There are many big winners when it comes to blackjack. As one of the easiest card games to learn, most of us have had a punt of two on it in our time. Some people have gone to be exceedingly lucky on, or incredibly good at blackjack and have won more than we could ever dream of. You can Google any list of big blackjack wins, but some are more important than others. Here’s our top three list of the more famous and biggest wins from playing blackjack.
MIT goes on a spree
Did you know that MIT went on a spree? 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. From 1979 until the early years of the twenty-first century, a team of MIT friends and other colleagues continually popped down to the casinos to use their own card counting techniques, and other complex strategies. Led my Bill Kaplan, several MIT blackjack teams managed to trounce the casinos throughout the early 80s, and 90s. It got so bad that Kaplan was trailed by casino staff, eager to find out who his latest team members were. The guys scooped together millions of dollars in their time, and are hugely famous for their exploits. The casinos even introduced electronic card shuffling as a way to stop their card counting techniques. Although they are largely considered to have disbanded today, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of them are still up to their old tricks.
The MIT teams may have won millions of dollars over several decades, but Don Johnson trumped all of them, and he was on his own during a six-month period. Johnson started in 2011, and he didn’t count cards. Instead, this very clever man negotiated his own special rules with the casinos he visited. His technique which saw him able to get an edge in the game. Casinos with good house rules, optimal numbers of decks at the blackjack tables, and casinos which allowed him to split any favourable hand into four separate hands. He also looked at dealers that stopped drawing at 17, and doubled his bets whenever he could. There were many ins and outs to Don Johnson’s technique, but there can be no denying that his brilliant strategy is the best of all time, since it saw Johnson take home $15 million. Although they were unable to prove he was up to something, Don Johnson claims he is no longer welcome in many of the top casinos in Las Vegas, or Atlantic City. No doubt the casinos he visited won’t be allowing other players to make special rule changes anymore.
The shoeless man
One big winner had a rather luckless life. A man who’d been dumped by his wife for his personal hygiene walked into a casino in 1995 with no shoes. The Shoeless Man (as he was known) then proceeded to cash in a $300 social security check, and play blackjack. The Treasure Island casino thought nothing of it, until he managed to scoop a vast fortune ($1.5m). The amazing thing about this unidentified big winner is that he completely disregarded common blackjack strategy, doubling when he shouldn’t, and splitting when he shouldn’t. Instead of quitting when he was ahead, this big winner became a big loser, when he lost the lot by staying on. He may not have a name, but his win is legendary, and is still talked about today.