Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blackjack Pro Clears $15 Million in Atlantic City; Disses MIT Guys

Don Johnson took Caesars for more than $4 million, burned Borgata for about $5 million and then topped it off by beating Tropicana out of $5.8 million, reports The Press of Atlantic City.

Johnson is the chief executive officer of Heritage Development LLC, a Wyoming-based company that uses computer-assisted wagering programs for horseracing.

He claims his blackjack winnings were luck.

"I'll take luck over any other skill," Johnson said, laughing. "There's no magic to this. Eventually, someone would whack them. I'm just glad it was me." In all, Johnson racked up about $15.1 million in blackjack winnings during a six-month span, although he acknowledged incurring some undisclosed losses along the way.

"They beat most people in the long run because the average person won't have the bankroll," Johnson said. "But I have my own bankroll. If you can take the swings, you're going to win. You also have to understand the math."

"I don't do anything like the MIT guys," Johnson said. "I can figure things out on my own."

Johnson joked about his own losses to the POAC, but added that he has come out on top over the years.

"It's a lot," he said of his winnings. "I pay millions in taxes."

Johnson insisted the casinos have only themselves to blame for their losses, opening the door by offering him high-stakes gambling. They also agreed to discount 20 percent of his blackjack losses as an incentive to get him to play, he said. For instance, if he lost $1 million, the casinos would forgive $200,000.

"The best thing is, they offer you discounts on your losses," he said.

He's right about that 20% discount on losses, that's a huge edge. If you have the bankroll and  the discipline to play the way the math says you should, and casinos are giving you a 20% edge, you are going to walk home a big winner.  The house edge in blackjack is generally just under 1%, a 20% discount moves the odds way in your favor.


  1. You may find Kid Dynamite's take interesting.


    He still ended up with a negative expected value if he played at least one hundred hands.

  2. That's true if as KId Dynamite proposes, the rebate is on final loss versus each hand.

    It may be as KD postulates, but the article didn't frame the story that way.