Legendary Gamblers: Dana White

Legendary Gamblers: Dana White

Published Date · Nov. 29, 2023 · Last Updated · Jan. 22, 2024 ·Read Time · 5 mins

Dana White is the legendary President behind the world-renowned mixed martial arts promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). However, the UFC Octagon isn’t the only reason White has been seen in Las Vegas, he tends to have quite the affinity for Blackjack...

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Who Is Dana White?

Born in Connecticut on 28 July 1969, Dana White stands to be one of the most well-known figures in the MMA world - without being a fighter; and that is because he runs the ultimate MMA empire.

After being born in Connecticut, he moved to Massachusetts, and then when White was in third grade he moved to Vegas. White’s family originally moved to Vegas because they paid nurses a higher salary there, and his mother was a nurse.

Alongside running the promotion, he isn’t a stranger to taking a punch or two either. The MMA boss moved to Boston at 17 and took his hand to boxing, however he soon realized he didn’t want to go professional, so he opened up a boxing gym. This was his introduction to the MMA world.

However, he was soon forced out of Boston, and Massachusetts as a whole, because he owed infamous mobsters, Whitey Bulger and Kevin Weeks, $2,500. Due to fearing the consequences, White made his return to the City of Sin.

He then became Chuck Liddell’s manager, who was a UFC Lightweight top contender at the time, before introducing his childhood friend - Lorenzo Fertitta and his brother - in 2001, to acquire the UFC. This led to White being made President and also the face of the organization.

White has a net worth of approximately $520 million in 2023. The UFC President has made a fair buck over the last two decades and he hasn’t been afraid of spending it, especially on high-stakes Blackjack…

What Makes Dana White’s Gambling so Legendary?

Palms Casino

Frenemies With The Casinos

White turned out to be so good at Blackjack, that he has actually been banned from The Wynn, The Mirage and The Palms due to the length of time he spends at the tables to earn his money back, or to beat the dealer.

Despite being pulled up as a ‘card counter’, because of his large Blackjack wins, White has vehemently denied these accusations.

White was kicked out of The Palms not once but twice. After his first ban - for winning $7 million in one night - the 54-year-old boycotted The Palms. He was eventually invited back and welcomed with a complimentary $5,000 bottle of wine to apologize.

Following his return to The Palms after his ban, he continued to win big and was asked once again to leave the casino. Rogan has claimed to be 24-0 with the casino.

However, in good faith, alongside their request that he no longer return to the casino, The Palms presented White with a custom ‘Palms Undisputed Blackjack Champion’ belt in an ode to honor his Blackjack skills and profession of running the UFC. Needless to say, they didn’t want to risk his winning streak continuing any more…

In The Top 5

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Due to his high-stake habits, White preaches Caesars Palace is the ultimate place for high-stakes gamblers to place their money. That is one of the few mega casinos in Vegas that permits White to play. White is actually placed among the top five highest Blackjack winners of all time due to his incredible wins at The Palms.

White was a fan of frequently placing $25,000 bets so, after his first ban, The Palms lowered his bets from $25,000 to $5,000. However, that didn’t stop him from winning $2 million and getting banned for the second time. Had he been able to place $25,000 bets, who knows how much he would have won!

Beating 50 Professionals

White was a serious gambler, and back in 2010 he entered his first ever professional poker tournament with a $250,000 cash prize and a trophy up for grabs for the winner. And you bet it, White took home that trophy and the $250,000 cash prize. In fact, he has voiced that trophy to be one of his most prized possessions.

“I told my wife and everyone that when I die, I want this thing buried with me in my hands," he stated to Barstool Sports.

Dana White’s Biggest Gambling Wins

Fool Me Once, Fool Me Twice…

Upon his return to The Palms, in 2014, White’s lucky-streak continued and he has confessed to numerous media outlets that he made over $2 million in winnings at The Palms within a three month period. This led to his second and final ban.

What’s that they say? Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I don’t see White getting invited back to The Palms any time soon!

Swings and Roundabouts

White met up with a Youtuber, SteveWillDoIt, for a game of Blackjack and Steve was initially down $10,000 and White was down $520,000. Before leaving the table both men managed to recoup their losses with Steve making a $15,000 profit and Dana, more than tripling that, walking away with a $50,000 in profit.

Fast forward to November 2023 and SteveWillDoIt set himself a challenge of ‘turning $10,000 into $520,000 and paying off Dana White's casino debt’, and he did it. Steve followed up on his challenge, was successful, and actually gave the money to White; who was obviously very impressed by his Blackjack skills.

Dana White’s Biggest Gambling Losses

Casino Chips

On Second Thoughts, Maybe Not Sports…

With gamblers, you know that big wins also equal periods of big losses. White didn’t go unscathed. His largest loss has been revealed to be on a sports bet for a value of around $1 million.

Despite being the head of a major sports promotion, White isn’t a fan of sports betting, preferring to try his hand at the tables instead. However, one of his biggest bets of all time was a sports bet but it also proved to be one of his biggest losses.

In 2003, White was confident that Jermain Taylor would defend his WBO and WBC Middleweight boxing titles against Kelly Pavlik, but he lost via knockout in the seventh round. This led to White losing a whopping $1 million.

Speaking on the occasion with Full Send Podcast, White stated: "The biggest sports bet? $1 million. I lost. I f***ing hate betting on sports. Hate it, hate it.”

Playing Until He Recoups Losses

UFC commentator, Joe Rogan, revealed he was once watching White play and he was up $400,000 and then ended up $600,000 down by the time Rogan had left.

But Dana White, being the resilient gambler he is, stayed there until the early hours of the morning gambling until he recouped his losses and actually ended up walking away with a $65,000 profit.

White was incredibly lucky though, this situation could have ended a lot worse. Although it is not necessarily a loss, I can’t even begin to imagine how devastated White would have felt when he was $600,000 down at the table, in front of one of his closest friends. Nevertheless, he bounced back.

Where is Dana White now?

Currently, White is still President of the UFC and has since set up ‘Power Slap’, a slap-fighting contest.

As for his gambling antics, with a fortune like his, real money becomes monopoly money so he is still very much a Blackjack player to this day. He has revealed no signs to stop playing or betting. However, it’s been a while since he has hit ‘the big time’ so does that mean a big win is in store for him soon?

Author

Lucy Wynne

Content Writer