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5 Biggest Blackjack Wins Of All Time (Reported)

Oct 24, 2018

Blackjack is the hallmark casino game of all time, and interestingly, its origins are unclear as it appears in both French and Spanish historic records, with some claiming it to have originated in Roman times already as a wooden block game.

Termed “21” in France and “31” in Spain, it was still referred to as “21” when becoming popular in Nevada in 1931. At the time, casinos offered a special bet: a hand with either black jacks (spades or clubs) and the Ace of spades would give 10-to-1 odds on the player’s bet. Even after this was phased out, the name “Blackjack” stuck to the game.

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Biggest Blackjack Wins – In Recorded History

5.) First we our only unnamed winner - known only as “Shoeless Joe”. An elderly man of questionable personal hygiene habits, Shoeless Joe arrived at the Treasure Island Casino in 1995 and played his $400 social security check for an entire week. Entirely ignorant of basic game strategy he managed to win $1.5 million.

4.) Our second noteworthy winner is the legendary Ken Uston. Using the techniques described in Edward Thorp’s book, “Beat the Dealer” he used strategy and mathematics to beat the house.

Known as the inventor of blackjack card counting, he inspired the likes of the MIT team who ruled casinos in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The “Bringing down the House” movie starring Kevin Spacey is a great representation of this time when gangs of college students would use his methodology to “bring down the house” amassing huge winnings. Over $100 million is estimated to have been won in this way by the 1990’s.

Ken himself won more than $4.5 million between 1975 and 1981 across various venues in the USA over that period.

 

Does It Take Billions To Win Millions?

3.) One of the most phenomenal gamblers of all time is surely Kerry Packer, the Australian media magnate. In 1991 at the Hilton Casino in Las Vegas, Packer won $7 million in a single night! The following year he returned to the same casino and allegedly gave back $10 million in previous winnings.

2.) Second most impressive known blackjack winner is Don Johnson, CEO of Heritage Development LLC who set his amazing accomplishments in a winning streak period spanning December 2010 to April 2011 at several Atlantic City casinos. In this short period he amassed winnings of no less than $15.1 million! Johnson claims not to have had any special technique, but won by simply playing by house rules.

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The Biggest Blackjack Winner of All Time (Recorded History!)

1.) Finally… and you’re not going to believe this, but we have Kerry Packer, the Aussie yet again! Packer was a regular Las Vegas visitor and in 1995 at MGM Grand he placed bets of up to $250 000 per hand and yielded wins up to 20 times in succession. After a measly 40 minutes, he cashed $20 million leaving behind 1 million as a tip for the dealers.

There seem to be two very different kinds winners: those who are methodical and mathematical in their approach like the legendary Ken Uston, and the notorious MIT gang who emulated his methodology, and then the wildly eccentric characters who play and win on passion alone. Given that the game has such a long history, we can only reference known winners in recent years. What a fascinating story it would be if we had knowledge of winners of the past as well.

So whatever your approach, Blackjack remains a game for every kind of player.

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Image Credit: Michał Parzuchowski

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