5 of the biggest blackjack wins in history
From progressive jackpots to lucky bets, we unearth some of the biggest casino blackjack wins ever committed to felt.
One of the most famous card games in the world is blackjack. It is the casino game that carries the lowest house edge and the highest chance of success. At least that's what the strategy aficionados will always tell you.
But that doesn't take into account the multitude of progressive jackpots you can find these days. And while many gamblers try to beat the house the normal way, some bright sparks have sought other ways to leave a winner.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest blackjack wins ever seen...
1. Glasgow gambler crushes the Ace King Suited game
A natural blackjack (an ace and a picture card) pays 3/2 your money. That won't make you rich, but a linked jackpot might.
Many casinos now offer special progressive jackpot variants of playing blackjack. At stake is a special pot that can be claimed if you get dealt a certain hand.
In late 2017, a lucky punter in Scotland won over £73,000 playing Ace King Suited Blackjack at his local casino. As the name suggests, a jackpot is won if the player is dealt a natural blackjack with a suited ace and king.
2. World Series of Blackjack
Where: Mohegan Sun Casino, Connecticut
In the early 2000s, some bright spark had the idea to jump on the back of the poker boom by introducing televised blackjack to the masses.
The World Series of Blackjack was created by cable channel GSN (Game Show Network) and featured a host of celebrities facing off over the blackjack table. Magician Penn Jillette appeared, along with blackjack card-counting legends like Micky Rosa and 'MIT Mike' Aponte. Even author Ben Mezrich - who had written about the MIT teams in Bringing Down the House and Breaking Vegas - lined up.
Aponte would go on to win the $100,000 Season 1 grand final prize, with 'Hollywood' Dave Stann coming second. The show returned for another three seasons. Alice Walker, who had already won a televised Three-Card Poker championship on the channel, took down the final in the WSOB's last screen outing. Her prize? A cool $500,000.
3. Live! goes live with $1m blackjack tournament
When: February 2018
Where: Live! Casino & Hotel, Maryland, USA
In late 2017, the Live! Casino in Maryland, USA, announced a tournament where 300 local players would compete in tournaments to earn a place in 2018's Championship Tournament.
With 24 final monthly champs making it to the final, the eventual winner will have a battle on their hands to win the $500,000 top prize.
4. Ultimate Blackjack Tour dishes out $1m
Where: CBS Studios, Los Angeles
Won: $1 million (prizepool)
After the success of the World Series of Blackjack, CBS launched its own series of televised blackjack tournaments.
The Ultimate Blackjack Tour was played in an 'elimination' format. This meant that the players with the lowest stacks after eight, 16 and 25 hands were kicked out, leaving the remaining players to fight for the title.
The Elimination Blackjack format was a big hit, and many famous poker pros made the transition over. Annie Duke, Phil Hellmuth (who won the 'All-Stars' episode) and Johnny Chan all appeared.
5. MIT Blackjack Team scoops the lot
Where: Las Vegas, Atlantic City
Blackjack teams ruled the roost in the 70s and 80s. The exploits of legendary teams of students from MIT and other colleges were captured in Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House. It was later turned into a film starring Kevin Spacey.
At one point, whole casino floors would be filled with MIT Blackjack teams in a variety of disguises as they used their formidable card-counting skills to "bring down the house".
While the methods became more sophisticated, in its basic form card counting involves assigning point values to decks of cards in a casino. Shoes with lots of picture cards (worth 10) are 'hot' and should be bet on strongly. Shoes with lots of low cards are 'cold' and should be avoided.
By the 1990s, it's estimated that Bill Kaplan's MIT Blackjack Team won over $100 million playing blackjack.