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Story of the Japanese High Roller that Almost Kicked Casino Mogul Trump out of Business


The U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is known as the casino mogul Trump rather than a businessman dealing with real estate ventures. He is a well-known figure in the world of gambling as he is good enough to create such a successful casino as Trump Taj Mahal and bad enough to sink it despite the huge revenue of the casino. You can blame the declining financial trends due to any failure in casino business. Nevertheless, Japanese businessman Akio Kashiwagi almost kicked the casino mogul Trump out of business on his own.

Japanese Billionaire Akio Kashiwagi was found dead in his huge palatial house near Mt. Fuji in January 1992. The 54-year-old man was stabbed around 150 times. Apparently money brings trouble with itself. There were rumors about the Yakuza involvement in Kashiwagi murder as the murderer/s killed the man with a samurai-style sword.

The Japanese police could never find the person or organization behind the murder. The main reason probably was that nobody knew much about Kashiwagi as he was an incredibly mysterious person.

He was murdered 24 years ago; but, he is an important figure today as well, as he almost managed to kick Donald Trump out of business in the beginning of the 1990s. Kashiwagi was one of the best gamblers in his time. He was brave enough to wager $10 million in a single gaming bender. Later on casino mogul Donald Trump would remember him as the best gambler in his book The Art of the Comeback. Shame that he never spent any of his time browsing through the unique offers at Bovada Casino.

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Cover of Trump’s The Art of the Comeback

Akio Kashiwagi owed at least $9 million to casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos at the time when he passed away. He owed $4 million to Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Obviously, he had issues with the casinos in the United States. One of his last statements to the U.S. media was that he aimed to burn a copy of Trump’s book The Art of the Deal. He many not like Trump’s authorship, but he had always been an important figure in his life. Kashiwagi is the person who made Trump realize that he is actually a gambler than an analytical thinker.

Casino Mogul Donald Trump Meets the Whale in Tokyo

What brought the casino mogul Donald Trump and the “Whale” Kashiwagi together was a party in Tokyo. In February 1990, Donald Trump flew to the Japanese capital to promote a heavyweight fight between Mike Tyson and Buster Douglas (it turned out to be a legendary fight as Douglas knocked Tyson out). At a party the day before the fight Trump took Tyson around the room for photos. The room was full of notable businessmen.

Trump spotted a shy man and he tried to force him to be in a photo next to Tyson. The Japanese man refused Trump’s request as he started shoting “no picture.” That shy Japanese businessman was Akio Kashiwagi.

Later on Donald Trump figured out that Kashiwagi was a legendary high roller. At that time, Donald Trump’s casino business wasn’t doing well as he needed more and more money in order to retain a stable income. Kashiwagi could be the big whale to harpoon for Donald Trump.

Trump Invites Kashiwagi to Atlantic City

Casino mogul Trump was desperately in need of two things: a high roller who would leave millions to the casino and publicity. What would be better than a Japanese businessman who wagers $10 million in a game to make Trump’s come true.

Kashiwagi was a fan of baccarat. He was the son of a carpenter and made $100 million per year and his assets’ worth was over $1 billion. He carried a Japanese chef with him to cook marinated monkey for him. That was the whole information about the man. Well, it turned out that he could make only $15 million annually. But, it doesn’t effect the flow of the story.

As a matter of fact, some people warned Trump against Kashiwagi as he almost bankrupted James Goldsmith’s Diamond Beach casino in Australia winning nearly $20 million. But he also lost $6 million on baccarat (check the Baccarat Guide for Beginners if you want to learn more about the game of James Bond) at Steve Wynn’s Mirage Las Vegas previously.

Trump was ready to take the chance and he invited Kashiwagi to Atlantic City to gamble at his Trump Plaza Casino. He prepared a penthouse for him at the Trump Plaza. Kashiwagi took the challenge. Trump greeted him with an autographed copy of The Art of the Deal which is the book Kashiwagi would want to burn later on.

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Cover of Trump’s national best seller

The Art of the Deal

Kashiwagi didn’t step outside of the penthouse for the first two days. Finally he appeared on the third day to gamble. He had piles of $5,000 chips awaited him at a table reserved for his play. The amount that he was ready to wager was too huge that one $250,000 stack stood over a foot high next to him.

The Whale Amazes People with the Amount of Money He Wagers

Although Kashiwagi wanted to stay away from attention, his bodyguard, the casino officials around him, and a lot of chips that he carried put him to the center of attention. He was taken care of well by Trump as he provided Kashiwagi even with a Japanese chef to cook solely for him. Naturally, the main aim of Trump was to render Kashiwagi shine like a diamond so that his casino would be advertised by the media as the dream-like place of extravagance, luxury, and a life that everybody dreamt of.

People in the casino were amazed by the view of the money that Kashiwagi wagered. It was way more than most people could ever imagine. The Japanese businessman kept wagering high and he actually started to win right away. It was the point when Trump realized that he was a gambler rather than a reasonable thinker. He was gambling against a man who could make $40 or $50 million in a short time. He had the potential to bankrupt the casino mogul Trump easily. Trump remembers those moments saying that “I was merely sitting on the sidelines watching as one of the best gamblers in the world played against me for $250,000 per hand, seventy times an hour.” Imagine the amount that he wagered in total! Such amounts would not be accepted in many online casinos today so don’t even think about it at Casumo Casino.

Even if You are Down $6 Million Never Give Up!

As Kashiwagi was winning thousands every passing minute, Trump went to check how much he lost. It turned out that he lost $4 million to Kashiwagi. The secret behind Kashiwagi’s success was that he was playing baccarat which has less house advantage than the other casino games. The total house edge was slightly more than 1%.

Kashiwagi played only two days and left for Tokyo with $6 million of the casino mogul Trump. He probably didn’t like the attention that he was receiving from the media and also the people around him. He left the country just before becoming a celebrity.

For Trump, the game was on and it was the time for revenge. He consulted the mathematical probabilities expert Jess Marcum who suggested Trump to keep Kashiwagi gambling as it would be the only way to make use of the house edge. The more the person gambles, the more the house edge becomes important.

Re-match: Trump vs. Kashiwagi

Trump took Marcum’s advice and invited Kashiwagi to Atlantic City once again. They arranged a return ceremony for the Japanese man on the December 7, which would coincide with the Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Marcum created a plan for Trump to beat Kashiwagi relying on probabilities. After all, mathematics of gambling doesn’t lie, does it? According to Marcum’s plan, casino mogul Trump would make a deal with Kashiwagi. The Japanese man would bring $12 million and play until either losing it all or doubling the sum. It would require the Japanese man to gamble for a long time which would put Marcum’s theory at work. In other words, Kashiwagi’s winning chance would fall to 15 percent.

The only problem was that the United States gambling laws did not give any right to the casino owner to keep a gambler longer in the casino than he wants. Thus, Trump had to trust Kashiwagi; there was no other way.

The Great Whale Takes the Bait Eventually

The great whale took the bait and agreed on the terms. He appeared in Trump Plaza once again. What made trump so excited wasn’t the prospect of winning the money that he had lost back. H was exhilarated about the possibility of beating a great gambler and satisfying his humongous ego. However, he started losing his hope right after Kashiwagi started playing as he made another $9 million – it means that he won $15 million of Trump’s money.

Donald Trump was ready to stop the game. However, Marcum convinced him to stick with the plan until the scheme paid off. As a matter of fact, the plan was working somehow as the game lasted for more than five days. The more Kashiwagi played the less his chances got. You may call it Deus ex machine or simply the genius of Marcum, Kashiwagi hit a significant losing streak.

The Japanese started to lose after his dealers changed from a team of men to a team of women. Trump suddenly became a superstitious person and requested the women to stay at the table at all costs.

After six days of gambling at Trump Plaza, Kashiwagi was down $10 million. Considering the fact that he won $6 million from Trump, it would mean losing $4 million to the American casino magnate.

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Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino Atlantic City is now closed

According to online gambling news, Trump claimed that he stayed loyal to the terms and stopped the game. Kashiwagi wasn’t happy about it but he accepted the situation. Nevertheless, Kashiwagi’s aide later told that Trump wasn’t loyal to the terms as the original agreement stated that the game would end only if the Japanese won or lost $12 million. Trump called the game after $10 million. That’s when Kashiwagi said that he was going to burn the autographed copy of Trump’s Art of the Deal.

Kashiwagi Dies without Seeing the Downfall of Casino Mogul Donald Trump

Kashiwagi was killed in 1992. The police couldn’t find the killers nor their motives. They didn’t steal anything from the gambler’s house which was full of valuable assets. The mysterious man died as a result of a mysterious murder.

Trump could never clear the $6 million check that Kashiwagi left for him. There is a chance that the Japanese gambler thought that he lost against trump after an unfair game; therefore, Trump didn’t deserve the money that he won.

Kashiwagi’s aide later told the press that Trump had an issue with the creditors. The casino mogul gifted $5,000 shopping voucher to Kashiwagi at Macy’s Atlantic City. But the store rejected Trump’s credit at the register. This was a sign of the financial crisis that Trump was going through.

Three of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos went bankrupt in the same year when Kashiwagi died. The Japanese couldn’t see the downfall of his arch enemy. However, Trump always talked highly of him. In a statement to Politico Magazine, Trump said that “I loved our matches with him. He was a great player who loved big numbers. He made me a lot of money when money was very tight and the economy was crashing.”

It actually doesn’t make sense as Trump could never recover the money that he lost to Kashiwagi. It is true that he needed public attention; but, obviously, the attention that he received didn’t save his casinos. Therefore, it can be stated that Trump’s gambling with Kashiwagi wasn’t as successful as he claimed. But still, it would be great to see Trump and Kashiwagi clash on the best United States online casinos so that the whole world could experience such a great rivalry.

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About the author

Keremcan is a devoted philologist by profession. He is a passionate supporter of his local football and basketball teams. Since he loves conducting extensive researches in eclectic fields, he has taken up the role of the head of the research team of Gambling Herald.

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