Blackjack is a card game that has reached an insane level of popularity in our country. Many men and women spend hours at casinos in search of the big score they are sure their efforts a the blackjack table will one day yield. Unfortunately for most that big score is only a thing of legend. But for the lucky few, a night at the blackjack table can be a life-altering experience.
Often times, a big win at the blackjack table is a secret shared by only the winner and the dealer that was present. But there are more than enough big scores released for public consumption to keep regular blackjack players firmly convinced that their day will soon come.
Here are the top five biggest blackjack wins that were made known to the public.
5th Biggest Winner: Shoeless Joe
The story of the fifth biggest blackjack winnings is a tale containing equal bits mystery and oddity. The player in question was an older gentleman sometimes referred to as the Blackjack Bum or Shoeless Joe. Legend suggests that Shoeless Joe had recently been thrown out of the house by his wife and found it a struggle to manage hygiene and personal needs issues.
Shoeless Joe entered the Treasure Island Casino in 1995 barefoot and armed with $400 he had received from cashing in his social security check. He possessed no knowledge of blackjack strategy and made the type of beginner mistakes that should have guaranteed his losing all the money he was willing to play. But as fate would have it, a week’s play gained Shoeless Joe a $1.5 million windfall. Apparently, the riches caused the annoying side of Shoeless Joe to surface and management was extremely happy when newly minted millionaire lost it all back and was escorted from the casino.
4th Biggest Winner: Ken Uston
Ken Uston is the exact opposite of our last winner. Uston, a hall of fame poker player, based his play on advanced strategy. Uston earned for himself the dubious distinction of being considered an ancestor to the MIT team with the creation of his own blackjack card counting team.
From 1975 to 1981, Ken Uston and his team traveled the country playing blackjack and amassed $4.5 million.
3rd Biggest Winner: Kerry Packer
Aussie millionaire Kerry Packer is the next big winner. Kerry Packer loved the media almost as much as he loved gambling and could be counted on to wager large on every hand of blackjack dealt to him. On a night in 1991, Packer went on a hot streak while playing at the Las Vegas Hilton casino. His winnings for the night were $7 million. It has been said that Packer returned to the casino a year later and lost $10 million.
2nd Biggest Winner: Don Johnson
Our second biggest winner was a successful man already. Don Johnson was CEO Heritage Development LLC. and loved a good game of blackjack. Johnson found the game to be all the more loveable when a stretch of play from December 2010 to April 2011 at several Atlantic City casinos increased his net worth by $15.1 million.
No.1 All-Time Biggest Blackjack Winner: Kerry Packer
First two questions to answer: No it’s not a mistake. Yes, the man did it twice.
Kerry Packer visited a Las Vegas casino in 1995. Eyewitness accounts report seeing Packer play as many as 8 hands at a time for $250,000 a hand. The fish gets bigger here. It is also said that for twenty straight deals Kerry Packer only had winning hands.
Kerry Packer’s winnings totaled $20 million in 40 minutes of blackjack play. In a gesture of extreme generosity. Packer tipped dealers a cool $1 million.