LAS VEGAS—Cursing at security officers as he fought their efforts to escort him from the premises, a kicking, screaming Warren Buffett was reportedly dragged from Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino early Wednesday morning after losing his entire fortune playing roulette.
The Berkshire Hathaway chairman, who sources said had been betting almost continuously and in progressively greater amounts since checking into the hotel approximately 12 hours earlier, reportedly squandered $78.7 billion in stocks, bonds, real estate, and liquid assets by the time guards arrived to remove him.
“It was hard watching him blow all his money like that, just sitting there putting down these giant stacks of chips even as he was getting deeper into the hole,” said casino patron Dwayne Mitchum, adding that Buffett initially seemed upbeat—drinking comped rum-and-cokes and casually dispensing free mutual-fund advice to other players—before his mood began darkening as he gambled away more and more of his wealth. “Then when he lost his very last $3.5 billion, you could almost see the blood draining from his face. He kind of froze for a second, like he was in some kind of trance.”
“That’s when he slumped against the table and just started sobbing,” Mitchum added.
According to sources, the 86-year-old business magnate frequently attempted to borrow money over the course of his gambling binge once he had exhausted his own personal resources. While Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger declined to lend him $40 billion despite Buffett’s promise he’d have it “back and then some” in an hour, Buffett was eventually able to have $5 billion wired to him by several of the company’s senior board members, whose concerns were reportedly allayed by assurances that he was “good for it.”
“For a little while, at least, he was riding a really hot hand—I remember around midnight he won four or five $2 billion bets in a row,” croupier Molly Giorgi told reporters, noting that at one point the so-called Oracle of Omaha had attracted the attention of two young women who stood on either side and cheered him on as he collected his winnings. “But then he started wagering $6 billion here, $10 billion there, and pretty soon he was down to just a few billion, which was all the money he had left in the world.”
“When he pushed those last chips toward me, I asked him if he was sure, and he just loosened his tie, smoothed back his hair, and said, ‘Shut up and put it on 22,’” she continued, recalling that the room went silent as the ball skittered around before finally landing on 19. “Once he saw he’d lost, he just snapped, wailing about how he was on the hook for billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and that he didn’t know what they’d do when they found out he was now completely broke.”
Witnesses confirmed that as security personnel approached, a disheveled, perspiring Buffett launched into a stream of verbal attacks directed at casino employees, whom he accused of either rigging the wheel or using an “illegal ball.” Buffett reportedly then made a sudden break toward the slot machine area, where he snatched several patrons’ cups of quarters before tripping over his own feet and stumbling into a cocktail waitress.
Quickly pinned to the floor by guards, he was then whisked out a side door, frantically screaming for help because “those casino crooks took all my money.”
“I felt bad seeing him take the loss so poorly, but then again I was standing near him when he hit a $10 billion column bet and tucked 2.8 [billion] into my shirt pocket for being his ‘lucky charm,’” said Phoenix-area visitor and now 239th richest person in America, Bob Raskow. “But that’s Vegas for you—it doesn’t matter if you run the fourth-largest public company on the planet, the house always wins.”
At press time, a trembling Buffett was seen sitting on the curb outside Caesars Palace with his head in his hands, repeatedly dialing his wife’s number and hanging up as soon as he heard her voice.