How to Spot a Whale in Las Vegas
Whales are much more common than you would think in Las Vegas, it’s actually quite easy to spot a whale in if you know where they are likely to be, and what their defining characteristics are. And we aren’t just talking about the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.
Make sure that you don’t confuse a high roller with a whale though.
A high roller has a gambling budget of from $100,000 to around $1M each time they visit a casino. However, there is a small % of gambler for whom this definition isn’t enough.
A whale will have a minimum $1M bankroll which could be up to $20M, and in a weekend could easily lose (or win) millions. Naturally there aren’t many of these whales in the world, and the casino’s are of course very keen to win their loyalty. After all, a single big loss from a whale (and therefore win for the casino), is equivalent to thousands of low rollers spend.
How often would you bet $25,000 per hand?
Unless you can comfortably afford to lose $25,000 on a hand of blackjack, or on one spin of roulette, then you aren’t a whale. Don’t worry though, it’s estimated that there are less than 200 whales in the whole world, so you aren’t alone.
Where are Whales from?
Actually we’d like to know if there are any Whales from Wales, but that’s a minor point. Many whales are of Chinese descent, but increasingly Russian and Indian businessmen are moving into the ranks of the whale.
Bellagio (and others) extravagant Chinese New Year celebrations – These are partly in place to appeal to the Chinese super gamblers.
I am a Whale – What can I expect in Comps?
Naturally whales are already very wealthy, accustomed to the finer things in life. Therefore casino’s have to go way above and beyond to even emote interest from these individuals.
It’s a buyers market and the last thing a casino want’s to do is for a whale to decide to switch properties if they are unhappy with how they are treated during their stay.
Rooms – Naturally they wil be free, and the very best that the hotel has to offer. This also includes for their with family and friends and travelling entourage. Therefore accomodation is likely to be in penthouse suites or villas. These will always include a butler to attend to any needs, personal chef, private pool, massage rooms, fully stocked bars etc.
Casino Host – The casino host is the face of the casino,whose only job is to keep whales happy and deal with their (potentially outlandish) requests. With this much money involved, a casino host will scour the world to fulfill these requests and make sure that their guest remains in their casino.
Comps and Perks – These are likely to include upfront cash bonuses, discounts on losses above a certain amount, free dining credit and more. Essentially, if a whale asks for it, they will get it.
Privacy – Each casino wants to be known as the place where whales play, but they have to tread a fine line in announcing this. The last thing most heavy hitters want is for a crowd of gawping selfie takers to track their every move. This is the reason for the high limit separated areas on the casino floor. However for the mega whales, private area’s can be arranged to keep them away from prying eyes.
Where Do I Sign Up?
Trust us, if you get to this level of play, the casino will find you.
A List of Famous Whales
- Akio Kashiwagi – Tragically murdered in 1992, played $100K per hand (!!!) Baccarat
- Fouad al-Zayat – Syrian businessman who lost over $42M in 12 years gambling
- Kamel Nacif – Mexican businessman who has won almost $20M from gambling in Las Vegas
- Kerry Packer – Australian media tycoon who played casino’s highest limit.
- Larry Flynt – Hustler magazine founderplayed $50K per hand Blackjack
- Phil Ivey – World famous Poker professional who has also won millions at Craps and Baccarat.
- Ramon DeSage – Lost close to $190M gambling in Las Vegas
- Sultan of Brunei – A regular Las Vegas visitor, plays up to $250K per hand on Baccarat. Let’s be honest, he can afford it.
- Terrance Watanabe – Reportedly lost over $220M in Las Vegas during over 4 years.
- Zhenli Ye Gon – Lost over $100M at different Las Vegas casinos
- Adnan Khashoggi –International arms dealer who once won $3M at the Ritz Casino in London.
- Archie Karas – Made $40M gambling, having originally arrived in Las Vegas with $50 in his pocket.
Can you know see why Las Vegas casino’s will offer almost any incentive to get a whale to gamble on their property?