As a casino game with relatively simple rules, blackjack has attracted all kinds of gamblers. The fast-paced nature of the game and a low house edge have made blackjack one of the most popular table games. Over the years, there have certainly been many massive winnings that have gone unrecorded since the technology did not allow it. However, a few remarkable ones have been duly noted. Here is a list of the ten biggest blackjack wins that will undoubtedly prompt you to visit a casino and play the game yourself.
- Kerry Packer
The Australian millionaire was a well-known gambler, who achieved great success and suffered significant losses. However, he is best known as a blackjack player who managed to win millions during two sessions back in the ’90s.
The first success took place in Las Vegas Hilton, in 1991. Then Packer won an incredible $7 million playing the staple table game. However, it did not take him long to lose the prize; when Packer returned to the same casino a year later, he managed to lose $10 million. This was not his only poor gambling decision. The tycoon had also managed to lose about £27.4 million on baccarat in less than 12 months.
Still, he was able to reach the first place on our list thanks to his success in 1995. This time, Packer was playing blackjack at Las Vegas MGM and, reportedly, with eight hands at once. He wagered $250,000 per hand and walked away with $20 million. Supposedly, Packer left a whole million as a tip to the dealers.
- Shoeless John Doe
Perhaps the unluckiest winner on our list is the nameless man who managed to both win and lose over a million dollars in blackjack. As the story goes, the gambler had no shoes on, and allegedly, his wife had just left him. Hoping to cheer himself up, John Doe decided to visit the Treasure Island Casino and cash in his $300 check.
His night turned around when he won an impressive $1.5 million. Apparently, the strategy involved went entirely against the typical blackjack tactics. The man was doubling his wagers when he should not have and splitting when no professional would recommend it. Still, the strategy was perfect… Until it was not. The (un)lucky player kept betting until he lost the entire prize. However, his win was legendary and definitely deserved a spot on this list.
- Ken Uston
Unlike the previous gambler, Ken Uston used his excellent mathematical skills and well-thought strategy to gain a vast amount of money. He followed the advice presented in Thorp’s book “Beat the Dealer.” The innovative gambler applied the mathematical elements of blackjack on team play and created card counting teams.
Uston’s analysis allowed him to win an incredible $4.5 million in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He and his team were banned in many casinos across Nevada, as his card-counting techniques became well-known. To prevent such massive winnings, gambling establishments have started promoting multi-hand blackjack.
Ultimately, Uston wrote a few books detailing his road to success, and he is considered to be one of the best-known gamblers in history of blackjack.
- MIT Team
Although they might not have won the most substantial sum of money, the MIT team’s effort is still among the most remarkable. After beginning their winning streak in 1979 and betting until the early twenty-first century, MIT team allegedly gained millions of dollars. Their most significant success was a single session resulting in more than $500,000.
The group’s founder and leader was Bill Kaplan, while the other team members often changed. The crucial aspect of MIT’s strategy was card counting, and casinos started implementing electronic shuffling to hinder their techniques. Some believe that the team is still operating, but the advanced technology would probably prevent any considerable success.
- Don Johnson
Unlike the MIT team, Don Johnson operated alone and managed to get what is most likely the biggest blackjack win ever. During several months in 2010 and 2011, this CEO of Heritage Development LLC gained more than $15 million playing blackjack.
The tycoon claims that he had not used any typical tactics, but he instead took advantage of the benefits casinos offer. He negotiated the best possible rules for himself with three different casinos, which had the lowest house edge. Johnson would split a good hand into four, he would double wagers as he pleased, and he looked for dealers who stopped drawing cards at 17. The casinos also offered him 20% cashback instead of the usual 10%, allowing him to make larger wagers and receive back significant amounts even if he lost.
Casino staff was never able to prove that the gambler was breaking the rules. However, as Johnson claims, he is now no longer welcome at many establishments in Atlantic City and Las Vegas.
- Dana White
The president of the UFC has a few millions of dollars and a few bans under his belt. It was Palms Casino that prohibited White from betting at their establishment after he won a massive amount of money. White’s specialty was blackjack, the very reason for his long dispute with the Las Vegas casino. He received a ban for the first time in 2012 but managed to return in 2014, when a new CEO came.
However, White did not waste time before he started winning big again. Over the course of three months, he won an incredible $2 million on blackjack. In turn, he was not allowed to come back to Palms. Still, White had no regrets. He walked out of the establishment with a massive win and a fake UFC belt that proclaimed him the undisputed champion of blackjack.
- Michael Geismar
On the day of his win, Michael Geismar did not plan to play blackjack, and much less earn $470,000. However, that is precisely what happened in the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas to the head of Quantitative Investment Management. Geismar was having his breakfast when he decided to entertain himself with a game of blackjack. He started with a $300 wager, and ultimately, reached nearly half a million.
He did not follow any prudent strategies and raised his bets after each win. On the other hand, Geismar kept the wagers the same after poor outcomes, which should not have resulted in success. However, he defied the odds and left the casino with a big blackjack win, making his morning an unforgettable one.
- Goksel Selay
Back in 2015, a taxi driver had a dream, which led him to one of the most significant blackjack wins. The 53-year-old claimed that the night before the win, he got a sign to play blackjack, which he decided to do. He did not use any tactics and still managed to win $132,000 in a single session. According to Selay, he spent money on home renovation and a new car for his wife.
- Ben Affleck
The famous actor has had a lot of success playing gambling games, and blackjack was his top choice. Over the years, Affleck has accumulated more than $800,000 and left another $145,000 in tips for dealers. Unfortunately for the actor, Hard Rock Casino banned him after the staff caught him counting cards. As Affleck stated, he has been practicing blackjack for a while and hoped to play like a professional. However, the casino no longer allows him to bet on this table game, so the actor has turned to sports wagering.
- Shane Smith
Finally, we have to mention the CEO of Vice, Shane Smith. This gambler is perhaps best known for the lavish dinner he had after his blackjack win.
Smith was in Las Vegas, attending the Consumer Electronics Show, when he decided to check out a casino. The CEO chose blackjack and, soon enough, won an incredible $100,000. This amount is undoubtedly a sizeable one, but Smith’s next spending is the reason people still remember the event.
After receiving personal congratulations from the CEO of MGM Resort, Smith has decided to celebrate the win with an epic dinner. The experience at the Prime Steakhouse came with a $300,000 bill and ensured that no one would forget Smith’s incredible blackjack win.