How to Spot a Las Vegas Whale
What Las Vegas jargon names "whales" is in fact the crème of the high rollers species. They are a handful of people that in some opinions don't exceed 500 individuals in the world. Las Vegas hoteliers are nuts about them; some claim four or five of those whales bet much more than the rest of the thousands customers they receive daily. No wonder they are suspected of going as far as selling their first born child to get one of those whales into their gaming area.
Five tips to recognize a whale:
- The size of the bet: $50,000 is the low end; Australian tycoon Kerry Packer likes to play seven blackjack hands at one time; his top bet was $375,000;
- The line of credit: 4 to 5 million dollars for one weekend; a fortune for us ordinary earthlings, pocket money for a "whale";
- The treat: whales get all the freebies from the hotel they play: fine dining, luxury accommodations, private jet transportation, expensive gifts... often the US visa for the Asian high rollers;
- The escort: it usually includes bodyguards, beautiful gals and close friends; Las Vegas history saved for the record a legendary tale in which the Saudi Prince Adnan Khashoggi dropped for a bet at Stardust with an entourage of a dozen people;
- The generosity: whether they win or loose, everybody's happy as long as they play; "whales" don't spare tips & gifts.
Frank Rosenthale made his top five for the Las Vegas "whales" (from high to highest):
- Jerry Buss
- Adnan Khashoggi
- Larry Flynt
- Kamel Nacif
- Kerry Packer
That was the situation in 2001, revealed by the former but still most famous handicapper in Las Vegas, who's life inspired the classic movie "Casino".
While the "whales" number just a few hundreds in the world, the amounts they can afford to lose are purely impressive; that is why hoteliers pay specially trained staff for "whales hunting". The Asians form a big part of this exclusivist market, about 80 %. The bottom line is to keep them coming in, at the same rate, after nine eleven.
Unfortunately, Las Vegas seems to be experiencing a decrease in whale strands these days. One reason, that all hoteliers agree about, is they don't get as much privacy in Las Vegas casinos as they would normally get in other gaming destinations of the world. While hotel owners in Las Vegas await their VIP saloons approved, the "whales" gamble in Macau, Monaco or Australia.
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