Biggest Blackjack Wins in History
The famous card game known as blackjack has rocked the gambling world for centuries. Surely, people have lost a lot over it, but there were a lot of lucky winners over the years as well. The reality of it all is that probably some of the biggest wins haven’t been made public and will forever remain a secret between the player and the dealer, especially big wins from previous decades when there was no internet, no smartphones and no ever present media.
But just for fun, what are the biggest wins known in blackjack and who were the lucky players? Here are the top five.
No.5: Shoeless Joe
We have a mysterious case of a winner whose identity was never revealed. As is turns out, it was an elderly man known as the Blackjack bum or Shoeless Joe (not related to Chicago White Sox player). He was believed to be kicked out of the house by his wife and was evidently not taking care of his personal hygiene for a while.
He came into the Treasure Island casino in 1995, without any shoes on his feet, and sat at a blackjack table after cashing in his $400 social security check. The man was ignorant to basic blackjack strategy, splitting 10s and doubling down on hard 12s and hard 13s, but that week he managed to win around $1.5 million. However, it must have triggered his unpleasant side, as he became aggressively annoying, which gave casino management reason to rejoice when he finally lost and was thrown out of the casino.
No.4: Ken Uston
Blackjack Hall of Fame member Ken Uston was a complete opposite from our previous winner. Relyig on Edward Thorp’s Beat the Dealer book, he based his play on strategy, rather than pure luck, mastered the mathematical elements of the game and applied them on team play.
He is referred as the creator of blackjack card counting teams, early predecessor of the notorious MIT team.
Between 1975 and 1981, Ken Uston and his team of card counters accumulated winnings resulting in a sum worth more than $4.5 million, running the impressive streak across multiple tables and numerous casino venues across the United States. Check our Blackjack History Infographics for more info.
No.3: Kerry Packer
Our next contestant is the famous Aussie millionaire Kerry Packer. He was a media magnate, with a reputation of a passionate gambler – and was always considered one of the highest rollers in casinos worldwide. In 1991 he was sitting at a public blackjack table of the Las Vegas Hilton casino. It didn’t take him much to win $7 million for that one night. Apparently, the Hilton had a special private room made for him after that. When he came back the next year, he reportedly gave back $10 million to the casino, but he probably didn’t regret the loss all that much.
No.2: Don Johnson
One of the wins that set on fire the gambling world was certainly Don Johnson’s accomplishment in 2011. No, we are not talking about the famous ‘Nash Bridges’ Don Johnson, but it was also a pretty resourceful man, a CEO of Heritage Development LLC company. He had an unbelievable winning streak from December 2010 to April 2011, earning a total of $15.1 million playing in several major Atlantic City casinos.
The successful blackjack player first won $4.23 million at Caesars Atlantic City, then $998,000 at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa the same month. After a while, his luck struck again, big time. He won $1.8 million at Borgata again, and in two nights another $2.25 million. And lastly, he won $5.8 million at Tropicana Casino.
As he claims, he didn’t count cards apply any other technique. He simply took advantage of every favorable house rule there is, and won more as he played more. According to some interviews, he managed to negotiate a certain discount on his loses in order to keep playing, and it certainly paid off.
No.1: Kerry Packer
It’s not a mistake. We simply have to mention Kerry Packer once again. Not just because we want to, but because the man has had an extraordinary gambling career.
After becoming a regular at Las Vegas whenever he had time off or was on holiday, he came back for another round in 1995. Packer was reported to have played up to 8 hands simultaneously at multiple blackjack tables at Las Vegas MGM Grand this time. He placed bets of $250,000 per hand, and 20 times in a row there were only winning hands for him.
Within 40 minutes he finished his blackjack session cashing out $20 million. Allegedly, he renounced $1 million in favor of the dealers, leaving it behind as a tip!
The world of blackjack is truly inspirational, wouldn’t you say?