There have been many players in history who broke the bank, or at least tried to. In order to do so, a player needs to be skilled, passionate gambler and have a plan. Moreover, excessive funds always come in handy. A million here and there does the trick, don’t you think so? Well, Akio Kashiwagi was a full package. He seemed to have it all. And at one point, he crossed paths with someone we have all heard of. This is a story about the man who played with Trump.
Who Was Akio Kashiwagi?
Kashiwagi was born in 1938 on a farm in Japan. He worked his way up and became a successful businessman. He ran investment and real estate company and was quite well off. Akio Kashiwagi was reportedly married and had three children.
As for his more interesting career, he was a passionate Baccarat player. Moreover, he was so successful in his game that he became a professional player quickly and basically had a side career. If it hadn’t been for his real estate business, he would have been able to live on his winnings alone. People say that he used to bet $200,000 per hand, in Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos. How cool is that?
Interestingly, Kashiwagi grew up in Japan where gambling was traditionally banned. Apparently, it did not stop him from engaging in a habit he liked and practicing until he mastered his game.
The Trump Game
Back in the 1990ies, Donald Trump owned three casinos in Atlantic City, Taj Mahal Casino being the most popular one. High rollers, such as Kashiwagi who was ready to spend $10 million a night, are always welcome to any casino.
This particular time, Akio Kashiwagi attracted a lot of attention as people gathered to watch him play. He reportedly, scooped $500,000 in just half an hour. Again, he played Baccarat. That one night proved to be very lucky for Kashiwagi, as he eventually won $6 million. However, he could have done even better. He knew it, and the casino owner knew it as well.
The media reported that afterwards, Kashiwagi received an official invitation from the Taj Mahal Casino to return and play until he either doubles the $12 million that he should bring with him, or loose it all. Being a man who liked challenges, Kashiwagi accepted.
From today’s perspective, it is difficult to assess how correct the information regarding this challenge was. The details that were leaked in the press assume that one side in this deal did not make the proper assessment of the game. However, the fact is that Kashiwagi came to Atlantic City and gambled almost $10 million in the course of 5 days.
There have been many speculations surrounding the details of that deal. The truth is that no one apart from the two parties involved knew all aspects of it.
Now, imagine if social media existed at the time. Everyone would have his or her own interpretation of this event. Reportedly, the man who played with Trump left Atlantic City in debt.
Regardless of the outcome, Trump was apparently fascinated with Kashiwagi. He even shared his recollections of the Japanese whale and his style in some of his books.
Specifically, in his “The Art of the Comeback” (1997), he wrote that meeting Kashiwagi was one of the turning points in his life. Why? Because up until that moment he considered himself a man of reason only. A practical man whose reason is based on facts. However, this experience made him realize “that I had become a gambler, something I never thought I was.”