Joe Maloof, co-owner of the Palms Casino & Resort and the Sacramento Kings basketball team, won the $1 Million Blackjack Tournament at the Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino last week.
Maloof played 120 hands during the two-day, four-round tournament. Down $16,000 entering the last hand, Maloof hit a $25,000 blackjack to win the winner-take-all event. His brother Gavin Maloof, co-owner of the Kings, was eliminated in the semifinals.
Reacting to his million-dollar win, Maloof said, "The only thing that would make me happier is if the Kings won the championship."
Maloof was one of 41 entrants and advanced through the invitation-only event. After anteing up a $10,000 entrance fee, contestants were issued $50,000 in tournament chips to be used per round, with a minimum bet of $1,000 or maximum bet of $25,000 per hand required.
"We are thrilled that Mr. Maloof won our inaugural blackjack tournament," said Nick Dillon, executive director of casino operations for the Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino. "The caliber of player and excitement surrounding this first-of-its-kind tournament was unprecedented and demonstrates that Barona Valley Ranch can attract high-profile players with our world-class gaming and hospitality."
Maloof acknowledged that he struggled early, losing nine of 10 hands at one point, and figured he was a goner. It was a four-round tournament, with each round consisting of 30 hands.
A million dollars. Even for a man of immense wealth, that’s still some serious pocket change.