Blackjack Pro Reveals Secret To $15 Million Winning StreakMarch 15, 2012 4:38 pm
Over a six month period last year, Pennsylvania businessman Don Johnson won $15 million at Atlantic City’s blackjack tables including $6 million at the Tropicana, $5 million at the Borgata and a further $4 million from Caesars.
Atlantic City has seen a decline in its gambling revenue over the past three years and the 49 year-old’s winning streak was further bad news for the casinos, leading to the Tropicana’s monthly profits being decimated, and its CEO Mark Giannantonio being fired a week later. In addition, Caesars then effectively placed a ban on Mr Johnson from its premises worldwide.
Despite looking for a clue as to his incredible run, security cameras failed to detect signs of card counting and Tropicana’s subsequent CEO Tony Rodio conceeded the fact; “He plays perfect cards.”
This then makes Don Johnson one of the least prized high rollers a casino can attract, even for an industry which often relies on its ‘whales’ to balance its books in times of hardship. Usually a high roller can expect a casino to pull out all the stops and freebies to draw him to their tables, but when that player then develops a reputation for winning, the courtship often ends abruptly.
As Tropicana CEO Tony Rodio explains: “When someone makes all the right decisions, the house advantage is relatively small; maybe we will win, on average, one or two hands more than him for every hundred decisions. There are other blackjack players, or craps players, who don’t use perfect strategy, and with them there is a big swing in the house advantage. So there is more competition among casinos for players who aren’t as skilled.”
Unfortunately for the Tropicana, it found out just how skilled Johnson was too late, and had already negotiated an amazing set of enticements and discounts with him, which effectively allowed the blackjack pro to play a 50-50 game against the casino. Combined with a 20% discount on his losses on a visit by visit basis, Johnson was then able to forge ahead after hitting a winning streak, and as he explains:
“I was already ahead of the property. So my philosophy at that point was that I can afford to take an additional risk here, because I’m battling with their money, using their discount against them.”
Needless to say, since his $15 million winning run in Atlantic City most casinos won’t even deal to him, while any that do have a new modified set of terms on the discounts offered. In the meantime, Don Johnson says he is enjoying his reputation as the world’s most celebrated blackjack player.