The surprising way one mogul found out he was a billionaire

The surprising way one mogul found out he was a billionaire

Sometimes you're so busy making your billion, you don't realize you've made it. At least that was the case for Tilman Fertitta, the restaurant and hospitality mogul behind Landry's, Golden Nugget casinos and others.

Someone else told him.

"I think I realized it when Forbes called me and said, 'We've got you calculated at being worth like $1.3 billion. Can you verify certain things for us?' And I went and got the last personal financial statement that I had done for a bank, and you looked at it, and you looked at the multiples they were using, and all of a sudden you say 'Gosh, they're right.' They had a better handle on it than I did, " Fertitta said.

Tilman Fertitta
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

The Texan first made the coveted billionaire list in 2012. Today, he's worth an estimated $3.2 billion.

The moment was like the instant a baseball player realized he'd hit a home run.

"That was probably one of my better feel-goods in life," he said. "I'm not an athlete, so you don't get to score how many touchdowns or how many yards I ran or how many home runs I hit or what my batting average is. How are you measured in business? By net worth."

Fertitta is no stranger to success, but when he got that call he was truly surprised.

"Did I ever think that I would truly be on it? No," he said. "It kind of told me, 'Gosh maybe you really have made it in the field that you wanted to be successful at.'"

That might be a bit of an understatement.

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