Blackjack Legends and Strange Casino Tales

Legends Reputed To Be True

1995 - The Million Dollar Bum

He was a bum, no doubt about it. He was rude, he was crude, and he smelled bad. His wife had kicked him out of the house and he was at loose ends. He decided to do what bums do... gamble his money away. He cashed in his $400 Social Security check and headed for the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas.

He plunked himself down at a blackjack table and turned his $400 into over one million dollars. They say he was a nasty man, making no friends along the way. It was also said that he smelled so bad that nobody wanted to sit near him at the blackjack table. But all agree he was one lucky bum for as long as it lasted.

A smart man would have quit playing blackjack with a million dollar wad and lived a life of luxury and ease. A smarter man would have quit long before the million dollar mark lest his luck at the blackjack tables turn sour and he lose his wad. But this man was a bum, and he did what bums do. He kept playing blackjack and lost most of his wad. He was escorted out of the casino just before he hit rock bottom, and the legend was borne.

It was said that he played his own odds, not using blackjack's Basic Strategy, but following his own road. The road that led him to fortune, and ruin.

What can we say but... so long, sucker!

1980's - The Suitcase Man

A suitcase full of money... $777,000 to be exact, and he bet the whole wad on one roll of the dice.

Binion's Gambling Hall in Las Vegas advertised that they would book any bet no matter how big, as long as it was your first bet. William Lee Bergstrom arrived at Binion's Gambling Hall with a suitcase full of money to challenge the claim. He bet the whole shebang on the craps table Don't Pass line. The dice favored Bergstrom and he doubled his money and left.

He was hooked. He returned to the casino to win another $590,000 but it didn't end there... he came back yet again and won $190,000. And yet again for another $90,000.

Finally, he showed up at Binion's Gambling Hall and bet $1,000,000. Yup, one million buckaroos. Think of what he could have done with all that money... he could have been set for life. But instead, he gambled it. The whole wad. And lost it. But even then he was still ahead $647,000.

As the old adage goes, money does not buy happiness. And it was certainly true for Bergstrom. He was not a happy man. And his next big wager proved it.

Three months later, he upped the ante yet again. This time the stakes were deadly. He wagered his own life. And he lost. He played Russian Roulette with his six-shooter and drew the short bullet. Perhaps he'd have been luckier at the blackjack tables...


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