The 7 most successful casino players

The house always has the advantage but there will always be successful gamblers that can defeat the casino. But is there really a rule on how to defeat the casino or is it just down to pure luck and determination?

There are people that believe that they can defeat the edge whether that be through intelligence, cheating or cleverness. Whichever one it may be those best gamblers have walked out with a pretty hefty profit indeed. 

They know how to make money and they know when to make it so without further ado let’s introduce our top 7 list of successful gamblers:

Ron Harris

The programmer, while working for Nevada State Gambling believed he could defeat slot machines. He used to his advantage his skills to be able to take thousands of dollars from casinos in Las Vegas. 

He also had an accomplice, Reid Errol McNeal and together they defied 1 million to 1 odds and hit a monster $100,000 jackpot at the Bally’s Casino in the Atlantic City of New Jersey. The professional casino gambler knew the casinos themselves were not aware of his scam so he was able to make his wealth. 

Dominic LoRiggio

Known with many nicknames like ‘The Man with the Golden Arm’ and ‘The Dominator’, earned through years and hours upon hours of craps-controlled shooting. This is a technique which helped him get the rolls he needed in the game of craps. 

The successful gambler, LoRiggio claims it is done through simple physics despite many speculations. 

However, many casinos now detect controlled shooters and will force them to shoot their dice differently or risk being on a list of people banned from casinos.

Ida Summers

Ida was a woman who at glance you would never believe to be a casino cheater, but she ruled in the 60’s and 70’s raking in tens of thousands of dollars from casinos using guile and shiftiness. She specialized in ‘hand-mucking’ and ‘coolers’ at the blackjack tables. 

This technique involved concealing a card that had already been brought to the table or removed from the game. This would then through sleight of hand be brought back to the table to help the player. 

She became a legend, but it was only a matter of time before the FBI hunted her down and ended her casino cheating.

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Louis “The Coin” Colavcchio

Colavcchio was able to duplicate anything that was made out of precious metals and stones and used this to his advantage to become a professional gambler. And in the late 90’s a search of his premises by the FBI found thousands of manufactured slot tokens from dozens of casinos throughout North America. 

The exact amount he cashed in is still unknown, but it’s assumed anything between $100,000 to $500,000. In court a plea deal was reached and Colavcchio had to show the law enforcement exactly how the coins were made to prevent it happening at casinos again in the future.

MIT Blackjack Team

Possibly one of the best gamblers is this one! A team of bright students decided to come together to use statistic-based systems to defeat the game of blackjack.

Their team arrangement minimized their opportunities of being caught and they were able to mask their activity from the casinos very well. They spent hours upon hours perfecting the system and members had to pass gruelling tests before being able to visit a real live casino. 

Eventually casinos started to notice the team and after a few brushes with the law the original members dropped out.

Richard Marcus

He’s one of the most successful gamblers in the history of casino gambling and it all started with a gambling addiction that went wrong. He went from living under a bridge to becoming a blackjack and baccarat dealer when he first came up with his sinister ideas.

He named his best roulette strategy ‘The Savannah’ which involved betting a low denomination of chips, such as three $5 bets to evade any kind of attention. If he won, he would show excitement just like the average gambler. 

Marcus would then alert the dealer that there was a brown $500 chip underneath the three $5 chips. And upon checking, there was which was all done by Marcus’ extremely difficult to pull off hand manoeuvre. Alternatively, if Marcus didn’t win he would remove the $500 chip without anyone noticing. Of course, he was eventually caught and prosecuted but not after having collected roughly $5 million in profits.

Edward Thorp

Finally, on to the most professional casino gambler of all time and the father of famous card counters, Edward Thorp. He invented the original system and was a mathematics professor who had a master’s degree in physics and a doctorate degree in mathematics. 

He learnt that smaller cards were more advantageous for the dealer and when left in the deck the advantage shifted to the player meaning they should bet more.

It wasn’t until he started winning large sums of cash that casinos bosses were alerted that he must be cheating. He was asked to leave at multiple casinos because he was winning too much. 

He later applied his mathematics into the stock market making yet more cash and was eventually one of the first seven inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

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