It’s one thing to go on a magnificent rush at the blackjack table, resulting in a six-figure score over the course of multiple hands. Don Johnson, the MIT team and Rob Reitzen, they’ve all done it plenty of times.
But what about short-cutting gamblers who board the express train to fortune? Through some crazy side bets and card-running jiu-jitsu, they manage to take down six figure returns over the course of just a single hand. Yes, it often involves making some longshot bet that would cause the James Grosjean of the advantage play (AP) world to roll their eyes at and mutter, “Civilian…”
But lucky winners don’t sweat such derision. They simply head to the cage and negotiate mega cash-outs. Here are six of our favorite quick-hit champions.
Getting triple 7s is far from unheard of in a poker game. And it might not even win the hand. At the blackjack table, however, with a wager on the Blazing 7s, progressive bonus, those cards could lead to a life-changing victory.
Such was the case in January 2022 when a woman from Alaska chose the perfect time to try her luck at Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas. She was dealt two 7s of diamonds and the dealer had a 7 of diamonds to match. That made for a big win at an odds-defying 0.000004%.
Much to everyone’s amazement, she took down $111,801 – proving that diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. Asked what she planned on doing with her big score, the woman showed herself to have a heart of gold. She’ll be using a portion of the windfall to pay off her father’s medical expenses.
Five is Fine
Outdoing the lass from Alaska, a gambler by the name of Kevin Lin had risked just $5 on the Blazing 7s progressive at the aptly named Live! Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
His diamonds came up this past October and he took down $311,406. Amazing as it sounds, those wins are far from unheard of at Live!. The casino opened in November 2020. Since then, a bunch of jackpots have resulted in payouts of more than $43 million.
When Packer Got Packed In
Precise details here are a little sketchy, but the tale of Kerry Packer, the Australian media tycoon who loved to gamble, is too good to not include.
Rumor has it, according to the Las Vegas Advisor, that Packer once made a $20 million bet at the blackjack tables in the London VIP room at the old Aladdin Casino (since reconfigured as the less evocative-sounding Planet Hollywood).
The always reliable Advisor expresses doubt that Packer would have been permitted to wager such a mind-boggling sum on a single hand, figuring that he would have normally been capped at $200,000 to $250,000.
More certain: in 1995 Packer swung a deal with MGM Grand to wager $250,000 on each of eight spots. That worked out to $2 million per round, which is nothing to sneeze at. The high-flying risk paid off big-time. In less than one hour, the Aussie press tycoon won some $40 million before the bosses at MGM cried uncle, telling him to take his winnings and clear away from the table.
A Cripping Win
The buffalo were stampeding last summer when a 32-year-old man from Kansas defied savage odds to earn $100,000 in a single hand of blackjack. He was playing Wildwood Casino in Cripple Creek, Colorado, and wagering on a 21 iteration known as Buffalo Blackjack.
It comes with two potential side-bets. One is called Bust Bonus, which allows players to bet on the dealer busting. The other is 21+3, which adds an element of three-card poker to the base game of blackjack. Players wager their cash and get paid off when their two cards plus the dealer’s up-card form a straight or better.
In the case of the luckbox from Kansas, he went for the latter and was dealt a pair of Aces alongside the dealer’s Ace. Casino manager Matt Andrighetti maintains that the odds of hitting it are 250,000 to 1.
Whatever the man from Kansas wagered, that would make it a bit of a sucker bet (to be even-money, it would have to pay off at $250,000 for every dollar put up by the player). But, surely, he is not complaining.
Luis Rodriguez Gomez, playing blackjack alongside his brother, was down to the last of his gambling money – until, suddenly, he wasn’t.
The 21-year-old told ABC News in Arizona that he made what he thought would be his last wager of the night, placing $15 in the betting circle and another $5 in the progressive circle.
The latter was for a gamble known as the King of Cards Table Games Progressive. It all went down at Gila River Resorts & Casinos – Lone Butte in Chandler, Arizona. As per the rules of the wager, Gomez won his hand and then spun a virtual wheel for the second bet. Miraculously, it landed on a jackpot spot that yielded $1.1 million.
Some people would scream upon winning such a large sum. Others would pump a fist in the air. Gomez had his own way of celebrating: “I immediately jumped on top of my brother.”
Quick Change Artist
Sometimes it pays to have a change of heart. Such was the case for a British taxi driver by the name of Goksel Selay.
A casino habitue who considered roulette to be his game of choice, he was not having much luck in betting on where the little ball would land. Hoping to stymie his rotten fortune, Selay anted up for a hand of blackjack plus the Blackjack Aces’ jackpot at Genting Club in Western Esplanade, England.
It’s a progressive jackpot that links 35 casinos in the UK and provides a juicy payout. Selay got lucky as the dealer dealt himself two Aces that matched the one in Selay’s hand.
A score of some $100,000 would be enough to shock anyone. But Selay claims to have received advance notice about the possibility.
“A few days earlier, I had a dream of winning big money,” he said after the Aces fortuitously landed along with the six-figure payout. “I thought I would try my luck because I had the dream. And it came true.”