Golf and gambling go together like JD and cigarettes.
Honestly, I think it’s very strange when I meet a golfer who doesn’t gamble. The sport naturally breeds competitiveness and money always makes a match more fun.
But for some golfers, they take their gambling off the course too. John Daly might be the best example as he lost a fortune thanks to another one of his bad habits.
Let’s dive into why JD loves gambling and how he was able to lose an incredible amount in his lifetime.
John Daly Lost More Than 50 Million Dollars In His Career
On or off the golf course, one thing is for sure, John Daly is a risk-taker.
On the course he isn’t afraid to hit the driver on a tight hole with trouble looming. Or, trying to attack a long par 5 in two, even if a big number is possible.
Off the golf course, he has the same risk taking attitude. When he’s not hitting bombs, he’s pulling slots, playing blackjack, and enjoying his time gambling.
But as anyone who’s ever gambled before, you know that the house always wins. In JD’s case, the house has won… big time.
When writing his book, John did the math and realized that he lost more than 50 million dollars gambling. Yes, you read that right, 50 million dollars!
JD’s Gambling Stats
As he said in his ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, “We figured I lost about $98 million and won about $45 million gambling. So, yeah, I lost around $50 million.”
But he also won some too, just not enough to stay in the black.
So how do you lose that much money in a casino?
His favorite games were high-end slots and blackjack. But unlike us mere mortals, he wasn’t playing penny slots and $5 tables praying for 21.
Instead, he was playing the highest amounts possible. In fact, he said that he even found a slot machine at the Wynn that was $5,000 a pull!
Not to mention, his love for blackjack. But instead of playing one hand, he played the entire table – seven hands at once. Plus, the amount per hand was between $5,000 to $15,000.
When you hear him talk about insane numbers like these, it’s easy to see how you can lose a ton of money quickly.
He Gambles For Adrenaline
One thing is for sure about golfers – we love chasing adrenaline.
Personally, adrenaline is the reason I play in competitive events. There’s nothing more invigorating than teeing it up in competition even if it is an amateur event without millions of dollars on the line.
But as a professional golfer, I can imagine that adrenaline dies down after some time. The more comfortable you get playing in front of screaming fans for tons of money, the less exciting. Which is why a lot of golfers look for other opportunities to chase adrenaline.
For Tiger Woods, it was going to Navy SEAL training. Other is racing cars. And for other professional PGA Tour players like Phil Mickelson and John Daly, it’s gambling.
As John said in an interview, “I love the action. I love the adrenaline, going in there.” While his habits have changed since he lost so much money he hasn’t given up gambling for good.
“Now if I gamble, I play the $25 slots. If I hit something, I might move up to $100. But I don’t do what I used to do anymore” Daly said.
While he’s definitely not leaving the casino in his rearview, at least he’s managed to get a hold of his costly habit.
Daly Has No Regrets
Despite losing an enormous amount of money at the casinos, he doesn’t regret it.
He’s accepted that it was part of his life and journey but doesn’t sit around thinking about all the money he’s lost. Instead, he remembers the good times that he had doing it instead of the large sum of money that vanished.
He also likes to point out that while he has lost a ton, it didn’t happen in a year or two. It was over a 15-year stretch, meaning he “only” lost about three million per year.
At least he has the courage to share this crazy fact with others. Never change JD!
Written by Michael Leonard