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4 Expert Gamblers That Gave Vegas a Run for Its Money

Feb, 10 || No Comments |

Las Vegas, among many entertainment events offered, is known for its casinos, and many travelers visit the city hoping to hit the jackpot.  In fact, most of the 364 Vegas hotels listed on Gogobot have some form of onsite gambling.  While the odds of winning millions on the casino floor may seem slim, there have been a few gamblers who didn’t let the house win.

Edward Thorp

Sometimes called “the Father of Card Counting,” Edward Thorp had a master’s degree in physics and a doctorate in mathematics. On a trip to Las Vegas, he became fascinated with the game blackjack, and soon he realized that he could gain an edge in the game if he used his mathematical skills. He eventually developed a system to win as much as $70,000 in a single weekend. While casinos would often suspect him of cheating and he would be asked to leave, none of the casinos could figure out his method.

Image via Flickr by dupo-x-y

Image via Flickr by dupo-x-y

Sometimes called “the Father of Card Counting,” Edward Thorp had a master’s degree in physics and a doctorate in mathematics. On a trip to Las Vegas, he became fascinated with the game blackjack, and soon he realized that he could gain an edge in the game if he used his mathematical skills. He eventually developed a system to win as much as $70,000 in a single weekend. While casinos would often suspect him of cheating and he would be asked to leave, none of the casinos could figure out his method.

Keith Taft

In 1969 Keith Taft began inventing small computers that would aid him in gambling. These devices, which could be concealed under his clothing, helped him win more than $40,000 within a single week. Taft continued to build new, lighter devices and even sold them to other gamblers. Once, he was detained by casino authorities who discovered his computer, but because they couldn’t figure out how the device worked, he was released. In 1985, Nevada passed a law that made it illegal to use electronic devices to aid gambling, but by then, Taft had already won thousands upon thousands of dollars.

Archie Karas

A Greek-American gambler, Archie Karas is noted for having the longest documented winning streak in gambling history. In December 1992, Karas went to Vegas with only $50 in his pocket.  Over the following six months, he reportedly used that $50 to win more than $17 million by playing poker and pool. Eventually he turned his attention to dice, and he once won all of the $5000 chips at Binion’s Horseshoe, a casino in downtown Las Vegas. Karas was said to have won more than $40 million dollars, but despite his incredible streak, which spanned more than two years, Karas lost all of his money in just three weeks, playing dice and baccarat.

Richard Marcus

After spending time as a blackjack and baccarat dealer, Richard Marcus came up with a clever method for cheating casinos out of millions. The plan was simple but difficult to execute. Marcus would place a bet at a roulette table using small denomination chips, usually three $5 chips. If he won, he would pull back the top two chips and reveal that the third chip was actually worth $500. If he lost, he would swap out the $500 chip for a smaller denomination. His strategy worked because casino employees were primarily concerned with wins and didn’t scrutinize losses as closely, which allowed Marcus to bet with a higher chip and then make the switch if he lost. Eventually Marcus was caught, but not before winning about five million dollars.

Image via Flickr by cliff1066

Image via Flickr by cliff1066

Some of their methods may have been questionable, and they’re certainly infamous names in Las Vegas casinos.  Still, these four gamblers proved that the house doesn’t always win.

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Related post:   The Best Beaches Near Honolulu

Feature image via Flickr by Moyan_Brenn

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