Dana White has beaten the house.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship president was a frequent guest at the Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, where he was known to play $25,000 per hand. But White did so well — winning a reported $2 million — that he said the casino’s brass “asked me not to play anymore.”
White’s game of choice was said to be blackjack, which is actually the only game in the casino where the player has a slight edge on the house.
White has a long history with the Palms. Two years ago he instituted a boycott of the casino, taking away UFC events after the casino cut his line of credit in half.
But in March the casino sent a goodwill gesture to try winning Dana White back — a case of his favorite wine, the $5,000-a-bottle 2001 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet.
The reunion didn’t last long. White said after his winning streak, Palms management said his limit was being reduced from $25,000 per hand to $5,000.
White said he’s not cheating the casino, he’s just really, really good at gambling.
“A lot of people are going to think I’m a card counter after that Ben Affleck thing at the Hard Rock,” White said, referring to an incident in which the actor was accused of gaming the blackjack table. “I’m the farthest thing from card counter.”
White added that he’s running out of places in Las Vegas to gamble.
“Casinos don’t want to gamble anymore,” White said. “They’re all owned by hedge funds and corporations. They want to stack the odds so much against you that won’t play. Realistically, there’s only one place to play left in town. That’s Caesars. They will let you play what you want to play. No messing around with limits.”
The ban may actually hurt the Palms staff more than anything. Dana White was known as a more-than-generous tipper, with rumors that he gave $200,000 to card dealers during his three-month winning streak. He has also been known to tip servers at Palms restaurant N9ne Steakhouse $10,000 on a $10,000 bill.
White still has a sense of humor about his ban from the Palms. The UFC president said he heard a rumor that the casino was sending a trophy that read, “congrats you kicked our a** and made us tap out.”
Speaking to Las Vegas Review Journal columnist Norm Clarke, Dana White denied that he has a gambling problem.
Evidently it’s the Palms that has the problem.