History of Blackjack

Blackjack Hall of Fame

In 2002,  Max Rubin  convinced the  Barona Casino  in Lakeside, Calif., To stabilize a  Hall of Fame for Blackjack . Between 2003 and 2015, there were 20 honorees in the Blackjack Hall of Fame (including the nomination of a group of four in 2008, see the  Four Horsemen of Aberdeen ). Blackjack Hall of Fame recognition is a paradox: it is the most respected honor in blackjack , but conflicts with the goal of most blackjack pros to remain anonymous. A more detailed description of the achievements of Hall of Fame members appears in the  Blackjack Online ForumArnold Snyder’s. The publication dates of the books refer to the initial publication.

Al Francesco  (2003) – Pioneer of  team play .

Peter Griffin  (2003) – Mathematician who pioneered the method of evaluating  card counting systems . Author of  Theory of Blackjack  (1979).

Tommy Hyland  (2003) – Outstanding professional blackjack player and legendary blackjack team player.

Arnold Snyder  (2003) – Outstanding professional blackjack player and author of numerous influential books and articles, as well as one of the top leaders in the blackjack community, Arnold Snyder’s Online Blackjack Forum .

Edward O. Thorp  (2003) – Universally respected as the father of card counting. His editions of  Beat the Dealer  (1962) were bestsellers of the description of  basic strategies  and methods  of card counting . Developing his systems as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), his books described his first attempts to use his computer-tested systems under casino conditions. His fame during the 1960s, though viewed with suspicion in the casino industry, was responsible for the steady increase in the popularity of blackjack.

Ken Uston  (2003) – Excellent professional blackjack player and author. His  Big Player  (1977) revealed to the public his adventures in casinos in general, as a professional and player of blackjack card counting teams.

Stanford Wong  (2003) – Excellent professional blackjack player, analyst and author. The  Professional Blackjack  (1975), second, Arnold Snyder, ‘had a profound impact on the serious players, therefore, provided the card counters an easy and powerful method of attacking the abundant game’ 4-deck shoe ” who had dominated Las Vegas. Many professionals still think of card counting opportunities such as ‘pre-Wong’ and ‘post-Wong’. “

Max Rubin  (2004) – Founder of  the Blackjack Hall of Fame  and founder and host of the annual Blackjack Ball Conference  . Innovative in team play strategies   . Author of Comp City  (1994).

Keith Taft  (2004) – Inventor and innovator in computer devices for blackjack, decades before the concept ‘wearable computers’.

Julian Braun  (2005) – Mathematician and Computer Engineer, who developed the leading card-countingsystem programs   in the first generation of the computer age. According to Arnold Snyder of the Blackjack Hall of Fame and  Blackjack Forum Online , his programs were used to develop all Lawrence Revere systems as well as Hi-Op systems. From professional players ‘pre-Stanford Wong’ (pros who played before the first edition of Wong’s  Professional Blackjack , which came out in 1975), most of which used Thorp’s Ten Count, Thorp’s Hi-Lo, Hi-Opt I, Hi-Opt II, Revere’s Point Count, Revere’s +/-, or Revere’s Advanced Point Count. These were the most popular and widely disseminated systems in use for about 10 years, and Julian Braun’s programs were used to develop  all of them. ”  Author of  How to Play Winning Blackjack  (1980).

Lawrence Revere  (2005) – Pioneering author of Playing Blackjack as a Business  (1969) and developer of card counting systems   .

James Grosjean  (2006) – Outstanding professional blackjack player. His impressions of  Beyond Counting(2000) were sold for a minimum of $ 2,000 per copy. His privately published expanded publication (also called  Exhibit CAA , after the number of exposures of the original book in a lawsuit against him, which he eventually won from various casinos) is on sale only to people known personally to the author. It is considered to be the most advanced blackjack game manual.

John Chang  (2007) – Outstanding professional blackjack player and manager  of blackjack teams at MIT .

Four Horsemen of Aberdeen  (2008) – Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott. In 1956 and 1957, they published the first  accurate basic strategies . This was a milestone in the history of blackjack, the basis for later strategy systems, and a remarkable achievement in math as it was done with the equivalent of tabletop calculators. Co-authored by  Playing Blackjack to Win (1957).

Richard W. Munchkin  (2009) – Outstanding professional blackjack player, author and analyst. Author of Gambling Wizards  (2002).

James Grosjean  (2010) – Outstanding professional blackjack player.

Zeljko Ranogajec  (2011) – Outstanding professional blackjack player Considered one of the world’s highest limit casino players, he has already made bets estimated at more than $ 1 billion per year.

Ian Andersen  (2012) – Pioneering author of  Turning the Tables on Las Vegas  (1976) and  Burning the Tables on Las Vegas  (1999).

Robert Nersesian  (2013) – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Lawyer responsible for representing casino players in historical decisions against casinos.

Don Schlesinger  (2014) – Widely recognized as one of the leading analysts and author of blackjack systems and books, with his famous editions of  Blackjack Attack  (1997).

Blackjack Strategy Terms

Basic Strategy  – The ideal method for playing non-card blackjack : when picking, holding, folding, dividing, holding, and giving up, based on the player’s cards and the dealer’s exposed cards. Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott (a / k / a in  Four Horsemen of Aberdeen ) validated the first version of the basic strategy in 1956-1957 with desk calculators. The basic strategy varies in certain situations, depending on the casino’s rules on doubling, division, and if the dealer picks up or is on a soft 17.

Card counting – Numerous methods of tracking the composition of disputed cards (and therefore the remaining cards) on a blackjack table or ‘shoe’ in progress. The general theory behind long-mathematically validated card counting is that a relatively large proportion of ten, ten cards to the remaining ten, jacks, queens and kings are favorable to the player. The basic score involves keeping to about the count every time a ten-worth card appears, when a card worth three, four, five, or six appears. Card counting systems become more complex when incorporating aces, more decks, different values ​​for certain cards, and level bets. The purpose of card counting systems is to identify when a deck or shoe is favorable or unfavorable, and adjust betting values ​​(and occasionally the basic strategy) accordingly. In practice, the strategy of drastic changes in betting levels is mitigated by the suspicion of card counters in casinos.

Team Play – Where groups of blackjack players maximize favorable situations by having players betting small amounts and keeping score running at several blackjack tables in the casino. When the composition of uncontested cards strongly favor the player, they signal a ‘big player’, who moves between the tables placing big bets. Like other methods depending on card counting, the deception involving interplay between teams is unquestionably cool but still discouraged by many casinos.

Blackjack in Movies and Books

21 (2008 film) – Based on Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House , a fictional version of the experiences of the MIT Blackjack Team.

Beat the Dealer (book by Dr. Edward O. Thorp, first published in 1962) – Best-selling book on basic blackjack strategy, card counting, and Dr. Thorp’s experiences testing his academic theories in casinos, casinos that gave advice and funded research.

The Big Player (book by Ken Uston, 1977) – The first book that reveals to the public the secret world of card counters and team play in blackjack. Combined with strategies and reviews of Uston’s casino adventures.

Bringing Down the House (Ben Mezrich’s book, 2002) – Best-selling book based on the experiences of the MIT Blackjack Team . Generally characterized as a work of non-fiction, it includes altered names, invented dialogues, compound characters, and altered descriptions of events for the purpose of storytelling. The basis for the movie 21 .

The Hangover (2009 film) – Comedy about a bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas. It includes a scene in which Alan (played by Zach Galifianakis), unlike his generally comic behavior, brilliantly plays blackjack, counts cards and wins a lot.

Heat (1986 film) – Action-adventure film starring Burt Reynolds as a bodyguard in Las Vegas. It features scenes of Reynolds winning and losing much in blackjack. Based on the novel and screenplay by famous screenwriter William Goldman.

Rain Man (1988 film) – Acclaimed film starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. He won four Academy Awards in 1989: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director (Barry Levinson) and Best Actor (Hoffman). The story concerns a cross-country trip of two brothers, with Hoffman as an institutionalist autistic and Cruise as a selfish and abrasive man before knowing the existence of his brother. They stop in Las Vegas to stay at Caesars Palace, and Raymond (Hoffman’s character) uses his mathematical and mnemonic skills to win in blackjack.

The Greatest Payments in Blackjack History

Don Johnson , CEO of a horse racing computer systems developer, earned $ 15 million in blackjackbetween December 2010 and April 2011. The losing casino was Tropicana ($ 6 million), Borgata ($ 5 million ), and Caesars ($ 4 million), all from Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Because of the size of his action, he negotiated favorable gaming conditions with casinos: a 20 percent discount on losses, the ability to wager up to $ 100,000 per hand, split and double up to 4 times, and the requirement for the dealers keep it soft.

Kerry Packer , an Australian billionaire of media, was known as ‘King of the Whales’ in casinos around the world in the 1990s and 2000s. Stories of his greatest victories and defeats are generally unverifiable, containing only certain particulars in particular. In 1995 or 1997 (or maybe both), he had a gigantic blackjack win at the MGM Grand , Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Playing six hands of $ 200,000 (or $ 250,000) per hand, he earned between $ 20- $ 40 million. (A published report said the series of wins happened in 40 minutes.) His successful casino game was reported as the cause of Aspinall’s closurein 1990. On a 1990’s New Year’s Eve at the ‘Las Vegas Hilton,’ he earned $ 8- $ 10 million in blackjack, leaving his annual casino bonuses enough to fund his executives and their annual bonuses. He was also known for giving out extravagant tips, which was confirmed by casino executives after his death in 2005. He once left a tip at The Mirage for $ 1 million. On another occasion, he asked a waitress to come back with the balance of his home mortgage (which ended up being $ 150,000) and paid it.

Random Facts About Blackjack

Beyond Anonymity

Because of the distrust of casinos dealing with blackjack pros, successful blackjack players often avoid advertising and recognition, a practice that makes it difficult to verify their accomplishments – or even their identities. For example, best-selling author and player Ian Andersen ( Turning the Tables on Las Vegas , Burning the Tables on Las Vegas ) is completely unknown. For almost 40 years, he used a pseudonym in his writing. His image never appeared publicly. Even the best pros and insiders in the blackjack community have no idea how it looks or even their name or how to contact them.

The King of Betting

Australian blackjack player and sports bettor, Zeljko Ranogajec , is reputed to be the biggest casino player in the world. Their total annual bets were estimated at approximately $ 1 billion per year.

The Man Who (Almost) Broke Atlantic City

Don Johnson , CEO of a horse racing computer systems developer, earned $ 15 million in blackjackbetween December 2010 and April 2011. The losing casino was Tropicana ($ 6 million), Borgata ($ 5 million ), and Caesars ($ 4 million), all from Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Because of the size of his action, he negotiated favorable gaming conditions with casinos: a 20 percent discount on losses, the ability to wager up to $ 100,000 per hand, split and double up to 4 times, and the requirement for the dealers keep it soft.


James Grosjean , is an excellent blackjack pro and theoretician, is one of the hottest commodities in publications. His only book, Beyond Counting (2000), sells for at least $ 2,000 per copy for reserved collectors. He then published a very expanded private edition, also known as the CAA Exhibit title , after the number of exposures of the original book in a lawsuit he won against several casinos. He allegedly sold this only to people he knew personally or presented to him from trusted sources.

Blackjack Ball

Since 1997 Max Rubin has introduced the annual Blackjack Ball . It happens in a secret location and brings together elite blackjack players from around the world in a night of talk and competition along with the selection of a new Blackjack Hall of Fame member . (Photos not allowed.) Participants compete in a series of rigorous tests of technical knowledge, skill in card counting, advanced strategies, history and curiosities by the coveted Grosjean Cup . The prize was named because James Grosjean of the Blackjack Hall of Fame won the event three times and was subsequently banned from competing. The second prize was named Munchkin Award, by Richard Munchkin, of the Blackjack Hall of Fame who finished second in the competition three times against him, and also, was banned.

MIT Blackjack Team

This is technically a misnomer. There were several MIT Blackjack teams, and they were not usually made up of MIT students. (Most undergraduates are too young to play legally in casinos in the United States.) Over a period of many years, there have been several teams (sometimes simultaneously, sometimes unaware of each other’s existence) of blackjack of trained players in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Because of the discipline and intelligence necessary for the organization and management of a blackjack team, several administrators and early members were MIT graduate students and alumni. Informal means of recruitment led other graduates or alumni to participate.

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