People

Isaac Haxton

Introduction

Isaac Haxton is a professional poker player who started dabbling in the game while still in high school. He went to Browns University for a computer science degree, and his nickname in the poker world is “The Lizard King” Right from the start, it was evident Isaac was no ordinary kid from New York. Isaac was adept at chess by the age of four and a seasoned gamer before his teens. He displayed a hidden talent for any game that required deep thinking.

These same skills in his youth has been conveniently gotten utilized in the world of poker. This New Yorker has amassed over $23 million in tournament winnings, including a career-high $3.6 million win after taking down the Super High Roller Bowl in 2018.

Key Career Dates

Isaac Haxton was a member of Poker Stars Team Pro; however, he severed ties with the online poker giant in 2016 and is currently a member of Team PartyPoker.

His Poker career began in 2004 when he decided to play poker full time in the summer after his freshman year and did complete his studies. His first major live tournament was in 2007, and it was the $8000 WPT Championship Event, where he finished in second place and won $861 779. In 2009 he took second place in the WSOP 40th Anniversary event and walked away with $1 168 565.

The list is endless. However, one sure thing is that Isaac Haxton is one of the most successful live tournament players and has over $27.6 million in winnings. Haxton is also in the top 20 biggest winners on HendonMob’s All Time Money List.

The Elusive WSOP Bracelet

Ironically despite all his achievements on the live felt, he has actually never won a WSOP Gold Bracelet, although he did come close to winning one in 2009.

Fouad al-Zayat

Fouad al-Zayat was a Syrian gambler, businessman and investor who died in Lebanon in 2018 at the age of 77. Casino circles called him the “Fat Man.” One of the most secretive and inexhaustive gamblers in Mayfair in London, this billionaire frequently visited Aspinalls Club. In a single visit, he gambled thousands of pounds, which increased to more than a million pounds by the turn of the century.

Extravagant Gambling Lifestyle

A man who lived by the sword, Al-Zayat. He founded various companies, including Mortimer Offshore Services. He was also asked to help with the purchase of a jet for the Iranian President by the Islamic Republic of Iran. By bribing officials within his own government with millions in free gambling chips, Al-Zayat was able to obtain a permit allowing him to sell plane parts to Iran in spite of US trade sanctions. The permit was never granted, however.

He was known for his extravagant gambling style, and he was considered a whale in the casino industry. Between 1994-2006, al Zayat wagered around £91 million at Aspinalls and lost £23 million. Aspinalls also sued him for $2 million plus costs for gambling debts he incurred from Blackjack losses. His argument was that he had been wrongfully credit granted under the Gaming Act, so he appealed and won his case.

Convicted of Fraud in Greece

Al-Zayat was tried in absentia for bribery in Greece in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison. Despite this, he never actually served this sentence because the Greece authorities could not find him. Further to this, he was also wanted for fraud in Cyprus at the time of his death.

The legacy Fouad al-Zayat left was that of a giant, and he blazed a trail for others to follow, despite his fraud convictions in Greece.

Brian Molony

The Banker and Gambler with a Secret

Brian Molony is a former admitted compulsive Canadian Gambler famous for embezzling millions from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

He graduated from the University of Ontario and appeared to have a bright future ahead of him with plans of being a financial writer; however, he did exceptionally well in the CIBC aptitude test, and the Canadian Bank placed him in their management training programme. Molony started off as a teller then moved across to saving, current accounts, forex and loan accounting. He then floated between the bank’s vast network of some 1600 branches giving him a broader insight into their workings and weaknesses. That knowledge and his secret obsession with gambling overtook his life and caused him to do things he would later regret.

The Start of Molony’s Downfall

Molony led an unassuming life, and by the time he was 26, he was named assistant manager of his branch, a fantastic accomplishment for someone so young. However, he was still only earning $35000 a year, and that’s when he turned to casinos to increase his income. Whilst embezzling $10.2 million from the Canadian Imperial Bank to feed the gambling habits, he ensured he kept a low profile wearing inexpensive suits, leaving minimal tips at restaurants all

He was betting up to $75000 a hand during his prime by playing anything from craps to poker. He even dabbled in sports betting and once lost $800 000 when he placed a bet on a losing team. The strange thing was Molony wasn’t really interested in money and what it could buy. He was interested in accumulating infinite amounts so he could continue gambling.

Brian Molony finally got arrested on April 27, 1982, the day after he lost a million dollars at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel-Casino and pleaded guilty to embezzlement. He got incarcerated for six years, and upon release after only serving 2.5 years, he agreed to community service and a programme of restitution which included public speaking on the compulsion of gambling.

Today Brian Molony works as a management consultant while slowly paying back the funds he stole. He is happily married with three children living in a modest home in Pickering, Ontario. There is a book by Gray S Ross called Stung and based on the true story of Brian Molony, and it’s a great read.

Phil Ivey

On February 1, 1977, Phillip Dennis Ivey Junior was born in Riverside, California. He has won 10 World Series of Poker (W.S.O.P.) bracelets and one World Poker Tour (WPT).

As one of the world’s best poker players, he has reached the finals of nine World Poker Tour tables. He is often referred to as the “Tiger Woods” of Poker by his fellow players.

Phil Ivey won over $26 million in tournament winnings during 2018. The W.S.O.P provided a total of $6.66 million.

The World Series of Poker

Ivey beat fellow American Professional gambler Amarillo Slim for his first W.S.O.P. bracelet when he was 23 years old.

In 2002, Ivey played Split Poker, Limit Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, Limit Seven Card Stud, and Limit Seven Card Stud. He also came 23rd in the W.S.O.P. main event.

As of 2009, Ivey had already won 8 bracelets, and in the 2010 World Series of Poker Tournament, he received the most votes for Tournament of Champions. Phil Ivey won ten World Series of Poker bracelets in only 14 years, making him the youngest player ever to win so many bracelets so quickly.

What is he doing now?

In the past, Ivey faced several lawsuits, including one from Borgata Casino, which claimed he cheated with a technique called Edge Sorting. On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Marshals served a writ of execution on Phil Ivey at the 2019 W.S.O.P. Tournament and seized his winnings to pay the Borgata.

A messy divorce followed, as well as lawsuits with Full Tilt Poker for breach of contract.

He took quite a few years off from playing Poker Professionally as he felt he had lost his passion for Poker. However, he announced his return in November 2020 and is back to playing Poker Professionally.

Tommy Carmichael

Thomas Glenn Carmichael was born on May 7, 1950, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

A casino group led by Carmichael cheated millions of dollars from casinos worldwide with their slot machine cheating.

In the Early Years

Carmichael was working at a television repair shop called Ace TV and Sales in 1980 when a friend of his named Ray Ming approached him.

He showed him a slot machine cheating tool called a top-bottom joint. The device was a simple metal and string piece that went into a corner of the machine adjacent to the circuit board and sent a low-wattage electric current to hotwire the hopper where coins are kept.

Having heard about this device, Carmichael moved to Las Vegas immediately to test it out.

The Strip

It was first tested out on a five-cent machine at a Las Vegas casino, and he won $35 worth of nickels. Additionally, he used the tool to win significant amounts of money on many other slot machines.

However, the casinos became suspicious, and when he was eating lunch at Denny’s, police officers broke in to search his car and found the cheating tool. Despite being sentenced to five years in jail, he only served two years.

The invention of more cheating devices

He invented even more sophisticated cheating devices and cheated casinos out of thousands of dollars on his release from jail.

One of his devices was the ‘slider’, or ‘monkey paw,’ which could be inserted into the payout chute of a slot machine and tripped the microswitch to release coins illegally.

In addition to the ‘light wand,’ he invented the ‘blinding light’ that blinded payout sensors, causing coin releases. He was caught again by the casinos, and he was sentenced to more jail time.

Where is he now?

As soon as Carmichael was released, he spent his time developing an anti-cheating device called “The Protector” that he hoped would pardon him for his past mistakes. On February 1 2019, he died in Oklahoma.