🍒 The Man Who Broke Atlantic City - The Atlantic

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They were the first real winners of blackjack by counting cards. Okay, they may not have the record for the most money won, but their story of legendarily famous.


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Don Johnson, high-rolling blackjack player who beat three casinos out of about His identity previously had been a mystery, known only to the casinos His huge wins capped a casino gambling career that started with him.


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Blackjack, formerly also Black Jack and Vingt-Un, is the American member of a global family of There is a popular myth that, when Vingt-Un ("Twenty-One") was introduced into the United States in the early s - other sources say during the If the dealer exceeds 21 ("busts") and the player does not; the player wins.


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From progressive jackpots to lucky bets, we unearth some of the biggest casino blackjack wins ever committed to felt. One of the most famous.


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They were the first real winners of blackjack by counting cards. Okay, they may not have the record for the most money won, but their story of legendarily famous.


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From progressive jackpots to lucky bets, we unearth some of the biggest casino blackjack wins ever committed to felt. One of the most famous.


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The biggest blackjack wins - Kerry Packer's 40M payout in 40 minutes While these are his famous winning streaks, life is a little fair as Packer.


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He was just getting started. With their table-game revenues tanking and the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders. What gives Johnson his edge is his knowledge of the gaming industry. Arrayed on the table before him were the four eights. He has served as a state regulator in Oregon, Idaho, Texas, and Wyoming. But the story was even bigger than that. Who could?

D on Johnson finds it hard to remember the exact cards. Johnson says he was once dealt six consecutive aces at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. He worked with a physician to keep weight off, fighting his natural growth rate article source thyroid medication that amped up his metabolism and subsisting on vitamin supplements.

For one thing, he is an extraordinarily skilled blackjack player. When revenues slump, casinos must rely more heavily on their most prized customers, the high rollers who wager huge amounts—tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a hand.

He does not just walk into a And macau blackjack table limits shall and start playing, which is what roughly 99 percent of customers do. He is a veteran player. When his second hand was dealt a two, he doubled down on that, too.

Two cards are placed faceup before the player, and two more cards, one down, one up, before the dealer. You play against the house. Compared with horse racing, the odds in blackjack are fairly straightforward to calculate. He stood 6 foot 1 and weighed only pounds. An ordinary guy in a red cap and black hoodie had struck it rich, had beaten the casinos black-and-blue.

In his best years as a professional jockey, he was practically skeletal. The marketers present casinos as glamorous playgrounds where workaday worries and things like morality, sobriety, and prudence are on holiday.

Some wear disguises when they play. Caesars had cut him off, he says, and then effectively banned him from its casinos worldwide. The basics of blackjack are simple.

A session of, say, hands will display wider swings, with steeper winning and losing streaks, than the standard casino charts. They negotiate. As good as he is at playing cards, he turns out to be even better at playing the casinos.

Whenever the racily clad cocktail waitress wandered in with a fresh whiskey and Diet Coke, he took it from the tray. Little famous blackjack winners with his concentration. It hurt. He started to learn a lot about gambling. He was neither nervous nor excited. As another skyscraper of chips was pushed into his skyline, he signaled for the next hand.

He drew a 10, so the two cards he was showing totaled This was a good bet: since all face cards are worth 10, the deck holds more high cards than low. But he was not considered good enough to discourage or avoid.

By April, combined monthly gaming revenue had been declining on a year-over-year basis for 32 famous blackjack winners. For the casino, the art is in telling the skilled whales from the unskilled ones, then discouraging the former and seducing the latter.

The software his company employs analyzes more data than an ordinary handicapper will see in a thousand lifetimes, and defines risk to a degree that was impossible just five years ago.

The regimen was so demanding that he eventually had to give it up. The first and most obvious suspicion was card counting. By latethe discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent.

But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate. The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature skyline.

The goal is to get to 21, or as close to it as possible without going over. When this happened to Johnson, he knew the ground rules had skewed against him. When casinos started getting desperate, Johnson was perfectly poised to take advantage of them. All of these gambling houses were already hurting, what with the spread of legalized gambling in surrounding states.

Many casinos sell laminated charts in famous blackjack winners guest shops that reveal the optimal strategy for any situation the game presents. Johnson was on an amazing streak.

Word spreads when the betting is that big. He had beaten the casinos fair and square. The new Parx racetrack and famous blackjack winners in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, a gigantic gambling complex, is less than 80 miles away from the Atlantic City boardwalk.

For most people, though, the newspaper headline told a happy story. The headline in The Press of Atlantic City was enough to famous blackjack winners the heart of anyone who has ever made a wager or rooted for the underdog:. The last thing a skilled player wants is a big reputation.

At the height of his hour blitz of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, he was playing a hand of blackjack nearly every minute.

The wagering of card counters assumes a clearly recognizable pattern over time, and Johnson was being watched very carefully.

He was the only Atlantic City casino executive who agreed to talk to me about Johnson. In most states but not New Jerseyknown practitioners are banned. But even though he has click to see more around the gambling industry for all of his 49 years, Johnson snuck up on Atlantic City.

About a decade ago, he founded a business that does computer-assisted wagering on horses. Scanning click to see more cards on the table before him, the player can either stand or keep famous blackjack winners cards in an effort to approach His next two cards, surprisingly, were also both eights, so he split each again.

Johnson had not played a game at the Borgata in more than a year. Beyond the usual high-roller perks, the casino might also sweeten the deal by staking the player a significant amount up front, offering thousands of dollars in free chips, just to get the ball rolling.

Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit. Made famous in books and movies, card counting is considered cheating, at least by casinos.

Fifteen million dollars in winnings from three different casinos? The way averages work, the larger the sample, the narrower the range of variation. The tactic requires both great memory and superior math skills.

The industry pays close attention to high-level players; once a player earns a reputation for winning, the courtship ends.

When you add gaming tables or slots at a fancy new venue like Revel, or like the Borgata, which opened inthe novelty may initially draw crowds, but adding gaming supply without enlarging the number of customers ultimately hurts everyone.

He had been trying to figure out its blackjack game for years but had never been able to win big. Hard times do not favor the house. The way any discount works, you have to lose a certain famous blackjack winners to capitalize on it. But the vast majority of players lose, and the longer they play, the more they lose.

Card counters seek to gain a strong advantage by keeping a mental tally of every card dealt, and then adjusting the wager according to the value of the cards that remain in the deck. Nobody gets that lucky. D espite his pedestrian attireDon Johnson is no average Joe. He had the money to wager big, he had the skill to win, and he did not have enough of a reputation for the casinos to be wary of him.

More useful, for his purposes, is running a smaller number of hands and paying attention to variation. Johnson was in charge of day-to-day operations, including the betting operation.

A tlantic City did know who Johnson was. It was a growth industry. High rollers are lured with free meals and drinks, free luxury suites, free rides on private read more, and … more.

It seemed a fantasy come true, the very dream that draws suckers to the gaming tables. Because the casino values high rollers more than the average customer, it is famous blackjack winners to lessen its edge for them. So it was no longer worth his while to play there.

Almost everyone knows them. Johnson won all four hands. How did he do it? His body quickly assumed more normal proportions, and he went to work helping manage racetracks, a career that brought him to Philadelphia when he was about He was hired to manage Philadelphia Park, the track that evolved into the Parx casino, in Bensalem, where he lives today. To look at him, over six feet tall and thickly built, you would never guess that he was once a jockey. For Johnson, the game began before he ever set foot in the casino. Pennsylvania is likely to supplant New Jersey this year as the second-largest gaming state in the nation. The player still loses.