Biographies of Famous Blackjack Mines Games Tips Players
Famous blackjack players have given back to the game in more ways than one. In addition to making the game popular, many of the best players have helped the next generation of players learn blackjack.
The contributions of the most famous players in blackjack cannot be overstated. Without their input, we may not have the best online casinos to play blackjack that many players enjoy today.
Keep reading to see biographies of ten of the most well-known blackjack players. Learning from these blackjack legends can help you become a better player. It can also help you gain a better appreciation for the game itself.
Starting off my list of famous blackjack players is none other than Don Johnson. This Oregon-born blackjack player made headlines in 2011. Johnson earned more than $15 million from blackjack casinos in Atlantic City in just six months.
To accomplish this feat, Johnson needed some help from the casinos themselves. He was asked to play at casinos that were desperate following the 2008 financial crisis. Johnson used the casinos’ desperation to gain an edge through new rules such as the dealer standing on a soft 17 and a 20% cashback rebate.
The next person on this list of famous players in blackjack is John Ferguson, better known as Stanford Wong. Wong helped shape modern blackjack with his 1975 book Professional Blackjack. He has written many other books about blackjack and created software to analyze blackjack odds.
Some of the blackjack books written by Wong include:
- Professional Blackjack
- Blackjack Secrets
- Basic Blackjack
- Tournament Blackjack
- Winning Without Counting
Wong also popularized an advantage play technique, commonly known as “Wonging.” His strategy requires players to wait to play until the deck’s count is in the player’s favor before they start to play. He now owns a publishing company, Pi Yee Press, and is a member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame.
Gambling tends to be a male-dominated game, but plenty of women have found success in the field. Alice Walker, for example, rose to fame in the early 2000s by winning major gambling tournaments. Walker won the 2007 World Series of Blackjack, becoming the first woman to claim the top spot.
Her success continued in blackjack and other card games. Walker even earned a spot in the Blackjack Hall of Fame for her success as a player.
Bryce Carlson is another well-known blackjack player that helped to shape the game as we know it. He authored Blackjack for Blood, one of the best books about the game. Carlson was also one of the pioneers of online blackjack in the latest 1990s.
One of Carlson’s biggest contributions to the game of blackjack was the Omega II System. This card-counting system has been shown to be more efficient and accurate than many other methods. Carlson’s system is also complex, and it can take a lot of practice to master well enough to be profitable.
Another player who became famous as an early contributor to modern blackjack was Ken Uston. He was one of the early masters of card counting and is best known for his work with team-based strategies.
Uston also wrote several books about blackjack, including:
- The Big Player
- Million Dollar Blackjack
- One Third of a Shoe
- Ken Uston on Blackjack
As a blackjack player, Uston made a name for himself at casinos across the world. After being banned from multiple casinos in New Jersey, Uston sued Resorts International Hotel in 1982. He won the case, and the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that casinos could not ban players for counting cards.
Peter A. Griffin
The inaugural class of the Blackjack Hall of Fame included seven people, one of which was Peter A. Griffin. A mathematician, Griffin authored one of the most well-known books about blackjack, The Theory of Blackjack. Griffin had to be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously as he passed away in 1998.
In addition to writing one of the most influential books about blackjack, Griffin used his math skills to contribute to the game in other ways. He was the first person to calculate the average gains per hand when using basic blackjack strategy. Also, Griffin was the first mathematician to determine the average house edge of blackjack to be 2%.
Next up is Al Francesco, who has been nicknamed “The Godfather of Blackjack.” With a moniker like that, Francesco certainly deserves a spot on this list.
Francesco was one of the first players to devise and popularize a team-based blackjack strategy. His strategy, The Big Player, inspired blackjack players on multiple fronts. It has been featured in books and movies, including the 2008 hit movie 21.
To create his strategy, Francesco combined the works of other famous blackjack mathematicians. He proved their strategies worked by beating casinos consistently, and even receiving several bans in the process. Francesco was one of the seven people inducted into the inaugural class of the Blackjack Hall of Fame in 2002.
Edward O. Thorp
Edward O. Thorp is another important contributor to the game of blackjack. He used early versions of computers, like the IMB 704, to develop his blackjack strategy. Thorp successfully tested his strategies in Nevada casinos.
He then shared his results with the public by writing books. Thorp authored several books about gambling, including:
- Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One
- The Mathematics of Gambling
- A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market
Thorp shared his new blackjack strategy with the world in Beat the Dealer. In the book, Thorp showed readers that players could overcome the house edge consistently through card counting.
To add to his legacy, Thorp’s work inspired many of the other blackjack players on this list, including Al Francesco. He was also part of the first class of Blackjack Hall of Fame inductees.
Don Schlesinger, another member of the Blackjack Hall of Fame, has been a fixture of the game for over five decades. Schlesinger contributed in multiple ways, such as writing multiple books about blackjack.
In his books, Schlesinger covers popular card counting techniques, risk analysis, and many other important blackjack subjects. He has also worked with other well-known blackjack players to create new books and strategies. Some of the players Schlesinger has collaborated with include Stanford Wong, Peter Griffin, and Edward Thorp.
MIT Blackjack Team
Rounding out this list of famous players in blackjack is the infamous MIT Blackjack Team. This is one of the most well-known, and most successful, blackjack teams ever created. Every member of this team was a graduate of MIT.
The original MIT Blackjack Team was formed in 1979. Members used card counting methods popularized by Al Francesco and others. While the original team cashed out after their early success, other iterations of the team continued until the mid-1990s.
Online Blackjack Tips
All of the blackjack players above changed the game in one way or another. Their contributions have made them famous among fans of blackjack. Here are three blackjack tips that can help you become a good enough player to be famous in your own right.
Read Blackjack Books
One of the best ways for a famous player to leave a lasting impact on the game of blackjack is to write a book. Many of the players above changed the game with their ground-breaking blackjack books.
Reading books written by famous players can help you learn how to be a successful player. You can learn a lot of different blackjack strategies by reading books.
Not every blackjack strategy book will help you improve your game, though. Make sure that you choose books that cover proven strategies. Also, look for updated versions of older books that may include new strategies that can work in online games.
Play Live Dealer Blackjack Games
Many advantage play blackjack strategies require you to pay close attention to the deck and the dealer. This is not possible in some online versions of blackjack because they use random number generators (RNGs) instead of dealers.
You can avoid this issue by sticking to live dealer games. Top blackjack sites, like Ignition Casino, have great selections of live dealer blackjack games. Playing live dealer games will allow you to use many traditional advantage play methods.
Use Mobile Blackjack Apps
A third tip for becoming a better online blackjack player is to use mobile casino apps. Using your mobile device to play blackjack is a great way to enjoy the classic card game.
You cannot get better at blackjack without practicing, and you will need to practice a lot to be consistently successful. Using mobile casino apps can help you increase the average number of hands that you see.
Mobile blackjack is also more convenient than any other option. You can play anytime, anywhere, using mobile apps like the one offered by Ignition Casino. There are even free blackjack games available on mobile apps that can help you practice without spending your bankroll.
Who Is Your Favorite Famous Blackjack Player?
Famous blackjack players have done more for the game than just scare casino owners. Many of the best players have changed the game by developing new strategies, writing books, and popularizing the game itself. Check out the list above to see 10 well-known blackjack players that had major impacts on how the game developed.