British Aristocrat Loses $20M In One Night at Poker Tables

Last week, a British aristocrat and convicted fraudster overnight became one of the biggest whales in high-stakes poker.

Over the weekend, George Cottrell, 30, lost $20 million in one night of high stakes poker at the Maestral Resort & Casino in Budva, Montenegro.

The venue is currently hosting the star-studded Triton Poker High Roller Series, which over the past week has seen several $1 million-plus tournament winners.

Cottrell, who has worked in banking and politics, was playing in a private high-stakes game separate from the Triton event as he wagered and lost the huge sums. At the table were Chinese billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and top money list poker players. 

However, the aristocratic gambler did not seem disturbed by his massive losses, equivalent to 10x the average American’s lifetime earnings. 

“Despite George losing so much money, he appeared to be enjoying himself and didn’t step away from the table until 7 a.m. By that point, he was $20 million down,” an unnamed source told British newspaper the Daily Mail. 

The High-Stakes Gambling 

Cottrell has been a frequent high-stakes gambler since the mid 2010s. 

His true wealth is unknown, but he has an estimated net worth in the billions of dollars. He would have to, in order to not sweat much losing $20 million in one night on the poker tables. 

On Saturday night, inside the Maestral Casino’s high-limit private room, poker players were putting down as much as $200,000 on the buy-in. British businessman and poker player Rob Yong was also in attendance, and he posted on social media about the high-stakes table game that Cottrell was playing. 

“The big game way too big 4 me here, $200k + just to see the flop,” Yong wrote in a now-deleted tweet, captured by the Daily Mail. 

A Whale’s Fortune 

Cotrrell’s Wikipedia page is a wild ride in itself. The British Aristocrat is the son of a Baron and the nephew of former British Conservative Party treasurer Lord Baron Hesketh. 

Cottrell was raised on the private British island of Mustique in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and then attended the $40,000-a-year historic Malvern College in the rolling English countryside of Worcestershire. That’s where he was expelled for, tellingly, illegal gambling. 

During this time, his mother briefly dated then-Prince, now King Charles II. Cottrell went on to work at a number of prominent global banks from the age of 19, including Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan. 

In 2015, he joined the UK Independence Party, which was instrumental in the country deciding to leave the European Union in the Brexit vote of 2016.

Around this time, Cottrell became close with then-UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Farage pivoted to U.S. interests after the success of Brexit, joining the circles of high-profile conservatives, including Donald Trump.

This led Cottrell to widen his U.S. network, too. Which eventually led to him spending eight months in an Illinois jail.

In 2016, Cottrell had been found to be advertising his services as an offshore investment and money laundering expert. Two undercover FBI agents asked to meet him in Las Vegas, posing as drug dealers wanting to launder money out of the U.S.

After attempting to blackmail the two agents for $80,000 in bitcoin to not go to the police, he then found out they were police. He was promptly charged with wire fraud and sentenced to two years in prison, of which he served eight months.

However, the experience clearly didn’t dent his appetite for risk, with this latest news of his $20 million gambling losses.

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