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Don Johnson

Not to be confused with actor of the same name, Don Johnson is a professional blackjack player best known for winning over $15 million from three Atlantic City casinos – namely Borgata, Caesars Atlantic City and Tropicana Atlantic City – in 2011. Johnson did so not by card counting, but by negotiating changes to standard casino blackjack rules which, collectively, provided him with an effective edge of around 0.26% over the house. Among the changes he negotiated was a loss rebate of 20% every time he lost $500,000 or more; critically, the loss rebate was reset every day, with no minimum play requirement.

By playing the ‘perfect’ game, under already advantageous conditions, Johnson won $5 million at Borgata and $4 million at Caesars Atlantic City, which subsequently banned him, before continuing his winning streak at Tropicana Atlantic City. In a twelve-hour stint at Tropicana Atlantic City, Johnson won nearly $6 million, including $800,000 in a single hand. Having bet the table maximum wager of $100,000, he was dealt two eights, which he split, only to be dealt two more eights, which he split again. By now playing four hands, at $100,000 apiece, Johnson received a series of favourable cards, allowing him to double down on each hand and thereby increase his total bet to $800,000. The dealer duly bust, so Johnson won all four hands. Unsurprisingly, the loss of nearly $6 million in a single session devastated monthly revenue at Tropicana Atlantic City, such that, like Borgata, the casino quickly rescinded the favourable playing conditions and table limit.

Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo

Madrid-born Gonzalo Garcia Pelayo was a director, producer and writer before undertaking a study of bias in roulette wheels in his home town. Aided and abetted by his son Ivan and his daughter Vanessa, Pelayo started playing roulette for money in 1991 and, within a year, had won $700,000. By using a simple computer model, Pelayo claimed not only to have negated the house edge – typically 2.7%, or 5.3%, depending on the version of roulette – but actually given himself a 15% edge.

Outlawed by Spanish casinos, the Pelayo Family tried its luck in Las Vegas – via European destinations, including Amsterdam and Vienna – posing as tourists and changing their accents to avoid suspicion. Their success continued until, fresh from winning $500,000 in the summer of 1994, Pelayo collapsed from exhaustion.

All told, Pelayo won in excess of $1.5 million, after expenses, and would later detail his exploits in the book, ‘La Fabulosa Historia de los Pelayo’, which translates in English as ‘The Fabulous History of the Pelayos’. An inveterate gambler, Pelayo subsequently set up an illegal poker establishment and became heavily involved in sports betting, including football, horse racing and tennis, as part of what he called a ‘private investment fund’.

Edward Thorp

American mathematics professor Edward Oakley Thorp is famous in gambling circles as the author of the 1962 book, ‘Beat the Dealer’, which is nowadays billed ‘The book that made Las Vegas change the rules’. Shortly after being awarded his doctorate in mathematics by the University of California, Los Angeles in 1958, Thorp played blackjack in Las Vegas. He realised that, unlike other games of chance, each hand of blackjack is influenced by the cards already dealt from the deck and set about developing a winning system based on mathematical probability.

After several years of academic research, during which he used computer simulations to calculate the precise probabilities of winning or losing for decks of various composition and number, Thorp first published his conclusions in an academic paper, ‘A Favorable Strategy for 21’. His work attracted the attention of Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Kimmel – unbeknown to Thorpe an illegal bookmaker with Mafia connections – who offered him $10,000 to take an ‘applied research’ trip to Las Vegas, in return for 10% of any winnings. Thorp naively accepted and duly won $13,000 in the space of a few days. The following year, Thorp published the first edition of ‘Beat the Dealer’, which introduced card counting and basic blackjack strategy to the masses and has been a bestseller ever since.

Moon Princess Christmas Kingdom

Introduction

Ready for some Christmas Magic? Then time to spin the reels of Play’n Go’s Moon Princess, the Christmas Kingdom that plays out on a 5×5 clusters pay engine grid with cascading wins. It’s a story about three magical princesses Love, Storm and Trinity, who go on a journey into the realm of The Christmas Kingdom. The slots base game is action-packed with wild generating cascade wins, a Trinity feature and three random Girl Power modifiers with a maximum win of 15000x your stake.

Moon Princess Christmas Kingdom Slot Features

The Cascading wins feature removes all winning symbols, and new characters drop down to fill the gaps. The Cascading Wins continues for as long as you keep winning, with wilds generated between the three removed symbols in the middle positions. The wilds remain in play for the duration of the feature and substitute for the regular paying symbols.

There is always a Princess by your side, and they can trigger the Girl Power Feature at random and gift you with the following rewards:

  • Love- She transforms one symbol type into another

  • Star- She adds 1-2 Wilds to the grid

  • Storm- She removes two symbol types from the grid

The Trinity Feature gets triggered when you land a single fox Scatter anywhere on the reels. It can get activated during the regular game or via the randomly triggered “What The Fox Feature “, and here you get a Free spin.

O trigger the Bonus Round, you need to clear the grid during the Trinity Feature, then you get to choose between the 3 Princesses before the feature starts, each one offering a decent number of Free Spins + extra spins per Fox Scatter. The maximum number of Free Spins during this feature is 150.

This Xmas version is well worth a spin. You could be walking away with a Xmas hamper worth 15000x your stake.