List of Successful Gamblers
As a popular fact, we all are aware that in casinos, the house has an advantage over the player always. But in the history of gambling, there have been a few successful gamblers who had/have an ace in the hole to beat the casino. This blog presents to you the top 7 gamblers who conquered casinos.
Can a Casino be really beaten?
Any person who risk some money on casino games, do so with one motive only – to win exciting prizes. However, more often than not, players lose their money to casinos rather than winning more of it back. Why? It is because of the fact that the house edge is slightly favoured towards the casino’s benefits. After all, it is all part of a business, right? And everybody is trying to make as much money as possible.
Casino games are set up in a way that there is always a mathematical advantage for the gamble house over the player. This can be acknowledged from the fact that, in any game, the casino is more likely to win or have an edge. But more or less, all the gambling-related activities rely the most on luck. If someday you’re lucky, you could come away with straight 10 wins. Similarly, if someday lady luck is not by your side, you might not even get to taste the victory ones.
So the question is can a player really beat the house edge? Ideally – no but in certain games that require both a mix of sheer luck and skills, a player might come away with certain strategies that earn him/her more wins than other players. This is what turns a normal gambler to a successful casino professional. These strategies might be true skills of the game or in some cases, a bit of cheating. Let’s learn about the top 7 gamblers in the history of casinos and how they rose to fame.
7) Ron Harris
Ronald Dale Harris is a well-known computer programmer. He worked with Nevada State Gambling in the past. Ron used illegal but smart ways to stole thousands of dollar from Las Vegas-based casino during the years 1993 to 1995. Being a talented programmer, Ronald discovered some flaws in the software of some casino games.
Harris along with his partner in crime Reid Errol McNeal caused havoc in the gambling industry when the duo hit a super-mega jackpot worth $100000. This scam took place in Bally’s casino in Atlantic city’s, New Jersey. At that time, no one but the winning duo was aware of the illegal scandal. And they did not stop there.
Ronald took advantage of programming expertise and company reputation to access the source code. He later used it to modify slot games illegally without being caught. Later the duo turned their focus on Keno, the popular game of chances. He acquired sufficient knowledge to be able to crack the random number generator pattern for the game of Keno and Jackpot!!
Soon, it turned massive attention from casinos worldwide as authorities grew suspicious of Ronald’s great wins. Later the whole scam was unveiled and Harris was banned from every casino. He also served two years in prison and got listed in the black book of Nevada Gaming Control Board. Till date, Harris frequently appears on documentaries and interviews about how he beat the casinos.
6) Dominic LoRiggio
He earned many popular nicknames for his casino skills. Popularly known as ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’ and ‘The Dominator’, Dominic beat the field when it came to Craps. With years and years of practice, Dominic mastered the art of craps controlled shooting. This technique turned him from a mere player into one of the most successful gamblers.
He really had the magic in his hand as they say. The technique he mastered involved him rolling dice in a certain manner. First, he would set the dice in a particular manner, grab them carefully and rolled them in the air is such a way that the two dice stick together. This would see the dice hitting the wall of craps table gently on the black portion. Later, Dominic formed a team with the name of Rosebud. The team together enjoyed great winning stints in Vegas-based casinos with the shooting technique.
Later, he left the team because other members were limiting him to earn big bucks. After a while, LoRiggion teamed up another successful gambler Frank Scoblete. The duo used this specialed technique which they claim was based purely on physics to earn thousands of dollars across many US-based casinos. As a suspect of possible cheating, these gamblers were asked to change their way of rolling the dice if they intend to continue playing.
5) Ida Summers
Next gambler in our list is not a ‘he’, Ida Summers was a popular female gambler who ruled the casino back in the 60s and 70s. As per people, Ida was a charming woman with a gracious smile, someone you’d never think that she cheat. But she proved everyone wrong as she cheated and won thousands of dollars from bets placed on Blackjack.
She mastered the art of hand mucking and ‘coolers’ on a Blackjack table. The technique was pure cheating as it involved the use of cards that have already been drawn and then brought back in the game. Of course, her stunning looks divert the attention when she masterfully switched cards in her hands.
This does not stop in the small casinos as Ida made her way to the most reputed casinos of Las Vegas. She took the cheating to the next level by further using cold decks and coolers in the game. For many years, she was an undisputed queen of Blackjack. Her golden days of cheating were over after FBI busted her down. Nevertheless, she is one of the most successful gamblers of all time.
4) Louis “The Coin” Colavecchio
Louis is famously and aptly known as ‘The Coin’. He was a master in producing duplicate copies of anything made out of stones and metals. He decided to use his art and skill in gambling and boom, he ended up becoming one of the most successful gamblers ever. This was a unique and unusual approach to beat the casinos that only Colavecchio knew.
A resident of Rhode Islands went to earn more than a hundred thousand dollars, not bad for a “coin maker”. Colavecchio used to produce unauthentic slot tokens which he used to win all the money. He conquered many casinos of Vegas before FBI hunt him down. He became a victim of his own success as FBI agents found a big chunk of coins.
The correct numbers of his winnings are unknown, however, they’re estimated to be anywhere between $100000 to $500000. He was brought to the court as a victim of cheating. Later, he was released after forcefully having to give away his secret of making coins. This was later used to protect casinos from similar scandals.
3) MIT Blackjack Team
This is the most popular casino scandals of modern times. If you’ve watched the movie 21 then you already have an idea what we’re talking about. This scam included a team of a few students from the well-reputed university – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The students were good with mathematics and used their brain in deriving a statistics-based technique to conquer the game of Blackjack.
In the beginning, the students put flyers in the university campus to add more brilliant mathematicians to the team. The team also involved some ex-students from Harvard Business School. Together, the group used card counting and other strategies to master the black art of Blackjack. The idea of card counting was not so popular or advanced back then. But the team coupled it with their own brilliant strategies to take it to the next level.
Members of the team were asked to appear for some tests before they could make their ways to casinos in Vegas. The six students from Burton-Conner House along with their teammates gathered funds from investors. After their successful implementation of the plan, they made a whopping $400000 in one week. This was the beginning of something great. The team shut down after many years of beating the casinos at Blackjack and earning over five million dollars. The team makes cut to the most successful gamblers ever.
2) Richard Marcus
Easily one of the most popular and successful gamblers of all time, Richard rose from nothing. He was a gambling addict and in his early years, it all did not as planned. Marcus ended up losing a lot of money but his addiction to gambling and strong desire to earn money kept him going. He ended up becoming a Baccarat dealer for a short while.
Richard developed a strategy for the game of Roulette which he called Savannah. This involved scam of a very low scale which was practically not visible. Whenever he marked a win, a celebration of any normal gambler-alike followed to not gather any special attention. This would leave the player puzzling that why he celebrated a small win with so much enthusiasm. Then Marcus would smoothly trick and player to play the $500 chip. If he did not win this round, he’ll remove the $500 chip quite perfectly so that no one can notice it.
This strategy was illegal and of course unknown to the casino. Nevertheless, he was ultimately caught and banned from the casino. But by that time, Marcus has already earned over $5 million. Later, he wrote some books which were successful. In one of his books, Richard revealed that he is still actively involved in casino cheating incidents but he is unlikely to get caught ever.
1) Edward Thorp
At the very top of any list of successful gamblers has to be the name of Edward Thorp. He brought the revolution in the gambling industry back in the 60s. Edward O. Thorp is famously known as the father of card counting. After weak theories about card counting strategies were proposed in 1960, Edward brought advancement in it. His book from 1962 titled ‘Beat the Dealer’ was immensely successful among gamblers all over the world.
Edward was a professor of mathematics, he held a doctorate degree in Mathematics and a master’s degree in Physics. Indeed, he was a wise man as his academic accolades prove. His journey to casinos started when a friend took him to a casino one day in Vegas. He soon grew great interest in the game of Blackjack. It did not take long for him to decide that there is a possible mathematical strategy that can be used to gain an advantage over the house edge.
He started carefully watch and study various rounds of 21 to possibly find a way to beat the casinos. After a while, Edward came to the conclusion that smaller cards held more advantage for the dealer. Keeping this fallacy in mind, Thorp tried to discover a fact, a method to gain up to 5% advantage over the house edge. He brought significant advancements in card-counting technique. He used the same skills to conquer many Vegas-based casinos in the game of Blackjack.
His winning rate was so frequent that many casinos asked him to leave because he kept winning again and again. After the huge success of his first book that was released in 1962, Edward wrote another book which was a success too. After a few years, he left the casino stuff behind and put his head in the stocks market. Where again he led by an example with his great mathematical approach. Both these stints helped him earn a lot of money. Edward is surely the right person to top the list of the most successful gamblers ever. He was in fact, inducted in the Blackjack Hall of Fame for his great achievements.
Are you satisfied with our picks of most successful gamblers ever? We would love to hear your opinion and views on this.