Poll

7 votes (50%)
2 votes (14.28%)
4 votes (28.57%)
3 votes (21.42%)
No votes (0%)
5 votes (35.71%)
1 vote (7.14%)
2 votes (14.28%)
1 vote (7.14%)
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14 members have voted

Wizard
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Wizard
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October 11th, 2021 at 3:26:55 PM permalink
Most of us have heard the story of "Shoeless Joe." As it goes, he was a vagrant who wandered into the Treasure Island with a $400 Social Security check, parlayed it into $1.6 million playing blackjack at $5,000 a hand and then lost it all. More details on the story can be found at Snopes.com.

The Washington Post wrote an article titled WHAT ARE THE ODDS? CAN A SHOELESS GUY WALK IN AND BREAK THE BANK IN LAS VEGAS?.

I endeavor to answer that question in my latest article, CAN A SHOELESS GUY WALK IN AND BREAK THE BANK IN LAS VEGAS? YES, HE CAN!. The reason I wrote it is the question has come up how the Shoeless Joe story compares to some of the incredible claims made on this site.

As always, I welcome all comments, questions, and corrections. If positive, please leave them as a comment to the article. If negative, please leave them here or PM me. It took a fair bit of time to write the simulation and then write the article, so forgive me if I draw extra attention to it with this thread. Thank you.

The question for the poll is do you believe the story of Shoeless Joe?
Last edited by: Wizard on Oct 11, 2021
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
MDawg
MDawg
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October 11th, 2021 at 4:03:55 PM permalink
Given the casino employees who told me the story from what they observed and knew firsthand, I know the story to be true.

Keep in mind that while the shoeless bandit took $400. to some $1.6M, he also kept playing until he lost it all.



Fine. So the chances of a poor Blackjack player like the shoeless bandit who would double on a hard 12 and split 10s taking $400. to $1.6M are 1 in 9,000,000 - maybe that is correct.

But - these calculations, of the odds of a good (perfect basic strategy) Blackjack player reaching $1.6M with a $400. bankroll:


would seem to imply that for every six thousand or so visitors to Vegas who were willing to risk $400., and play Blackjack well, one should walk, a millionaire? Of course, yes, that 1 in six thousand would need to be willing to press all the way, but still, the odds of success for even that scenario seem just too high. I don't play Five Card stud, but do you win a million dollars at that game for being dealt four of a kind?

I found this too:
https://easy.vegas/gambling/how-to-win-million-dollars
where the odds of taking $5. to a million are calculated as 1 / 260,000, BASED ON a table limit of just under a million, which yes, MIGHT be allowed for a special limits Baccarat player with a ten million or so line, but not otherwise.

Anyway, over all, I'd say that the chances that the shoeless bandit was 1 in nine million may make sense. That he (or anyone else who plays Vegas Blackjack with a $400. bankroll) was anywhere near 1 in six thousand - I don't think so. There may be something missing from the equation, perhaps such as when/if the player plays more than one hand? or...?

Regardless - THANKS! for taking the time to make the calculations.
Last edited by: MDawg on Oct 11, 2021
I tell you itís wonderful to be here, man. I donít give a damn who wins or loses. Itís just wonderful to be here with you people. https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/betting-systems/33908-the-adventures-of-mdawg/
gordonm888
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gordonm888
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October 11th, 2021 at 4:35:32 PM permalink
I thought the article was well done. A good thoughtful analysis.

Since improbable streaks has been in discussion so much lately, another way to look at it is:

If Shoeless Joe had gone all in, i.e., wagered his entire bankroll, on every bet, how many consecutive 1:1 wins (ignoring ties) would he have needed? (To be clear, we are assuming that no wins were doubles, split pairs and 3:2 Blackjacks.) The answer is: 12 consecutive wins. I think most math guys would readily admit that not only is that possible, but many of us have seen streaks in BJ that were that long and longer.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
MDawg
MDawg
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October 11th, 2021 at 4:41:03 PM permalink
We're figuring table limit at that time - 1995, at Treasure Island - $5000. Therefore, a straight parlay 12X would not apply.

For reasons that have been already discussed, that is the table limit the shoeless bandit ran into, although yes - he was reported to have played three hands at a time for $5000. each, at times.
Last edited by: MDawg on Oct 11, 2021
I tell you itís wonderful to be here, man. I donít give a damn who wins or loses. Itís just wonderful to be here with you people. https://wizardofvegas.com/forum/gambling/betting-systems/33908-the-adventures-of-mdawg/
mwalz9
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October 11th, 2021 at 4:44:54 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

I thought the article was well done. A good thoughtful analysis.

Since improbable streaks has been in discussion so much lately, another way to look at it is:

If Shoeless Joe had gone all in, i.e., wagered his entire bankroll, on every bet, how many consecutive 1:1 wins (ignoring ties) would he have needed? (To be clear, we are assuming that no wins were doubles, split pairs and 3:2 Blackjacks.) The answer is: 12 consecutive wins. I think most math guys would readily admit that not only is that possible, but many of us have seen streaks in BJ that were that long and longer.
link to original post



I went to Mardi Gras one day a few weeks ago. I bought into a blackjack table for $1,000. I crap you not, I played 14 hands. 2 pushes, 12 losses. $1,000 gone.
My bet structure was 50-50-50-50-50-75-75-100-100-100-100-200(all-in). My best hand was a 19. Dealer had blackjack that hand. While this is 12 non-wins in a row, while more likely than 12 non losses, it's not that much of a mathematical difference in probability. Especially using 100% perfect basic strategy. Imagine if I was martingaling. Same result, I'd have just saw 8-10 less hands. LoL

*Edited for small profanity, sorry*
AxelWolf
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Thanks for this post from:
LoquaciousMoFW
October 11th, 2021 at 5:49:22 PM permalink
Quote: mwalz9



I went to Mardi Gras one day a few weeks ago. I bought into a blackjack table for $1,000.

ROFLMAO.....
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
mwalz9
mwalz9 
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October 11th, 2021 at 5:57:24 PM permalink
Quote: AxelWolf

Quote: mwalz9



I went to Mardi Gras one day a few weeks ago. I bought into a blackjack table for $1,000.

ROFLMAO.....
link to original post



Whats funny?
AxelWolf
AxelWolf
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October 11th, 2021 at 6:06:43 PM permalink
Quote: mwalz9

Quote: AxelWolf

Quote: mwalz9



I went to Mardi Gras one day a few weeks ago. I bought into a blackjack table for $1,000.

ROFLMAO.....
link to original post



Whats funny?
link to original post

I assume you are talking about the one in LV given your other posts?
♪♪Now you swear and kick and beg us That you're not a gamblin' man Then you find you're back in Vegas With a handle in your hand♪♪ Your black cards can make you money So you hide them when you're able In the land of casinos and money You must put them on the table♪♪ You go back Jack do it again roulette wheels turinin' 'round and 'round♪♪ You go back Jack do it again♪♪
OnceDear
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OnceDear
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October 12th, 2021 at 5:32:57 AM permalink
Quote: mwalz9

I went to Mardi Gras one day a few weeks ago. I bought into a blackjack table for $1,000. I crap you not, I played 14 hands. 2 pushes, 12 losses. $1,000 gone.


A 14 loss streak was my most memorable. Playing on-line, I found myself with a bankroll of £495 and thought I'd marty it up to £500 before bed, starting at £1 base bet. Sort of daft trick I often do. I chickened out of the full marty, but still pressed hard.
14 Losses and a few pushes and zero wins later, I went to bed angry and £495 down. Should have been at least 97% likely to succeed, but it was not to be.
Beware. The earth is NOT flat. Hit and run is not a winning strategy: Pressing into trends IS not a winning strategy: Progressives are not a winning strategy: Don't Buy It! .Don't even take it for free.
ChallengedMilly
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October 12th, 2021 at 11:35:51 AM permalink
Quote: MDawg



I found this too:
https://easy.vegas/gambling/how-to-win-million-dollars
where the odds of taking $5. to a million are calculated as 1 / 260,000, BASED ON a table limit of just under a million, which yes, MIGHT be allowed for a special limits Baccarat player with a ten million or so line, but not otherwise.

Anyway, over all, I'd say that the chances that the shoeless bandit was 1 in nine million may make sense. That he (or anyone else who plays Vegas Blackjack with a $400. bankroll) was anywhere near 1 in six thousand - I don't think so. There may be something missing from the equation, perhaps such as when/if the player plays more than one hand? or...?

Regardless - THANKS! for taking the time to make the calculations.
link to original post

So I recently tried to do this on my recent casino trip and pressed up to a few thousand before chickening out of going the distance. I do feel like there's some weird truthfulness to it that if enough people tried this method we'd have a lot of millionaires walking out of the casinos.

The main problem I ran into is I more than paid for my trip with the winnings. Why press further to potentially lose it all? I don't have that reckless gene to go big. Same reason I couldn't get up the courage to take a 40 hand stab at a $25000 progressive $5 a hand videk poker machine. While the payoff is small time life-changing, throwing away a grand or two with nothing to show for it also sucks.

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