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What is a High Roller?

Malcolm Tatum
By
Updated: May 23, 2024

Generally associated with gambling, the high roller is an individual who is known to place extravagant bets on anything from craps tables to slot machines. Gamblers who are identified as high rollers are understandably popular with many gambling casinos, and often may enjoy a number of casino perks that are not available to the gambler who chooses to place smaller bets. Here are some examples of the characteristics of a high roller, as well as some of the amenities that are often afforded to individuals who routinely place large bets.

Some people may think that there is a particular body type or style of dress that will identify an individual as a high roller. There is actually no single image of the quintessential high roller. A high roller may be male or female, and may be very cultured or appear to be somewhat less educated. The mode of dress is not always a clear indication of a high roller. Some gamblers who fall into the category of high roller dress very simply, while others may wear clothing that borders on being ideal for wear in a stage production.

However, there is a common indicator among high rollers that does help them to stand out on the casino floor. High rollers tend to have an air of confidence about them, as well as a mind that is able to calculate and assimilate data at an amazing pace. Often, persons who are seen studying the game board or watching the performance of slot machine will have a sense of when to move in and place a bet. The bet will usually be a substantial one, and the motive is not always to make a lot of money. For many high rollers, the thrill of winning itself is far more important than the amount, although the high roller is not very likely to give the money back to the house.

It is not unusual for a casino to extend certain amenities to a high roller that frequents the facility. Since the high roller spends a great deal of money in the casino, the owners will often provide free food and drink while the individual is playing the games. In some instances, heavy winners may be extended a suite or room for the evening, allowing the high roller the chance to get some sleep and hopefully return the following day and make a few more large bets. This investment by the casino costs very little, and the chances for earning a great deal of money from the high roller make the effort very worthwhile. From the perspective of the high roller, there is always the consolation that even if a lot of money were lost, the high roller still got a free night’s lodging and plenty to eat and drink from the deal.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseTour, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Reminiscence — On May 30, 2014

I used to be a high roller when I was in my 20s. I mostly played blackjack, but I did play some Texas Hold 'Em poker when it first became popular. For me, the free food and accommodations were nice, but I was only there for the game. Blackjack has such low payouts that a high roller needs to spend hours at a table to make good money. I'm playing the house, not the other players.

The reality is that a lot of high rollers don't live glamorous lives. The good ones are definitely comfortable, but to a high roller, gambling is just like going to the office or the factory. It's what I did for a living, nothing more. That's actually one reason why I got out of the gambling scene. Doing the same thing over and over again for hours at a times at a gambling table was just as mind-numbing as watching pieces getting pushed out of a machine in a factory.

By AnswerMan — On May 29, 2014

I've also heard high rollers being referred to as "whales" by the casinos. I spent a few days in Las Vegas at a convention and I saw quite a few high rollers at the hotel's casino. Most of the high rollers played roulette, blackjack and poker, although I did see a few playing the slots after other players left. I think high rollers like gambling games with the best odds for the players, like blackjack and video poker.

I personally don't think I could be a high roller, since I hate the idea of losing so much money. But some of these high rollers were making bets that sounded crazy, like betting half of their chips on one number on the roulette wheel. I just couldn't do that.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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