The Man Who Broke Atlantic City
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 before that, he’d taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here’s how he did it.
The tl;dr is that if you’re a high roller, the casinos will make deals with you to lower their odds and give you discounts on your losses. The Tropicana let him play with a 20 percent discount after if his losses hit $500,000, let him play with a hand-shuffled six-deck shoe, the right to split and double down on up to four hands at once, and a “soft 17.” All together this made the house’s odds 50/50.
No wonder I never make any money playing $1 Blackjack.