He may be famous for losing one of the highest-stakes matches ever to take place, but Andy Beal hasn’t felt the pinch, being named this week as the 45th richest person in the USA by Forbes magazine - a list which also includes casino owner and virulent anti-online poker campaigner, Sheldon Adelson, in 14th spot.
Banker and businessman Beal became famous in the poker world after challenging the world’s best players to a Limit Hold’em match in 2006, taking over $13.6million from players such as Jennifer Harman, Doyle and Todd Brunson as well as Gus Hansen and others in games which saw stakes reach as high as $100,000/$200,000.
The team, known collectively as ‘The Corporation’, eventually sent in Phil Ivey to take care of Beal, and the legendary poker pro took $16.6 million from the amateur mathematician over the course of 3 days at the Wynn Las Vegas Casino.
The story is detailed in the Michael Craig book, “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time,” and the losses prompted Beal to avoid poker for a few years afterwards, although he allegedly lost close to $50 million in the private games hosted by Molly Bloom, her story depicted in the forthcoming Aaron Sorkin movie ‘Molly’s Game’.
64-year old Dallas man Beal’s fortune is reputed to stand at $10.9million according to Forbes’ latest list, a long way behind that of Sheldon Adelson – the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Las Vegas Venetian jumping from 22nd spot to 14th in the ‘Forbes’ magazine recently-released rankings of the 400 wealthiest people in America.
Adelson’s fortune is estimated at $35.4billion, an increase of over 30% since President Trump took power – the casino mogul boosting Trump’s election campaign funds by some $100million last year and openly supporting Trump’s successful presidential bid.
Both Trump and Adelson made it to another Forbes list recently, the 100th anniversary edition of the magazine ‘selecting 100 individuals for inclusion in an exclusive group determined to have the "greatest living business minds" as my colleague Charles Retmuller reported last month.
Adelson has become a hated figure among the online poker community for his continued opposition to the online game, funding many attempts to block state legislation which would give legitimacy to the game.
Last year high-stakes pro Brian Rast challenged Adelson to a $2million match in an effort to prove that poker is indeed a game of skill rather than chance, after Adelson had stated:
“How skill can apply to somebody shuffling a deck of cards and randomly giving them out… You don’t have any control over it. Can somebody bluff and can somebody place bets better than somebody else? Yes. But that doesn’t make poker a game of skill.”
The full Forbes list, headed by Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffet, with ‘the most notable loser’ being none other than President Donald J. Trump, can be found here.