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Monday, 17 September 2012

Meet The Modern Day Robin Hood

He calls himself Robin Hood and has vowed to take from the rich to give to the poor.

But this modern-day version of the legendary outlaw doesn't roam Sherwood Forest - he strikes at the casinos of glittering Las Vegas.

The mysterious cardsharp uses his skills as a professional gambler to 'rob' the casinos and give his winnings to hard-up families

Along with his 'Maid Marian' - a stunning Brazilian model who calls herself Lady Greice - Robin, who insists on maintaining his anonymity, has set up a website inviting people to send in their hard-luck stories and apply for up to £30,000.

Since embarking on his mission, he has given away more than £600,000 to deserving families.

This includes £20,000 he won for the Kegler family, who were in debt after paying for vital drugs to treat their toddler daughter's brain tumour.

Now in his 40s, Robin said he decided it was time to help out others who lead a less fortunate life than his.

'Most people can only dream the sort of lifestyle I have: Jets to fly me to casinos, staying in 8,000sq floor penthouse apartments, so I wanted to give them a taste of what it is like,' he said.

'It would be easier just to hand them money but by using my skills as a blackjack player it means that I have earned the money by doing my job.

'I always loved the film Robin Hood, particularly the original with Errol Flynn. I think Russell Crowe is great as Robin. I loved the film.

'I thought if Robin could do that all those years ago I could do something similar in Vegas. I called myself Robin Hood 702. The 702 is the postcode for Las Vegas.'

Even the casinos are not sure which of their 'high rollers' - someone prepared to lose up to hundreds of thousands a night - is Robin, who will only admit to being from the East Coast of America and has gambled professionally since the age of 16.

He said he was so touched by the Keglers' story, he paid for the family to fly to Vegas where he put them up in a five-star hotel.

He then got to work on the blackjack table using his own money - initially losing more than £200,000 before securing the Keglers' cash.

Robin said: 'I could have walked away from the table and just given the Keglers the money, but I had promised them that I would get their money from winning at the casino.

'As soon as I got their money I walked away from the table even though I was down on the night.

'Just seeing their faces and knowing that they were no longer going to be in debt was worth it.

'After leaving them I went back to my room and just cried. It was so satisfying knowing that I have helped someone, and perhaps changed their lives.'

Robin's generosity has become part of Vegas folklore, and months after their visit to 'Sin Ciy', Megan and Kurt Kegler still cannot believe his kindness.

Kurt, 48, said: 'It was just mind blowing. He brought us to Vegas and we were ferried round in a Rolls-Royce.

'It was just another world and we waited in the hotel room and Robin just walked in with all these chips.

'Robbing from the rich, giving to the poor': Robin Hood, played here by Errol Flynn, was the mystery gambler's inspiration

'You hear so much about bad people these days, but he is really one of the good guys.'

Before becoming a full-time gambler, Robin worked in a series of jobs, serving in shops and at a petrol station.

He knew at 16 that he wanted to make money and said there were two ways - gambling or selling drugs.

'I didn't want to go to jail and so chose gambling,' he said.

Robin said he knew he had 'made it' as a gambler several years ago when he met British boxer Lennox Lewis in Vegas.

He invited the former world champion up to his penthouse suite at Caesars Palace Hotel.

'Lennox walked into my room, took out his camera and began taking photos he was so blown away,' he said.

'It was then I realised I was living a life that few people get to experience. When you have a world boxing champion who is impressed with your hotel room then you know you're in the big time.'

Robin is also trying to persuade some billionaire friends to join him in giving back to those less fortunate.

'I call them my Merry Men. There is a New York billionaire Stewart Rahr who has said he wants to join in what I'm doing.'

Hollywood producers are also interested in telling his story and there is a possibility of a reality show based around his good deeds.

'People who have got money should spread it around to those less fortunate,' he said.

'That was the ideal of Robin Hood and what he did all those hundreds of years ago we can do today.'