Whilst casino games are based purely on chance – one of the great things about them is that you always have the potential to win real money. Whilst there is always a risk, and you should only bet as much as you can afford to lose, there are a handful of people who have taken this risk and seen it pay off.
Join us as we take a look at some of the biggest wins in the history of one of the most popular casino classics – Blackjack…
The MIT Blackjack Team – $50-$100 million
Made up of students from MIT, Harvard and various other institutions, this team researched and analysed the game of Blackjack, using mathematical strategies such as card counting to win at Blackjack. The team operated for many years, consisting of around 80 members. It was led by Bill Kaplan, who visited many casinos with his teams – winning more than an estimated $50 million.
Despite the game evolving so that many of their strategies would no longer work, and the fact that the team went their separate ways in the early 2000s, the group’s success still inspired the film 21, which is inspired by the novel based on them – Bringing Down The House.
Kerry Packer – $40 million
1991 saw Australian businessman Kerry Packer single-handedly bag $7 million whilst playing Blackjack. However, it’s not this win that gets him on our list – no, it’s the fact that Packer went on to win $40 million in less than an hour at the Las Vegas MGM Grand.
To bag a win of this size, though, Packer played eight hands in one go, betting a whopping $250,000 on each hand!
Don Johnson – $15.1 million
Don Johnson won an incredible $15.1 million whilst playing Blackjack, although this wasn’t all in one go. It might’ve taken the course of five months, starting in December 2010, but as CEO of Heritage Development, Johnson leisurely placed large bets, taking every chance he could to spilt every high hand into four and double his bets.
Despite his big earnings, though, Johnson did also manage to earn himself a ban from playing Blackjack at his favourite casino.
Shoeless Joe – $1.5 million
The tale of an unknown man given the nickname “Shoeless Joe” is one that just had to make it onto our list.
Back in 1995, Joe, who had just been made homeless after being kicked out by his wife, walked into a casino barefoot. He had nothing but a $300 security check, which he wagered on a game of Blackjack.
Somehow, his clumsy playing style and recklessness managed to win him $1.5 million in a single day. But this recklessness also saw him losing most of his winnings shortly after.
These big winners might have had Lady Luck or, in the MIT team’s case, geniuses on their side, they each managed to cross the million-dollar mark whilst playing Blackjack. So, out of the many millions of players who try their chances at beating the dealer to 21 every day, do you think you’ll be making it into the Blackjack history books anytime soon?