EXCLUSIVE: Archie Karas made headlines with the biggest streak in gambling history when he turned $50 into $46M over three years in the 1990s — and then lost it all in spectacular fashion. Now First Born Films is betting on his life story to fuel a feature biopic titled The Run. Poker, blackjack, pool, craps — you name it, Karas gambled it while carving out a reputation for playing exorbitant stakes. His famous run started when the waiter-turned-rounder drove to Vegas one night with $50 in his pocket, built up a $7M bankroll from poker and pool, and then turned that into $17M within six months.
A fixture at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, Karas was known for challenging big-name card sharks to high-stakes heads-up games; he even took to rolling dice for as much as $100,000 a pop. But the roller coaster dipped as much as it soared, and Karas, born Anargyros Karabourniotis, lost his fortune as he continued to work the circuit. His latest gamble came this summer when Karas was caught marking blackjack cards at a San Diego County casino and charged with burglary, winning by fraudulent means and cheating.
“I’ve gambled more money than anyone in the history of the planet,” Karas has said. “What most gamblers make in their whole life, I gamble in one roll of the dice. Unless the casinos decide to raise their limits after I’m gone, I don’t think anyone will ever gamble more than I have. I’m the biggest ever.”
Frank Baldwin (The Racketeer) will script the picture tracing the Greek immigrant’s rise and fall as the man many consider to be the greatest gambler of all time. First Born Films’ Daniela Cretu will produce The Run, adding to a lineup that launched with The Godmother, based on the true story of Colombian drug queenpin Griselda Blanco. “Archie’s story is one of the most amazing and original stories I’ve ever encountered. It would be a crime not to make this a movie,” said Cretu. “Nobody has ever done what Archie has done, and we will probably never see it happen again.” Baldwin, who also scripted The Godmother, is repped by WME and Leverage Management’s Michael Garnett.