The biggest high roller in the world or as many refer to him as the Suitcase man, William Lee Bergstrom was born in Texas in 1951. Many names, including the phantom gambler, knew the player and he remains the biggest spender in the history of gambling.
Bergstrom passed away in 1985, during his gambling at the Horseshoe Casino in 1981 his winnings was worth $2.3 million. In 1984, three years later he returned to the Horseshoe Casino and placed a few bets, which included a single chance worth $1 million equal to around $2.42 million in terms of present-day value, that bet he lost. The Suitcase man also placed other bets although the $2,42 remains the biggest bet ever placed at a land-based casino.
Texas Tech University Student Becomes the Suitcase Gambler
The man that would become the Phantom Gambler was born in Texas and graduated from the Austin High School in 1969. He then enrolled to major in electrical engineering in Lubbock at the Texas Tech University. He became a private pilot instead, and in the Spring of 1971, his parents divorced. Not much of his life is known from 1971 to the 24th of September 1980 when he arrives at in Las Vegas; He turns up at the Horseshoe Casino with two suitcases one empty and the other holding $777,000 in cash. It was the casino of Benny Binion, who had a policy for many years and that was to honour any size bet as long as it is the players very first bet at the casino.
The gambler from Texas remained anonymous at the time and placed a single bet to the value of all the cash in his suitcase, he bet on dice and won. Binion came to congratulate the man and assisted him in getting the winnings into his empty bag, he walked out and disappeared.
The Phantom Gambler is Back
Three and half years pass and no one ever seen or heard a word from the Phantom Gambler. It all changed when he walked into a casino on the 24th of March 1984 to place a single bet worth $538,000 on a single dice roll. Again he won, and with his winnings, he booked his mother a seat at the Willie Nelson show. He returned and earned $117,000 more when he placed bets on three craps games.
Again he left and on the 16th of November he returned with a suitcase and placed a bet worth $1 million made up of $550,000 in cash packed in the briefcase, The rest of the chance was paid for via Krugerrands and a cashiers cheque worth $310,000. He lost and never recovered, he took his own life on the 4th of February 1985.