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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?

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.

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.

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.

Quote:gordonm888I 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.

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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*

ROFLMAO.....Quote:mwalz9

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

Quote:AxelWolfROFLMAO.....Quote:mwalz9

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

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Whats funny?

I assume you are talking about the one in LV given your other posts?Quote:mwalz9Quote:AxelWolfROFLMAO.....Quote:mwalz9

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

link to original post

Whats funny?

link to original post

Quote:mwalz9I 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.

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.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

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.

I know most of the casinos here in the North East, he would have not even been allowed inside.

https://www.mardigrascasinowv.com/Quote:AxelWolfI assume you are talking about the one in LV given your other posts?

To help add evidence that the gist of it is true, I interviewed three people who worked at Treasure Island at the time, including a dealer who dealt to him face to face. For my telling of the story, please visit my latest Shoeless Joe article The Story of Shoeless Joe.

I welcome all comments.

I guess the biggest issue with the story is that at some point most people's brains would click over and go "I just made near f… you for life money, let's cash out and live a comfortable life." Ol Shoeless Joe brain just never clicked over.