It's hard for anything John Daly does or says to come as a surprise anymore, but everyone is staggered by a gambling figure he dropped in a recent interview with Graham Bensinger for Yahoo. He estimates losses around $55 to $57 million, which would fall in line with the $50 to $60 million figure he disclosed in his autobiography in 2006.
Daly is always a popular topic for attempted in-depth profiles and interviews, and this one hits the usual issues of failed marriages, drinking problems and unreliable golf. But the discussion on his gambling, and that $55 to $57 million figure, has been the takeaway from this week's interview (here's the full clip on gambling -- my main takeaway is that he has an American flag blazer to match the pants).
Daly says he initially thought the figure might have been $20 or $25 million, but when he went through his tax records to detail his gambling addiction in his autobiography, he discovered losses more than double that. When the autobiography was released in 2006, Daly said he had gotten control of most everything in his life (drinking, medications) except for the gambling. The most infamous anecdote back then was that he once won $750,000 at a World Golf Championship in San Francisco, then went straight to Las Vegas and lost $1.65 million in five hours, including $600,000 in his first 30 minutes. The final chapter of his book was dedicated to his gambling problem, and he wrote it was going to "flat-out ruin me."
He tells Bensinger that most of the losses came through blackjack and slots, which he said he's played for two days straight in a single sitting. Daly cited a specific "double diamond machine with the cherry" that was a $5k-per-pull slot machine at the Wynn, but adds that it's no longer there. He also said he would play seven blackjack hands at five, 10, or 15 thousand a hand, and adds that he thinks the limit is now three hands "pretty much all over the world."
At the time of his book publication, he was trying to set "walkout loss" numbers and "planned to start" at the $25 slots. That plan has apparently held up. Today, he tells Bensinger, "Now if I gamble, I go in and I play the $25 slots. If I hit something I might move up to the hundreds. But I don't do what I used to do anymore." And if we are to believe the figure claimed from that book and this interview, it does seem he has gotten it under control.
So does he regret it? Not exactly -- Daly called it stupid, but he's not regretful. "People are going to say I should regret it. But I did it, I've moved on from it and I had a lot of fun doing it."