Blackjack Legends

Blackjack is one of the oldest casino games in the world, and it might just be the most popular one too. Unlike Slots, which are based on pure luck, or Roulette, where the strategy is concentrated in the bets you place rather than the moves you make, Blackjack is a heady blend of chance and serious skill. It’s got a lot in common with Poker, as anyone who has played that game at Mummys Gold will be able to tell you.

It takes a lot of time and patience to develop strong blackjack chops, but the most seductive thing about this game is that it is possible. The best Blackjack players live like royalty, and they’ve also all got some interesting stories to tell. This list is woefully incomplete, but it should inspire you to develop your own game of 21 a little more.

 

Bryce Carlson

 

  • Developed his professional skills by talking and exchanging tips with other skilled players
  • Wrote Blackjack for Blood for anybody who wanted to learn about the game, not just for professional players
  • Was part of a group of professional players who gathered at online casinos to play in the late 1990s when Internet Blackjack exploded
  • Had a losing streak that lasted 47 hours once, and took 141 hours to recoup
  • Created the Omega II Blackjack Machine to help him analyse the game for his own development, and then created a similar programme, the Omega II Blackjack Casino, to help players

 

Edward O. Thorp

 

  • An American mathematics professor who has used his skills to develop as a professional Blackjack player and a hedge fund manager on Wall Street
  • Invented a card counting technique for Blackjack, where players need to keep track of the cards that have been played in order to determine the cards that are remaining
  • Following great success in card counting, published a book called Beat the Dealer
  • Beat the Dealer was immensely popular and drew a lot of attention to the game of Blackjack

 

Don Johnson

 

  • In 2010, as part of the American financial crisis that started in 2008, casinos tried to entice Johnson and other high rollers to their tables by offering incredibly high stakes
  • Had an understanding of the game that was helped by his time working at racetracks and as a regulator in several states
  • Negotiated several changes to gain a mathematical edge, and then played these high-stakes games
  • Won more than $15 million at The Tropicana, The Borgata and Caesars in Atlantic City, over just 6 months
  • Didn’t count the cards, but beat the casinos at their own game and was ordered to stop playing under his negotiated conditions
  • Caesars has even banned Johnson from all of their establishments worldwide!

 

Stanford Wong

 

  • Stanford Wong is a pseudonym; the real person is John Ferguson
  • Wrote a book called Professional Blackjack and several other guides
  • Started playing while in graduate school as a way of making money
  • Created computer software called the Blackjack Analyzer, to assess Blackjack odds
  • Has a place in Blackjack culture, with Wonging a recognised term used to refer to a playing method described in his first book
  • If a player is Wonging, they hop tables when playing the shoe game

 

Tommy Hyland

 

  • More than simply a Blackjack player, Hyland is an activist and lobbyist for Blackjack players’ rights
  • Mastered card counting using Blackjack guides around 1979
  • Played successfully on his own and formed one of the earliest Blackjack teams
  • Used various Blackjack strategies to win when playing individually and as part of a team
  • Banned by most casinos for card counting, but still plays with his team today