πŸ’ The Man Who Broke Atlantic City - The Atlantic

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The best blackjack game in Atlantic City (in terms of odds) is at the Golden Nugget. It's a game played with a six-deck shoe, which gives the.


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Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, Scanning the cards on the table before him, the player can either stand or keep This was a good bet: since all face cards are worth 10, the deck holds.


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Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, Scanning the cards on the table before him, the player can either stand or keep This was a good bet: since all face cards are worth 10, the deck holds.


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Atlantic City Blackjack is a variant of the classic game with different rules to the Best Blackjack Casinos A few years later when the operation of brick-and​-mortar casinos was legalized in Atlantic City, the classic table also started.


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Don Johnson won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, Scanning the cards on the table before him, the player can either stand or keep This was a good bet: since all face cards are worth 10, the deck holds.


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The best blackjack game in Atlantic City (in terms of odds) is at the Golden Nugget. It's a game played with a six-deck shoe, which gives the.


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Atlantic City Blackjack is a variant of the classic game with different rules to the Best Blackjack Casinos A few years later when the operation of brick-and​-mortar casinos was legalized in Atlantic City, the classic table also started.


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A lower house advantage boosts your odds of making money. The typical Atlantic City blackjack table carries between a 1% and 2% house edge.


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Table minimums start at $ High limit games start at $50 per hand. Harrah's caters to high rollers, but offers many low bet blackjack tables. Games are played​.


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It was a growth industry. Arrayed on the table before him were the four eights. 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. He was the only Atlantic City casino executive who agreed to talk to me about Johnson. How did he do it? The industry pays close attention to high-level players; once a player earns a reputation for winning, the courtship ends. High rollers are lured with free meals and drinks, free luxury suites, free rides on private jets, and … more. 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. Word spreads when the betting is that big. 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:. 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. An ordinary guy in a red cap and black hoodie had struck it rich, had beaten the casinos black-and-blue. Almost everyone knows them. But he was not considered good enough to discourage or avoid. 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 tactic requires both great memory and superior math skills. About a decade ago, he founded a business that does computer-assisted wagering on horses. 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. What gives Johnson his edge is his knowledge of the gaming industry. He was neither nervous nor excited. To look at him, over six feet tall and thickly built, you would never guess that he was once a jockey. All of these gambling houses were already hurting, what with the spread of legalized gambling in surrounding states. The last thing a skilled player wants is a big reputation. He was just getting started. In his best years as a professional jockey, he was practically skeletal. A tlantic City did know who Johnson was. Compared with horse racing, the odds in blackjack are fairly straightforward to calculate. Made famous in books and movies, card counting is considered cheating, at least by casinos. Pennsylvania is likely to supplant New Jersey this year as the second-largest gaming state in the nation. For the casino, the art is in telling the skilled whales from the unskilled ones, then discouraging the former and seducing the latter. When this happened to Johnson, he knew the ground rules had skewed against him. He does not just walk into a casino and start playing, which is what roughly 99 percent of customers do. 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. Fifteen million dollars in winnings from three different casinos? Little interferes with his concentration. The regimen was so demanding that he eventually had to give it up. For most people, though, the newspaper headline told a happy story. The way averages work, the larger the sample, the narrower the range of variation. Dozens of spectators pressed against the glass of the high-roller pit. Johnson says he was once dealt six consecutive aces at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. He started to learn a lot about gambling. They negotiate. The marketers present casinos as glamorous playgrounds where workaday worries and things like morality, sobriety, and prudence are on holiday. But the vast majority of players lose, and the longer they play, the more they lose. Some wear disguises when they play. The basics of blackjack are simple. The way any discount works, you have to lose a certain amount to capitalize on it. Johnson won all four hands. 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. Johnson was in charge of day-to-day operations, including the betting operation. For one thing, he is an extraordinarily skilled blackjack player. He stood 6 foot 1 and weighed only pounds. It seemed a fantasy come true, the very dream that draws suckers to the gaming tables. He is a veteran player. D espite his pedestrian attire , Don Johnson is no average Joe. By late , the discounts at some of the strapped Atlantic City casinos began creeping upward, as high as 20 percent. Nobody gets that lucky. Two cards are placed faceup before the player, and two more cards, one down, one up, before the dealer. As good as he is at playing cards, he turns out to be even better at playing the casinos. The goal is to get to 21, or as close to it as possible without going over. Because the casino values high rollers more than the average customer, it is willing to lessen its edge for them. But the story was even bigger than that. 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. So it was no longer worth his while to play there.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} The player still loses. The first and most obvious suspicion was card counting. Caesars had cut him off, he says, and then effectively banned him from its casinos worldwide. But two years ago, Johnson says, the casinos started getting desperate. 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. 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. When his second hand was dealt a two, he doubled down on that, too. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}D on Johnson finds it hard to remember the exact cards. For Johnson, the game began before he ever set foot in the casino. By April, combined monthly gaming revenue had been declining on a year-over-year basis for 32 months. Johnson had not played a game at the Borgata in more than a year. Many casinos sell laminated charts in their guest shops that reveal the optimal strategy for any situation the game presents. Johnson was on an amazing streak. It hurt. 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. He had beaten the casinos fair and square. More useful, for his purposes, is running a smaller number of hands and paying attention to variation. With their table-game revenues tanking and the number of whales diminishing, casino marketers began to compete more aggressively for the big spenders. 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. Who could? The towers of chips stacked in front of him formed a colorful miniature skyline. Hard times do not favor the house. The wagering of card counters assumes a clearly recognizable pattern over time, and Johnson was being watched very carefully. Whenever the racily clad cocktail waitress wandered in with a fresh whiskey and Diet Coke, he took it from the tray. He had been trying to figure out its blackjack game for years but had never been able to win big. The new Parx racetrack and casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, a gigantic gambling complex, is less than 80 miles away from the Atlantic City boardwalk. But even though he has been around the gambling industry for all of his 49 years, Johnson snuck up on Atlantic City. In most states but not New Jersey , known practitioners are banned. You play against the house. A session of, say, hands will display wider swings, with steeper winning and losing streaks, than the standard casino charts.