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Farming Family To Billionaire Gambler and Developer

Have you ever heard of Calvin Ayre? Unless you collect Forbes magazine or plan on buying property in Antigua, this is probably a new name for you.

Calvin is in Antigua, chatting about a real estate investment.

Here are some things we’ve discovered about Calvin Ayre:

  • He can do tricks on a wakeboard at 62 (his Twitter/X page is full of videos).
  • In 1994, he sold everything and put the money into a business (Bodog Poker), a popular real money room.
  • One of his companies once lost over $49 million in a trademark lawsuit.
  • His venture, the Ayre Group, holds a majority stake in a blockchain called nChain.
  • He spends his days worldwide in Corsica, Sardinia, and Miami. Preferably, somewhere, a boat can drag him through the water.
  • He’s involved in luxury real estate developments in Antigua.

Let’s See Where Calvin Ayre Got Started

Calvin Edward Ayre was a son of humble grain and pig farmers, but he went from rural Canada to one of the internet’s first billionaires and founder of the Bodog Poker group.

Calvin grew up in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, an awkwardly placed Canadian city, half in Saskatchewan and half in Alberta. For whatever reason, the young Mr Ayre didn’t stick around and graduated high school 11 hours away in Salmon Arm, British Columbia.

His first business wasn’t tech-based, but it was tasty. Fresh out of high school, Calvin would run fruit from the BC orchards up north, where he could charge a premium price. He probably drove a Toyota pick-up truck or Chevrolet van at the time, not knowing he’d be lounging on yachts in Miami one day.

Whether the business became fruitless for Calvin, or he wanted to branch off into new fields; we may never know – but he turned to university at some point.


Calvin picked up a Bachelor of Science in Ontario and then an MBA in Seattle while getting wiser and more savvy.

Calvin Starts a Poker Room, Casino, Record Label, and More

Things moved quickly for Calvin Ayre once he started in the software industry. At first, his company was just a support firm for entertainment software, but bigger things were coming.

He licensed his software and services to several online casinos, which was fantastic but not the kind of success that would get him on Forbes magazine.

Like Tony in Scarface, Calvin didn’t take long to realize he could start his gaming operation. He was already doing part of the job anyway.

Calvin got his gambling license in 1996, and the Bodog Poker website was set up in 2000. The brand became multi-faceted, with casino games, sports betting, and record label services. Bodog went as far as including reality TV and mixed-martial arts events in their arsenal.

On top of that, there was Bodog Nation, an online magazine, and Bodog Beat, a blog site.

Bodog wanted to deliver it to fans as long as it drew crowds or attention. In the past, they were known for glitzy live events with celebrities and a branding campaign that showed the high life.

Despite a $49 million loss over a trademark dispute, Bodog remains a major player in the online poker world.

What is Calvin Ayre Up to Now?

If you live near the ocean, somewhere tropical like Fiji or Hawaii, you might see Calvin someday.

He might be over 60, but he can still get 60 inches of air on his wakeboard.



Today, Bodog Poker is still one of the best places to play online tournaments or good old cash games. Although Calvin Ayre isn’t directly associated anymore, he licenses the Bodog rights and probably collects a reasonable fee. He’s currently heavily focused on crypto, as anyone will see from his X page (formerly Twitter).

Calvin is very involved in the crypto space, most notably nChain, which is listed as a half-a-billion-dollar investment on the Ayre Group website.

Ayre Venture also claims to be the “largest utility blockchain-focused venture capital firm”, which is quite an achievement for Calvin on top of building the Bodog brand.