🍒 Don Johnson Blackjack - How He Won $15M Without Card Counting

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Johnson's blackjack winnings include more than $15 million at three Atlantic City casinos in By John Katsilometes. Monday, Aug. 19, |.


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That's because he didn't just play skill games like blackjack and On a happier note, Don Johnson is one whale who bucked the losers trend.


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Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-​handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City's Tropicana.


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Don Johnson singlehandedly ruined the Tropicana's April revenue through blackjack; he'd already won $9 million at two other casinos. He is now banned.


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Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-​handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City's Tropicana casino. Not long.


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Johnson's blackjack winnings include more than $15 million at three Atlantic City casinos in By John Katsilometes. Monday, Aug. 19, |.


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Johnson's blackjack winnings include more than $15 million at three Atlantic City casinos in By John Katsilometes. Monday, Aug. 19, |.


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Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-​handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City's Tropicana casino. Not long.


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Johnson's blackjack winnings include more than $15 million at three Atlantic City casinos in By John Katsilometes. Monday, Aug. 19, |.


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Johnson's blackjack winnings include more than $15 million at three Atlantic City casinos in By John Katsilometes. Monday, Aug. 19, |.


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The wagering of card counters assumes a clearly recognizable pattern over time, and Johnson was being watched very carefully. Two cards are placed faceup before the player, and two more cards, one down, one up, before the dealer. What gives Johnson his edge is his knowledge of the gaming industry. When casinos started getting desperate, Johnson was perfectly poised to take advantage of them. The software his company employs analyzes more data than an ordinary handicapper will see in a thousand lifetimes, and defines risk to a degree that was impossible just five years ago. It seemed a fantasy come true, the very dream that draws suckers to the gaming tables. He does not just walk into a casino and start playing, which is what roughly 99 percent of customers do. The last thing a skilled player wants is a big reputation. Johnson had not played a game at the Borgata in more than a year. At the height of his hour blitz of the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, last April, he was playing a hand of blackjack nearly every minute. He worked with a physician to keep weight off, fighting his natural growth rate with thyroid medication that amped up his metabolism and subsisting on vitamin supplements. In most states but not New Jersey , known practitioners are banned. For one thing, he is an extraordinarily skilled blackjack player. The way averages work, the larger the sample, the narrower the range of variation. Johnson says he was once dealt six consecutive aces at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. Because the casino values high rollers more than the average customer, it is willing to lessen its edge for them. The new Parx racetrack and casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, a gigantic gambling complex, is less than 80 miles away from the Atlantic City boardwalk. All of these gambling houses were already hurting, what with the spread of legalized gambling in surrounding states. Johnson won all four hands. The basics of blackjack are simple. By April, combined monthly gaming revenue had been declining on a year-over-year basis for 32 months. Some wear disguises when they play. Whenever the racily clad cocktail waitress wandered in with a fresh whiskey and Diet Coke, he took it from the tray. He drew a 10, so the two cards he was showing totaled This was a good bet: since all face cards are worth 10, the deck holds more high cards than low. Fifteen million dollars in winnings from three different casinos? Many casinos sell laminated charts in their guest shops that reveal the optimal strategy for any situation the game presents. It was a growth industry. In his best years as a professional jockey, he was practically skeletal. When revenues slump, casinos must rely more heavily on their most prized customers, the high rollers who wager huge amounts—tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a hand. Made famous in books and movies, card counting is considered cheating, at least by casinos. He started to learn a lot about gambling.

D on Johnson finds it hard to remember the exact cards. But even though he has been around the gambling industry for all of his 49 years, Johnson snuck up on Atlantic City.

Hard times do not favor the house. A tlantic City did know who Johnson was. He had the money to wager big, he had the skill to win, and he did not have enough of a reputation for the casinos to be wary of him.

As good as he is at playing cards, he turns out to be even better at playing the casinos. For Johnson, the game began before he ever set foot in the casino. He had been trying to figure out its blackjack game understand blackjack win streak opinion years but had never don johnson blackjack reddit able to win big.

High rollers are lured with free meals and drinks, free luxury suites, free rides on private jets, and … more. The marketers present casinos don johnson blackjack reddit glamorous playgrounds where workaday don johnson blackjack reddit and things like morality, sobriety, and prudence are on holiday.

The industry pays close attention to high-level players; once a player earns a reputation for winning, the courtship ends. Beyond the usual high-roller perks, the casino might also sweeten the deal by staking the player a significant amount up front, offering thousands of dollars in free chips, just to get the ball rolling.

Nobody gets that lucky. The headline in The Press of Atlantic City was enough to gladden the heart of anyone who has ever made a wager or rooted for the underdog:. For most people, though, the newspaper headline told a happy story.

So it was no longer worth his while to play there.

Almost everyone knows them. Johnson was on an amazing streak. But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate. D espite his pedestrian attire , Don Johnson is no average Joe. But the vast majority of players lose, and the longer they play, the more they lose. Little interferes with his concentration. How did he do it? They negotiate. His body quickly assumed more normal proportions, and he went to work helping manage racetracks, a career that brought him to Philadelphia when he was about He was hired to manage Philadelphia Park, the track that evolved into the Parx casino, in Bensalem, where he lives today. The way any discount works, you have to lose a certain amount to capitalize on it. An ordinary guy in a red cap and black hoodie had struck it rich, had beaten the casinos black-and-blue. As another skyscraper of chips was pushed into his skyline, he signaled for the next hand. He has served as a state regulator in Oregon, Idaho, Texas, and Wyoming. Caesars had cut him off, he says, and then effectively banned him from its casinos worldwide. He was neither nervous nor excited. The goal is to get to 21, or as close to it as possible without going over. But the story was even bigger than that. More useful, for his purposes, is running a smaller number of hands and paying attention to variation. Scanning the cards on the table before him, the player can either stand or keep taking cards in an effort to approach His next two cards, surprisingly, were also both eights, so he split each again. He is a veteran player. For the casino, the art is in telling the skilled whales from the unskilled ones, then discouraging the former and seducing the latter. By late , the discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent. The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature skyline. With their table-game revenues tanking and the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders. Compared with horse racing, the odds in blackjack are fairly straightforward to calculate. When his second hand was dealt a two, he doubled down on that, too. He was just getting started. When this happened to Johnson, he knew the ground rules had skewed against him. Johnson was in charge of day-to-day operations, including the betting operation. Word spreads when the betting is that big. The player still loses. Pennsylvania is likely to supplant New Jersey this year as the second-largest gaming state in the nation. A session of, say, hands will display wider swings, with steeper winning and losing streaks, than the standard casino charts. Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit. He had beaten the casinos fair and square. He stood 6 foot 1 and weighed only pounds. But he was not considered good enough to discourage or avoid. To look at him, over six feet tall and thickly built, you would never guess that he was once a jockey. Card counters seek to gain a strong advantage by keeping a mental tally of every card dealt, and then adjusting the wager according to the value of the cards that remain in the deck. Arrayed on the table before him were the four eights. It hurt. You play against the house. The first and most obvious suspicion was card counting. The tactic requires both great memory and superior math skills. He was the only Atlantic City casino executive who agreed to talk to me about Johnson. When you add gaming tables or slots at a fancy new venue like Revel, or like the Borgata, which opened in , the novelty may initially draw crowds, but adding gaming supply without enlarging the number of customers ultimately hurts everyone. Who could? About a decade ago, he founded a business that does computer-assisted wagering on horses. The regimen was so demanding that he eventually had to give it up.