High-stakes games are risky. That is why they have the name “high stakes.” They are risky for the player, who has a chance of losing a great deal of money. They are also risky for the casino, who stands to lose a lot of money if the player wins. Generally speaking, there is more risk on the player because of the house edge, but sometimes they come out on top. For an Atlantic City casino, a risky business strategy recently backfired, with one blackjack player taking them for almost $6 million.
The Tropicana Casino and Resort was looking for a way to boost business. CEO Mark Giannantonio came up with the idea of offering high-stakes blackjack games and heavily promoting those games. For a while, it worked. High rollers played more blackjack at the casino and the casino made more money. And then the house’s luck ran out. In a single sitting, one skilled (and lucky) blackjack player won $5.8 million at high-stakes blackjack.
Giannantonio said it was “the single-largest winner in our history.” He also said that “if it hadn’t been for bad luck at the tables, we would have had a good month.” Giannantonio has been fired as CEO and will be replaced by Tony Rodio on June 1. No one will say whether the high-stakes strategy is what got Giannantonio fired, but it is clear that in this case, his risky strategy backfired.
I don’t advocate playing high-stakes blackjack games. With the house edge, the odds are against you coming out on top. This player, who they have wisely not named, was able to take advantage of the risky strategy, though. It may have been bad for the casino and for Giannantonio, but it was undoubtedly great for the player.