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  • Writer's pictureElite Curated

Tales of Australia’s highest roller: Kerry Packer 

Updated: Jan 27

Packer was most notably known as the saviour of Australian cricket and the most powerful media tycoon of the 20th century. Packer owned controlling interest in Nine Network and the Australian Consolidated Press. He was also the founder of World Series Cricket. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated to be around $6.5 billion.

Packer’s life was based on wise investments; however, he loved to gamble. Casinos loved him as much as they hated him. 

During his career, he was considered the biggest bettor in the world. Here are some of the stories:

At the Ritz London in 1987: He spent days straight playing two blackjack tables at £10,000 per hand. After losing a substantial amount, Packer was writing £1 million checks to continue playing, and he left the Ritz £19 million down.

At a smaller London casino, after a quick session, Packer walked away with AUD$1 million, and a week later, the club had to shut their doors.

Other London casinos admitted defeat and barred him. Packer won £10 million at the affluent Crockfords in London, and he was politely asked to move on. He took it as a compliment and left.

One of Packer’s largest wins was at the MGM Grand in Vegas, where he won somewhere in the vicinity of $20-$40 million in 40 minutes after playing seven tables of blackjack simultaneously. He left a $1 million tip to spread amongst the dealers.

Kerry was a renowned generous tipper. He tipped a female dealer in Vegas who was deeply in debt, writing her a check for $150,000. He also told a Vegas valet attendant to keep the keys to his Mercedes. 

One Texan oil magnate causing a ruckus at a table was asked to cool it by Packer, and after Packer was told he was worth $100 million, Packer said, “I’ll toss you for it.” ‘It’ being $100 million dollars on heads or tails. 

Packer was allegedly down $28 million on Golden Slipper Day in 1987, so he placed three $10 million bets on three races and won it all back. 

Always known as a reckless but ballsy gambler, a stern CEO and larrikin of Australian history. 

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