Andy Beal

Name: Andy Beal
Birth Date: 1952
Birth Place: Lansing, Michigan, USA
Current Residence: Dallas, Texas, USA

Andy Beal is a well-known businessman based in Dallas, Texas who made his fortune in banking and real estate. In the poker world, he is known for his high-stakes poker and mathematics activities. Since he was a teenager in Michigan, he wanted to be a businessman and during his years in high school, he was already buying broken televisions from the Salvation Army with the help of his uncle and repairing them for resale. At age 11, he bought them for a dollar and resold them for $30 or $40. Together with his friends, he began to relocate dislodged houses, linking hydraulic jacks, and then moving the homes at night. During his youth, he was a blackjack player. By the age of 17, Beal had graduated from televisions to residential security alarms. He founded a company called Central Security Systems which installed systems, intercoms and antennas around his hometown.

Later on, he enrolled at the Michigan State University and then attended the Baylor University in Texas. At just 19 years of age, he bought his first property, a house for $6,500, which he then rented it out for $119 per month. This was his first net gain as a businessman. He graduated high school and supplemented his studies with a few night courses at Lansing Community College. Eventually he dropped out as he found it too difficult to balance both academic and business responsibilities.

In 1973, after his twenty-first birthday, he made a visit to Las Vegas and immediately saw the myriad of ways to make some profit. He began investigating and developing systems for counting cards and ended up even making up to $50,000 on a good night.

Then in 1981, he went into real estate, bought the Brick Towers, a project building in New Jersey and continued buying properties that no one else would want. He believed that everything he bought could be turned into a profitable property. Amazingly enough this risky business strategy did work and in 1988, he succeeded in opening his first bank in Dallas named Allegiance Savings and Loan Association. This was later changed to Beal Financial, which now includes Beal Bank, Beal Bank Nevada, CSG Investments, Inc, Loan Acquisition Corporation, and Beal Mortgage Services.

He accumulated 15 properties and was making a monthly profit by putting them up for rent. He then moved to apartment buildings and acquired a property in Waco, Texas. Beal liquidated his real estate assets in Lansing and moved to Waco to manage his new holdings full time. In an aim to please his mother, he went back to his studies at Baylor University but again was unable to find enough time to devote to his studies.

Beal was soon exploring new areas of enterprise. And during a real-estate seminar he attended in Washington, DC, he became intrigued by the notion that thousands of people would willingly pay $100 a head to listen to the advice of so-called experts.

This drove him to found the National Institute for Continuing Professional Development. In the late 70s and early 80s the NICPD held seminars in almost every major city in the U.S. Beal made a substantial profit from this venture but never gave up his interest in real-estate market. He expanded his property holdings and needed some form of financing. Inspired by a friend of his who was granted a charter to open his own bank, he obtained his own charter in 1985 and Beal Bank went into business a few years later. Beal’s Bank did well and by 1996 the assets had grown to an astounding $1.2 billion. From 1995 to 1996 the bank’s income had nearly doubled, from $27.5 to $48.8 million and by 1999 its annual income had reached $100 million.

During the 1990s, Beal did experience some small business failures as when he tried to expand Beal Bank’s services to include international markets such as Russia and Mexico and this only resulted in Beal retreating from foreign expansion for good.

By the year 2000, Beal Bank had already bought over $1 billion USD in commercial loans from the SBA. With the success of Beal Bank came a strange new aspect of his life: the existence of free time. The business had become largely self-sufficient and Beal had plenty of free time. One of his free time interests was advanced mathematics, which sparked an interest leading to a significant achievement. Andy was so confident in his knowledge of his new hobby that he offered a $100,000 prize to anyone able to either prove or disprove his calculations, which have come to be known as “Beal’s Conjecture.” No one has yet won this prize.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Beal made another risky decision, contrasted with what other called common business sense, he began buying aircraft debt. Aircraft debt prices were very low at the time following the attacks and Beal was hoping the airlines would recover after the tragedy, so he bought them with the aim of selling them once they escalated in price. This resulted in Beal Bank makings about $70,000,000 USD of profit a year from those bonds. Beal’s next venture was aerospace technology as he founded Beal Aerospace Technology and began plans for a low-cost, reusable launch vehicle, with the vision of privatizing the space transportation industry. Unfortunately, due to heavy competition from Lockheed Martin, Boeing and even NASA, Beal Aerospace was forced to cease this operation in October 2000.

Beal began visiting the Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2001 to participate in the high stakes poker games, the heads-up Texas hold ‘em in particular. When he went there between 2001 and 2004, Beal played against a group of professional poker players known as “The Corporation“, challenging on the world’s best poker players for the highest stakes anyone in Vegas had ever seen. The group agreed to play Beal heads-up, his preferred style, for a go at his seemingly bottomless bankroll. Prior to 2001, Beal hadn’t played poker in earnest before he sat down at a $15/$30 Limit Hold’em table at Bellagio in March 2001. But after winning some medium-stakes games at the Bellagio, he got a rush and quickly upped his games. He landed a game with poker royalty Todd Brunson and went on to challenge some of the most successful players in the game to heads-up play, often coming out on top. The Corporation included Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Todd Brunson, Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Barry Greenstein, Chau Giang amongst others.

After making a few hundred dollars at his first table he moved over to the $80/$160 table. The next day he had advanced to $400/$800. He competed with the sharks, dominated his first session with Todd Brunson. He played against some of the best players in the world at stakes starting at $1,000/$2,000 and reaching as high as $4,000/$8,000. Amazingly, he won more than $100,000 that day, trashing the hopes of the professionals who thought Beal as an easy mark.

When Beal next returned to Vegas, The Corporation had pooled together $1 million and was ready to take on Beal for $15,000/$30,000. Beal’s first opponent was Chip Reese, arguably the best all-around player in the world in the most expensive game the Bellagio poker room had ever seen. Ted Forrest, who had been driving in from Los Angeles that day and therefore was not included in the original Corporation, showed up and sat down at the table with half a million dollars in chips. By the end of the afternoon Forrest had every one of Beal’s chips, taking home a profit of $1,035,000. Forrest then eventually joined the Corporation too, having proven he was a good asset.

Forrest proved his value again in another match, winning $2 million more from the Texas banker. Harman was the next one to represent the group against Beal and won a $1 million win for The Corporation. The final pro to go up against Beal on this trip was Howard Lederer won another $1 million from Beal in less than three hours. After this loss, Andy went home to Dallas and worked on his game, reading poker books and computer simulations. He was still confident that he could take on the world’s best poker players and returned to Vegas nine months later in December 2001 to have another shot. Beal foresaw that during the high stakes play, the collective group of pros would be influenced by the amount of money at risk and could lose the game.

By 2004 they had $100,000/$200,000 Limit Texas hold ‘em heads up with more than $20 million on the table at stake. This story was chronicled in Michael Craig’s book, The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time. After a close match with Howard Lederer, Beal went on a serious tear and beat Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harman, John Hennigan, Ted Forrest and Chau Giang consecutively. His hard work had definitely paid off and the pros were shocked by the newly improved opponent, taking The Corporation of $5.3 million in less than a week. Beal even made Doyle, Harman and Forrest pose with him for a picture with the $7.5 million in Bellagio chips he had won off them.

But Beal could not get enough and instead of taking the $7.5 million back to Dallas he faced the Corporation again for $5 million. The game resumed the next morning this time with Forrest sitting across the table from Beal. With stakes at $20,000/$40,000 and only $1.2 million left in the group’s bankroll. Forrest had increased his stack from $1.2 million to $4.6 million, a profit of $3.4 million and Lederer took over. At the conclusion of play, Beal vowed to give up poker forever, something that he did not accomplish to do.

Although Beal managed to stay away from the felt for a little while, his experiences playing against The Corporation had him hooked. He would return again and again to the high-stakes room at Bellagio and later at the Wynn to feed his hunger for competition. The games ended in 2004 but Beal returned to the Wynn Las Vegas Casino Las Vegas in February, 2006 to play again up against “The Corporation” in a $50,000/100,000 Limit Hold ‘Em match. His opponents were Todd Brunson, Jennifer Harman and Ted Forrest, amongst others.

Over the years Beal has been unable to gain an edge on the pros, or recover his losses. As the matches progressed to higher and higher stakes, the media started speculating even more. Despite the million-dollar wins and losses incurred by both parties there have been many accounts of rematches. Beal has not yet accomplished his goal of beating the best poker players in the world but he’s come very close and hasn’t given up yet.

Nowadays, Beal enjoys the fruits of founding and chairing the Beal Bank and Beal Aerospace Technologies. Away from the poker table, Beal lives with his wife and children in the Highland Park area of Dallas, Texas, where he continues to oversee the expansion of his empire of assets.

Andy Beal ’s other achievements

  • Self – made billionaire
  • The founder and chairman of Beal Bank and Beal Aerospace Technologies
  • Held a long series of ultra high-stakes up battles. These were then featured in the Michael Craig book ‘The Professor’, ‘The Banker’ and ‘The Suicide King’
  • Father of five kids

Andy Beal is a relative unknown to the media as compared to his counterpart celebrity billionaires, as he rarely grants interviews or makes public appearances. Still, he is recognized as the poker player who won more money in a poker game in a single day than any other known poker player. This was when he won $11.7 million from Chip Reese, Hamid Dastmalchi, Gus Hansen, and Jennifer Harman in 2004.

He has amassed his fortune through real estate and banking ventures and then hit the poker world too. He was an unknown Texas billionaire who turned up at the Bellagio, challenging anyone who would play him for any stakes imaginable. Despite his inexperience, Beal proved himself as he faced the pros in some of the highest-stakes poker games. He has been incredibly successful in a wide range of business ventures during his life, and definitely atop entrepreneurial mind of the late twentieth century.

Beal is an intriguing figure with incredible drive, aptitude for business and a willingness to match some of the greatest poker minds the game has ever known.