Many people don’t know this, but Michael Jordan was a gambler. He gambled and made big casino deposits and that is why he’s considered to be a problem gambler. In 1993, he insisted that this wasn’t the case in his interview with Ahmad Rashad. His history with betting says otherwise. Jordan did not miss out on anything. Starting from sports betting to all card games to try in casinos worldwide, his history of gambling is wide and long. 

Beginning of Gambling

Michael Jordan began gambling at a time when betting was not available at best real money casino app or online websites. He gambled in land-based casinos and sportsbooks. In ‘’The Last Dance’’ or, more precisely, the 6thh episode, there was a bit on his gambling habits. But the truth is, there’s a lot to it from what this movie showed. His story begins even before he started playing for the NBA. 

The exact time is still unknown, but it’s believed that Jordan started gambling as early as high school. In a letter he wrote to his prom date, Michael said he was happy to pay off a bet he’d won against her. In college, he wrote a $5 check to a fellow student who kept it for all those years just to put it up for auction in 2019. 

Casino History of Michael Jordan When He Was in NBA

At this point, he had enough money to satisfy his gambling urges. He started by playing cards with Lacy Banks and Sam Smith on the road, as he revealed in The Jordan Rules. 

According to Pippen, Jordan almost always won because he bet on Jumbotron cartoon races with a security guard during the games, only because he got the winners in advance from the arena staffers. 

In ‘’The Last Dance’’, his playing with teammates was vividly described. He was a relentless card shark and played with the high rollers in his team. He even played with the teenaged rookie Brown despite the advice not to by his coach Johnny Bach. 

His gambling dream became a reality during his time with Team USA. When the Dream Team prepped for the Olympics in Monaco in 1992, Jordan finally had access to the Monte Carlo casino. 

What Were the Favourite Games by Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan was a fan of card games, especially poker games. Still, his most expensive gambling was for the game of golf. In 1993, the suspected drug dealer and gambler James Bouler was sentenced to 9 years in prison for conspiracy and money laundering. At this time, Jordan testified over a check for $57,000 that he wrote for Bouler. 

That same year, Richard Esquinas claimed that Jordan owed him $1.25 million from golf bets in his book: Michael and Me: Our Gambling Addiction… My Cry for Help. They settled for $300,000 in the end. 

Other Basketball Players That Were Gamblers as Well as Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan might have been the most dedicated gambler of them all, but he wasn’t the only one. Other people who gambled as vicariously as Jordan were:

  • Charles Barkley said he lost $10 million at casinos in 2006. 
  • J.R. Smith had $15,000 stolen from his mansion who he claimed to be ‘’his gambling money’’.
  • Antoine Walker was arrested for failing to pay back Vegas casinos with a total of $800,000.


Gambling is an amazing pastime as long as you are doing this in moderation. There are many people who have troubles with gambling addiction, so you should be mindful of your finances and stop seeing this as a means of earning cash. 


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