We have selected the games that offer the biggest blackjack wins, thanks to their high return to player percentage. Some apply the basic game rules and have no side bets, while others allow you to double your chances for a positive outcome. Exploring their game mechanics is fun, and the ambience is very close to the one in authentic casinos.
And now, let’s move on to the most skilled blackjack players that left a mark in gambling history. Kerry Packer, Don Johnson, Ken Uston, and the other legends that made millions are waiting for you to read their story. Stay with us to learn more about the game and get the best advice from professionals!
List of the Biggest Blackjack Wins
Top 10 Big Blackjack Wins in History
After we’ve listed the best real money blackjack games, it’s time to continue with our main topic – the legendary gamblers that made the biggest winnings. Some of them were famous for their card counting skills, while others were complete beginners – the most exceptional among them even made it to the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
Kerry Packer – $40 Million
The man that made the impressive $40 million in one night is Kerry Packer, one of the most powerful Australian media magnates from the past. Mr. Packer was already a millionaire when, in 1991, he started his first big blackjack wins streak.
Until 1995, he already had dozens of conquered games, but the most significant one that we know of took place at the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas. It’s needless to say he disposed of large funds and placed higher than usual stakes. That night, Kerry Packer played with eight hands simultaneously and managed to leave with a reward of $40 million!
MIT Blackjack Team – $50+ Million
The group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, more popular as the MIT Blackjack Team, was founded in 1979 and existed until the early 2000s. The team members used the card counting technique and caused a stir in the gambling society in America. Its peak was in the 90s when the number of members grew to almost 80.
The goal of the MIT Blackjack Team was to beat casinos all around the world and had enjoyed immense success. It’s known that other than card counting, the team also used ace tracking and advanced shuffle techniques. The total of their blackjack wins is estimated at over $50 million.
Don Johnson – $15.1 Million
Don Johnson was a professional blackjack player who succeeded to make a fortune of $15 million for only six months in 2011. The best Atlantic City casinos where Johnson played were Tropicana, Borgata, and Ceasars. He claims not to have profited from card counting but took advantage of profitable opportunities during the gameplay. Mr. Johnson is one of the most successful contemporary gamblers who became famous for their big blackjack wins.
Ken Uston – $4.5 Million
Ken Uston was one of the brilliant minds that popularised card counting and other blackjack strategies. Uston started as a part of the blackjack team founded by professional gambler Al Francesco. When gambling became legal in New Jersey (1978), he moved to Atlantic City and created his own group of professional players.
Ken Uston managed to perfect the art of card counting, and for this reason, he was banned from casinos around the world. To enter, he used to wear different costumes and hide his identity. As a prevention to the card-counting experts, many casinos increased the number of decks used in blackjack.
Over the years, he accumulated over $4.5 million and reached a status of a blackjack genius. Ken Uston wrote The Big Player, Million Dollar Blackjack, and several other books on the classic blackjack game. He also had a passion for video games and dedicated himself to publishing various guides on them.
Dana White – $2 Million
You may know Dana White as the President of the UFC, but did you know that he has a passion for blackjack? In 2014, the gambler won over $2 million at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, which accused him of card counting. White rejects the accusation and claims he used simple mathematical strategies while he played. Many casinos have already banned him because of his exceptional skills.
Shoeless Joe – $1.5 Million
The story of “shoeless” Joe reminds a Hollywood character rather than an actual person. According to the testimonies, on April 2, 1995, he entered Treasure Island Resort, one of the best Las Vegas casinos, and exchanged the $400 from his security cheque to play blackjack. The man had no shoes and introduced himself as Joe. The luck was on his side as the homeless man got one of the biggest blackjack wins – 1.5 million dollars.
Ben Affleck – $800,000
The Oscar winner Ben Affleck is known for playing with high stakes. His proudest gambling moment was when he won $800,000 on a single night at Hard Rock Casino. The year was 2001, and the rumour goes that the actor was so generous to tip the staff with $145,000. Later in the years, Ben was busted for counting cards and was excluded from entering numerous gaming venues.
Some of the best blackjack wins on our list belong to Ben Affleck, but in the gambling world, he is famous for another reason as well. In 2004, the actor won a poker championship, which led to casinos forbidding him to attend other tournaments in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the successful streak ended. After a risky move during a poker game, Ben lost $400,000 on a single hand.
Michael Geismar – $470,000
Michael Geismar was having breakfast at Bellagio’s restaurant when he decided to make his day a little bit more exciting. The guest of the iconic hotel headed to the world-famous casino and started with a $300 bet. Geismar didn’t double any of the bets. With every successful move, he kept increasing the stakes, and by lunchtime, he won $470,000!
Shane Smith – $100,000
The CEO of Vice Media, Shane Smith, wasn’t in Las Vegas for the casinos, but in the end, he decided to try his luck. After walking into the MGM Casino, Smith had a successful streak and left with blackjack wins of $100,000. The craziest part is that to celebrate, the player decided to offer to his company a dinner worth $300,000.
Goksel Selay – $90,000
Differently from the biggest part of the gamblers on this list, Goksel Selay isn’t a celebrity. The man that won $90,000 in 2015 was a taxi driver and wasn’t the typical master of the game of 21. Goksel preferred roulette, but the night he hit the jackpot, he didn’t have much luck on his side. Because of this, he switched to the blackjack table and made a triumph to remember.
Biggest Blackjack Wins in Professional Tournaments
Elimination Blackjack is the most popular type of professional tournament and was invented by Russ Hamilton, the legendary poker player. Ultimate Blackjack Tour, a TV series where blackjack players competed for a $1 million prize, popularised the contest. The format combines the rules of the game of 21 with some No Limit Texas Hold’Em elements.
In the first season of the Ultimate Blackjack Tour, there were ten tournaments, the winners of which had to qualify for the final Tournament of Champions. David Matthews won first place and competed in the World Series of Blackjack – a blackjack tournament series produced by GSN.
Basic Rules of Blackjack
There are theories that the game of 21 comes from France, while others say it has Spanish origins. In any case, the fame of blackjack has no limits as players from all over the world can find it at the best blackjack sites. One of the reasons is that it features simple rules and has the best odds among all table games.
You can play blackjack with 4 or 6 decks of 52 cards. Some innovative variations include up to 8 card decks, while others use only one. The jokers are not used. The goal is to beat the dealer’s hand by getting a total as close to 21 without exceeding it.
Each card from two to ten counts as its numerical value. Face cards equal ten, while the ace can be one or eleven. Blackjack is the highest you can get – you will need a face card and an ace. After bets are made, the dealer gives all players two cards. The house also receives two, one of which is placed with its face up.
If the dealer’s visible card is an ace, players are offered an insurance bet. When the casino wins, all players, except those that made insurance, will lose. In any other case, you can use the options hit, stand, double, split or surrender. You can check our blackjack rules guide to learn in detail the game mechanics.
Advice and Tips from Legendary Blackjack Players
The essence of a successful blackjack strategy is the deep understanding the basic rules of the game. Knowing when and how to take advantage of the moment requires a lot of practice and skills. If you are starting now to develop your technique, consider our advice.
Never hit if the sum of your cards is 16 or above.
When you have aces and eights, it’s good to split.
Double down on a total of 11 – it will pay off in the long term.
If you have 17 or higher, you should always stand.
When the dealer has a ten, make an insurance bet.
Naturally, the application of any strategy depends on the dynamics of the game – your hand and the dealer’s hand, of course. It’s worth investing time and energy into developing an individual approach. Some players apply betting systems like the Martingale, for example. Others choose card counting. If you want to learn more on the topic, we invite you to check our guide to the blackjack strategy chart.
The Blackjack Hall of Fame
The Blackjack Hall of Fame was founded to honour the genius players and experts that contributed to the blackjack society. The club’s located in the Barona Casino in San Diego, California. In the winter of 2002, the casino decided to nominate 21 blackjack players and offer them a permanent lifetime comp in exchange for a simple favour – not to ever play at Barona’s live tables.
The vote was accessible to the public on the Internet, and the members were announced at the January 2003 Blackjack Ball, an event hosted by Max Rubin, a gambling expert and author. In the following years, more members were added. Players and mathematicians like Al Francesco, Ken Uston, Don Johnson, Bill Benter, and Anthony Curtis are part of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
Conclusion – Recommended Blackjack Games for Big Wins
At the end of the best blackjack wins review, we would like to suggest several games that would take you closer to a positive outcome. The RTPs are, of course, above 99%. You will be able to place various side bets and enjoy mobile compatibility. Here are our final suggestions for the most rewarding online blackjack games:
Frequently Asked Questions
Our review of the biggest blackjack wins in history is coming to its end. Now is the moment to take some time and explore our FAQ section. Learn which were the players that had the greatest success in the game of 21 and find more details about the rules (including who wins a tie in blackjack), outcomes, and strategies.
1️⃣ Which blackjack games have the best odds?
The best online blackjack games are listed above on this page. You can check our top 10 list and choose a variation for yourself. From the most traditional to the most innovative, all of them offer a satisfying return to player and feature quality graphics and superb mobile optimisation.
2️⃣ Who won the biggest prize during a blackjack game?
The biggest blackjack wins that we know of belong to Kerry Packer, an Australian media magnate with a passion for casino games. Curiously, Packer holds first place for the blackjack big wins, but he also made the biggest gambling loss in British history. After a three-day streak in London’s gambling venues in 1999, he lost almost $28 million.
3️⃣ Who wins a tie in blackjack?
According to the blackjack rules, to beat the dealer, you must have a better hand, the value of which doesn’t exceed 21, and vice versa. However, when there is a tie (also called a push), you neither win nor lose your bet. In this case, you receive your original stake back and can continue with the next round.
4️⃣ Is there a winning strategy in blackjack?
There are many strategies of which you can take advantage. One of the most successful approaches that brought big blackjack wins is card counting. To master the technique, you could read one of the many gambling books on the topic – you will find various blackjack tips from professionals.
5️⃣ Are there any tournaments with blackjack big wins?
These days, many land-based casinos organise professional blackjack tournaments. In the past, there were even blackjack contests streamed on TV. The Ultimate Blackjack Tour and the World Series of Blackjack had huge success – world-class gamblers competed against each other for the first prize.