Berman grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Minnesota where he was graduated in 1964 with a degree in business administration. He then went to work for his father's leather business, Berman Buckskin. When the business was sold to W. R. Grace in 1979, he stayed on as president and CEO. The company was then later sold to the Melville Corporation where it became Wilsons Leather. From 1994 to 2000 he was the chairman and CEO of the Rainforest Cafe chain of restaurants and retail stores.
Berman also played an important role in gaming companies. In 1990 he was a co-founder of Grand Casinos Inc., a company that sought to create gambling establishments outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Grand Casinos' Native American casino holdings were spun off into a new company, Lakes Entertainment, and Berman was named CEO. Additionally, Berman is the chairman of the board of the World Poker Tour and Pokertek.
He won the B'nai B'rithGreat American Traditions award in 1995 and the Gaming Executive of the Year award in 1996.
Although he prefers high-stakes cash games, he has as of 2009 won over $2,500,000 in live poker tournaments. His 16 cashes at the WSOP account for $1,446,317 of those winnings. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2002.