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Updated: April 25, 2024
andy beal poker player

Andy Beal – The Best-known Whale in Poker History

From Winning $11.7 Million Against Top Professional Poker Players To Losing $16.6 Million To Phil Ivey, Billionaire Andy Beal Has Done It All! The Story of The Biggest Whale in Poker History!

If you’ve been around in the poker circuit for some time you’ve surely heard of Daniel Andrew “Andy” Beal, the Dallas-based self-made multi-billionaire businessman and one of the biggest whales in poker history. (In case you didn’t know what a “whale” is- In poker, a “whale” is a wealthy person who is not a very strong player.)

Andy Beal, founder, and chairman of Beal Bank and Beal Bank USA is an American banker, businessman, investor, amateur mathematician, and an amateur poker player who amassed his fortune through real estate and banking ventures. Andy Beal has an estimated worth of over US$9.3 billion and is undoubtedly the best-known whale in poker history.

According to reports, Andy Beal has, over the course of his playing career, accumulated lifetime losses of over $100 million in poker! Now that’s something you don’t get to read every day.

Andy Beal & Poker

Andy Beal had been playing poker since his college years and it has been widely reported that he was a fairly successful player during college. Rumors abound that his poker winnings even helped fund some of his early business ventures.

But, Beal’s real poker journey was when he visited the Bellagio poker room in Las Vegas sometime during February/March 2001. He met professional poker players like Todd Brunson and started playing high-stakes cash games against them, eventually winning around $100,000. Soon the word was out: an unknown Texas billionaire at the Bellagio was ready to take on anyone who would play him for any stakes they could afford. But, because of his immense wealth and a seemingly unending supply of chips, most sharks were reluctant to take him on, ultimately Beal offered so much money that the players had no choice but to accept.

Andy Beal wanted to test his poker skills and strategies against the best poker players in the world and so, issued a challenge to them to compete against him in a series of heads-up Limit Hold’em poker matches. The group of players included poker legends and professionals like Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Minh Ly, Todd Brunson, Howard Lederer, David Grey, Chip Reese, Gus Hansen, and Barry Greenstein, etc. and called themselves “The Corporation.

Did You Know:

  • Andy Beal would acquire broken TVs in his high school years to repair and resell for a nice profit.
  • After high school, he began buying business properties which he then sold for a substantial profit.
  • Beal once won one of the largest hands in poker history against top poker pros – worth $11.7 million.
  • Beal once lost $16.6 million against Phil Ivey over the course of 3 days.
  • According to reports, he has accumulated lifetime losses of over $100 million playing poker!
  • He endorsed Donald Trump for his presidential run, serving as an economic advisor on his campaign.
  • He also donated over $3 million to Donald Trump’s campaign and inauguration.

Andy Beal vs. The Corporation – Whale vs Sharks

Once the challenge was issued and accepted, for the next 3 years, Andy Beal would play high-stakes poker against these professionals in a series of matches with varying results with limits starting at $10,000-$20,000 and moving up to a daring $100,000-$200,000.

On May 13, 2004, at the Las Vegas Bellagio, Andy Beal decimated The Corporation and won $11.7 million, one of the largest single hands in poker history. But, The Corporation fought back and won $16 million from Beal. After the big loss, Andy Beal vowed never to play against The Corporation again. But, he returned to take down the Corporation in 2006.

The entire challenge was chronicled by Michael Craig in his book The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time.

Andy Beal - The Story of The Biggest & Best-Known Whale in Poker History

In 2006, Andy Beal came back to Vegas to battle The Corporation again. Even though Beal was down $3.3 million during the initial days, he returned to destroy his opponents in a series of matches at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas. Within 3 days, Beal won a staggering $13.6 million during daily poker sessions.

The Corporation lost so much money against Beal that the members were forced to pool all their resources to the collective bankroll in order to continue the challenge. A week later, Beal returned to Vegas and sat down against The Corporation’s last resort, world champion Phil Ivey. Ivey represented the Corporation against Beal at limits of $30,000/60,000 and $50,000/100,000.

Over the course of the next three days, Phil Ivey took down Beal as a hungry Great White Shark would devour a hapless Blue Whale. In the end, Ivey emerged from the tables having won $16.6 million from Beal.

Since losing to Phil Ivey, Andy Beal promised not to reopen his challenge to the pros again. But even the huge loss couldn’t stop Beal from playing poker. According to some reports, in 2011 Beal took part in some underground poker games in which actor Tobey Maguire and billionaire Alec Gores also participated.

Andy Beal still plays poker today, but only on a recreational basis. After, when you have an inexhaustible bankroll, nothing can keep you away from the tables, not even sharks!

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