πŸ€‘ The Man Who Broke Atlantic City - The Atlantic

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HOME / Big Casino Wins - Successful Gambling Stories / Don Johnson: The Real Life No, he won this money from playing blackjack in Atlantic City casinos.


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Don Johnson made waves for winning $15M at Blackjack without Counting Cards. How Don Johnson took several Atlantic City casinos for millions WITHOUT.


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Every casino enthusiast knows the name, Don Johnson – the Atlantic City legend that won millions of dollars playing blackjack. His story is an.


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Don Johnson reveals how it wasn't just luck that helped him win $15 million. By. ALAN FARNHAM and SUSANNA KIM. March 21, , 3.


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Don Johnson made history when he won $ million, the largest sum ever won in consecutive wins Three Atlantic City casinos, in a period.


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On a happier note, Don Johnson is one whale who bucked the losers trend. He managed to win nearly $15 million from The Tropicana Casino.


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HOME / Big Casino Wins - Successful Gambling Stories / Don Johnson: The Real Life No, he won this money from playing blackjack in Atlantic City casinos.


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HOME / Big Casino Wins - Successful Gambling Stories / Don Johnson: The Real Life No, he won this money from playing blackjack in Atlantic City casinos.


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Every casino enthusiast knows the name, Don Johnson – the Atlantic City legend that won millions of dollars playing blackjack. His story is an.


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Don Johnson made history when he won $ million, the largest sum ever won in consecutive wins Three Atlantic City casinos, in a period.


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don johnson casino winner

Whenever the racily clad cocktail waitress wandered in with a fresh whiskey and Diet Coke, he took it from the tray. 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. They negotiate. How did he do it? But the vast majority of players lose, and the longer they play, the more they lose. The basics of blackjack are simple. But even though he has been around the gambling industry for all of his 49 years, Johnson snuck up on Atlantic City. More useful, for his purposes, is running a smaller number of hands and paying attention to variation. 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. It seemed a fantasy come true, the very dream that draws suckers to the gaming tables. The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature skyline. By late , the discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent. When this happened to Johnson, he knew the ground rules had skewed against him. He had been trying to figure out its blackjack game for years but had never been able to win big. The industry pays close attention to high-level players; once a player earns a reputation for winning, the courtship ends. Johnson was in charge of day-to-day operations, including the betting operation. He stood 6 foot 1 and weighed only pounds. He is a veteran player. 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. Two cards are placed faceup before the player, and two more cards, one down, one up, before the dealer. The regimen was so demanding that he eventually had to give it up. As good as he is at playing cards, he turns out to be even better at playing the casinos. 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:. High rollers are lured with free meals and drinks, free luxury suites, free rides on private jets, and … more. The last thing a skilled player wants is a big reputation. 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. Arrayed on the table before him were the four eights. 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. A session of, say, hands will display wider swings, with steeper winning and losing streaks, than the standard casino charts. So it was no longer worth his while to play there.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} In his best years as a professional jockey, he was practically skeletal. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}D on Johnson finds it hard to remember the exact cards. As another skyscraper of chips was pushed into his skyline, he signaled for the next hand. For one thing, he is an extraordinarily skilled blackjack player. Fifteen million dollars in winnings from three different casinos? The way averages work, the larger the sample, the narrower the range of variation. The first and most obvious suspicion was card counting. The tactic requires both great memory and superior math skills. But the story was even bigger than that. The goal is to get to 21, or as close to it as possible without going over. A tlantic City did know who Johnson was. D espite his pedestrian attire , Don Johnson is no average Joe. About a decade ago, he founded a business that does computer-assisted wagering on horses. What gives Johnson his edge is his knowledge of the gaming industry. 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. Nobody gets that lucky. But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate. But he was not considered good enough to discourage or avoid. He started to learn a lot about gambling. When his second hand was dealt a two, he doubled down on that, too. Johnson says he was once dealt six consecutive aces at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. For most people, though, the newspaper headline told a happy story. He was neither nervous nor excited. In most states but not New Jersey , known practitioners are banned. With their table-game revenues tanking and the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders. He was the only Atlantic City casino executive who agreed to talk to me about Johnson. 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. For the casino, the art is in telling the skilled whales from the unskilled ones, then discouraging the former and seducing the latter. An ordinary guy in a red cap and black hoodie had struck it rich, had beaten the casinos black-and-blue. 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. The wagering of card counters assumes a clearly recognizable pattern over time, and Johnson was being watched very carefully. It hurt. The marketers present casinos as glamorous playgrounds where workaday worries and things like morality, sobriety, and prudence are on holiday. Who could? You play against the house. Hard times do not favor the house. Word spreads when the betting is that big. By April, combined monthly gaming revenue had been declining on a year-over-year basis for 32 months. It was a growth industry. Many casinos sell laminated charts in their guest shops that reveal the optimal strategy for any situation the game presents. 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. When revenues slump, casinos must rely more heavily on their most prized customers, the high rollers who wager huge amountsβ€”tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a hand. He was just getting started. Johnson had not played a game at the Borgata in more than a year. He does not just walk into a casino and start playing, which is what roughly 99 percent of customers do. Pennsylvania is likely to supplant New Jersey this year as the second-largest gaming state in the nation. The player still loses. All of these gambling houses were already hurting, what with the spread of legalized gambling in surrounding states. For Johnson, the game began before he ever set foot in the casino. When casinos started getting desperate, Johnson was perfectly poised to take advantage of them. He has served as a state regulator in Oregon, Idaho, Texas, and Wyoming. Almost everyone knows them. 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. Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit. Caesars had cut him off, he says, and then effectively banned him from its casinos worldwide. 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. The way any discount works, you have to lose a certain amount to capitalize on it. To look at him, over six feet tall and thickly built, you would never guess that he was once a jockey. Made famous in books and movies, card counting is considered cheating, at least by casinos. Johnson won all four hands. Little interferes with his concentration. Compared with horse racing, the odds in blackjack are fairly straightforward to calculate. He had beaten the casinos fair and square. Some wear disguises when they play. Johnson was on an amazing streak.