits to $300,000 per wager specifically for him. Sadly, The Greek lost all his $17,000,000 in Baccarat is 10 days.

Between those games, Archie attempted to recoup some of the money he had lost to the casino by playing poker. Sadly, luck is not really on his side, instead of winning the lost another $2 million to Chip Reese in $10,000/$20,000 heads-up poker games. Archie lost $30 million in three weeks. After that tragedy, he decided to take a few weeks off and return to Greece for a holiday.

After his holiday in his own country, Karas headed back to the casino as soon as he returned to Las Vegas. Isn’t it a bit like deja vu? He squandered the remaining $40 million he had won during the previous almost three years in less than a month. It was right there. The world’s largest and longest winning streak, not just in Las Vegas, but also in history, ended.

Most of you may be taken aback by this story and wonder how a player could lose so much money without pausing or at least putting something away. Nevertheless, do not forget that this is Archie Karas. He is a complicated character who is brave and brilliant. Thus, he is a type of gambler who just does not appreciate money in the manner that other people do. If he did, then he would never have earned so much money in the first place.

Archie Karas: The following Years

Rumors began to circulate when news got out about Archie Karas’ $40 million loss. Many people assumed that he’d gone insane and committed suicide. For five or six months, no one in Las Vegas saw him.

After all, how much strain and stress can a human brain take?

Was he still alive?

Did he succumb to the stress and chaos?

These are some of the questions that people often ask when Archie has been absent in the gambling scene.

Archie Karas was an extremely intelligent and intellectually powerful individual who had a unique understanding of money, as we have already stated. He was not only alive and healthy, but he was also planning to return to Sin City after a little hiatus from the gaming tables.

In the years that followed, he pulled off a few more gambling miracles. Or, to put it another way, mini streaks. Mini streaks entail turning small sums of money, such as $30,000-40,000, into $3-4 million in a matter of weeks or even days. Those figures don’t seem to have as much of an impact now that you know the tale of the best and longest winning run in gambling history, do they? Even yet, Archie Karas’ achievements are genuinely remarkable.

Accused of cheating and deception

The Barona Gaming Commission detained Archie Karas on September 24, 2013. The gambling commission saw him marking cards at a Blackjack table at a San Diego casino. According to the San Diego County District Attorney, Karas was caught on tape by the casino’s CCTV cameras in July. Archie showed in the video marking the backs of his cards with a dye put into a hollowed-out gambling chip that he slid over the cards he intended to mark.

He’d utilize the markings to figure out how much the card was worth. Archie is only marking high-value cards. It also helps him decide what to do next. Thus, it gives him an obvious and unfair edge. The hollowed-out casino chips were discovered when the cops raided his residence to arrest him, supporting their prior claims.

How Karas cheated on the casino?
How Karas cheated on the casino?

Where is Archie “The Greek” Karas now?

Archie is still a resident of Las Vegas. He has opted to stay in the city, where he is regarded as a living gambling legend. Even though he can no longer attend his favorite places in town, Archie Karas chooses to stay. Also, his story will live on in the annals of gaming legend in Las Vegas.

His arrival in Sin City with only $50 in his wallet and turning it into $40 million in two years set a record that would be unsurpassed for decades, if not forever. He exemplifies someone who enjoys gambling more for the thrill and excitement than for the money.

Do you want to have some fun and feel the adrenaline of gambling? Yet, you cannot afford to go to Vegas. Don’t worry because there are plenty of online gambling sites to choose from. You may try your luck at one of the top online casinos in Singapore. You don’t need much more than $50 to play and try to win a large sum of money. Nobody knows when Lady Luck may come knocking on your door and lead you to something unique, such as one of the best live casinos in Singapore.


Archie is the epitome of the rags to riches story that we all like hearing about. His narrative, on the other hand, has a major twist. He was never content, no matter how much he won. It’s a tragic reality for many people who find themselves in his shoes. Most expert gamblers will tell you that it’s not only about the money; it’s also about the game and the action.

Archie Karas FAQs:

What is Jack Binion’s net worth?

Jack Binion is a $500 million casino owner. As the son of casino billionaire Benny Binion, Jack Binion’s career started at a young age – some would argue before he was even born.

What is Archie Karas’ net worth?

Karas earned millions between 1992 and 1995, with a net worth of more than $40 million at its peak. This three-year stretch became known as ‘The Run,’ and it is still regarded as the longest and largest hot streak in gambling history.

What is Archie Poker Game?

The Archie Poker game is a “Five-Card Triple Draw High-Low Split with an Eight-or-Better for low and a pair of sixes-or-better for high” poker variation. It is known by the nickname “Archie.” Archie is far more complicated than most other poker variations, as seen by its name alone.

What is Archie’s poker strategy?

In Archie, like in other split-pot games, the first-hand selection is critical to victory. The best approach in most high/low split games is to play the low-oriented hands, try to secure the low, and then free-roll for the full pot.

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