Forget hustling casinos—that’s old news. Since the MIT blackjack team wrote a book and had their story turned into a terrible movie called “21,” the allure of casinos has worn off. We all know how it’s done: you count the cards and make a statistical guess about whether you’re likely to beat the dealer—there’s no magic in it.
Beating carnival games, on the other hand, still seems impossible. The common lore you hear growing up is that the games are fixed and therefore physically impossible to win—the toy rifle’s scope is bent, the milk bottles are actually glued to their platform.
As it turns out, most of us just suck at carnival games.
Peter Drakos of Detroit is something of a carnival game savant, first realizing his talent at the age of 9 when he won enough toys at the carnival to supply every kid in his school with one.
Since then Drakos has been going to carnivals and absolutely destroying. Drakos is so good carnivals have actually had to impose limits on winning. He’s like the rogue card counter who all the casinos fear. Except there’s only one of him, and there’s no pit boss to come throw him out or distract him with an upgrade to a suite. Drakos takes so many toys from carnivals he needs carriages to haul them out. He’s got a storage space to house his winnings.
What does an old guy with grey hair want with carnival toys? He gives them away to kids’ charities. Drakos estimates he’s given away at least 250,000 to different charities over the years.
I smell an “Ocean’s 14″ coming on, y’all.