With online gaming in the Philippines booming and people looking for more ways to win big, it’s no wonder casino games are so popular. If you’ve ever visited a land-based casino or taken part in any of the great online gaming websites, you know how thrilling gambling can be.
But did you know there are some famous Filipino gamblers that have enjoyed huge success at the casino? It’s true: over the years, plenty of Filipino men and women have gone from amateur stringers to big-time winners with a few lucky winning streaks.
In this article, we’re going to highlight five of these famous Filipino gamblers and how they made their fortunes. Whether you’re looking for tips and advice on your own gambling journey or just want to bask in the glory of a winning streak, read on to find out more about these inspiring stories!
Vince McMahon, Poker Player
Are you ready to hear some success stories? Then, meet Vince McMahon, a Filipino poker player who has had great success at the casino. Although he started off as a casual player, Vince quickly found out that he had an incredible talent and knack for the game. In no time at all, he was winning tournaments and taking home huge payouts!
Vince’s love for the game doesn’t stop at just playing it—he is now giving back to the community by sharing his knowledge with others. He’s even written a book about his experiences, from the basics of poker to his own personal tips on how to win big. He has also shared his knowledge in various seminars and workshops. If you’re looking to learn more about poker and be inspired by Vince’s story, then this is the place to start!
Paolo Bediones, Baccarat Player
Do you remember Paolo Bediones? He made headlines after winning millions in baccarat in a Macau casino. Yeap, you read that right—millions!
The savvy Filipino celebrity was betting a whopping PHP 15 million at the tables, where he scooped around PHP 40 million in winnings. Bediones proved his power as a baccarat player, leaving the casino with greater profits than any of the other gamblers.
There’s more to the story than what meets the eye though. As it turns out, Bediones is no ordinary gambler. He used more than just luck to outplay his opponents—he’s also an outstanding card counter, which gives him an edge over them.
These skills combined with his intuition and financial prowess allowed him to walk away from that particular game of baccarat with millions of pesos in winnings. Talk about a lucky streak!
Antonio Esfandiari, High Roller
Antonio Esfandiari, a professional poker player who has been playing since the late 1990s, has won more than $29 million over the course of his career—and while he’s based in the United States now, he was actually born in Iran and has Filipino ancestry.
Esfandiari began his career at various casinos in California, and it wasn’t long before he hit it big. In 2005, he came in first place at the No Limit Hold’em event at the WPT Championship for over $2 million. His biggest win came in 2012, when he took home over a whopping $18 million from a single event.
In addition to his live tournament success, Esfandiari is also one of the most successful players to ever play on Poker After Dark—a show that pits elite players against each other at high stakes poker games using their own money. He’s won over half a million dollars on that show alone and continues to put his Filipino heritage on display each time he plays.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Slot Machine Expert
You may know Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as the son of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, but you might not know him as a successful gambler. Bongbong is said to be a slot machine expert and has won tens of thousands at the casino.
He reportedly frequents casinos to test his luck and skill at playing the slots. He is known to take on “risky but calculated plays”, meaning he takes advantage of machines malfunctioning or the dealer displaying errors in their game analysis.
In one particular case he was playing at a casino in Macau when he noticed that the slot machine wasn’t paying out what it should have been (payout percentages are usually regulated). He immediately jumped into action and managed to bring in an impressive amount from that instance alone.
Thanks to his impressive gambling skills, Bongbong has been winning big at the casino for years now, showing that even members of high society can still make a name for themselves with some serious gambling chops.
Eugene Torre, Chess Grandmaster and Poker Player
You might not have heard of Eugene Torre, but he’s a pretty big deal. As a 20-time Filipino chess grandmaster, he’s already accomplished quite a bit for himself. But what you may not know about him is that he’s also an experienced poker player.
In 2016, Torre took part in the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific event and managed to reach the final table. He went on to finish in second place and pocketed an impressive $106,000 in prize money. He also added another prestigious title to his name—he was now a World Series of Poker bracelet holder!
Since then, he’s taken part in several other live tournaments and cash games around the world, winning more than $700,000 altogether. His impressive wins have earned him both his status as one of the most successful Filipino players in the industry and his place among our list of famous Filipino gamblers who have won big at the casino.
Online Casinos: A Growing Trend Among Filipinos
In recent years, there’s been a growing trend among Filipinos — they’re moving away from land-based casinos and taking their chances on online casinos. There are a number of reasons why, including the accessibility and convenience of playing right from home or on the go, and the wide selection of games offered.
Online casinos offer much more than traditional land-based casinos do, especially when it comes to games and bonuses. A quick glance at any online poker site will show you all kinds of bonuses, such as welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses, referral bonuses, VIP clubs and more. And if you’re looking for a bit more variety when it comes to gaming, online casinos offer hundreds of different slots titles to choose from in addition to your classic casino games like roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker.
Another huge benefit is that most online casinos now offer Filipino players the option to play with Philippine Pesos (PHP), so you don’t have to worry about currency exchange fees or any confusion with foreign currencies when you are playing.
So if you’re a Filipino who is looking for a new way to try your luck at the casino without having to leave the comfort of your home — make sure you check out what the world of online gambling has to offer!
Whether you are a big fan of gambling or simply curious about it, the stories and exploits of these five famous Filipino gamblers serve as a reminder and testament to the power of luck and perseverance. Each of these gamblers has made a mark in the casino world and have had their respective wins and losses, proving that gaming is a high-risk arena that requires skill, patience, and luck. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to copy the success that these five famous gamblers have achieved, but it’s important to remember that gambling is a lot more than just luck. So, if you’re thinking about trying your hand at a casino adventure, know the risks and make sure that you play it safe.