Blackjack is a game that requires nerve and skill to win big, rewarding risk-takers and those who aren’t afraid to take a gamble. The advent of online casinos means that you can play online Blackjack to try your hand at this classic game, but some have gained fame through their Blackjack exploits in casinos across the world. Let’s have a look at five of Blackjack’s most famous names.
Edward O. Thorp
One of the most famous Blackjack players, Edward O. Thorp, perfected the art of card counting and proved that such a practice helps a player in gaining an advantage over the house. His book, Beat the Dealer, outlines the mathematical principles behind his card counting strategies.
Thorp is also a mathematics professor and a hedge fund manager; he has used these skills to aid the development of his strategies. He was a key figure in developing probability theory, and this informed his research in card counting, making the now 87-year-old one of Blackjack’s most influential figures.
Stanford Wong, a pseudonym for his real name John Ferguson, is another important character in the history of Blackjack strategy and techniques. A prolific author on Blackjack and other casino games, Wong built a team of Blackjack players who would go around different casinos, working together to take advantage of the unbeknown casinos.
He is the creator of a technique called ‘wonging’, whereby a player watches the cards without wagering anything and then steps in when the cards are deemed to be advantageous to that player. Many casinos have been forced to introduce rules against this technique due to its success. Wong continues to run a website dedicated to tips and strategies for Blackjack.
Bryce Carlson is an example of someone who has gleaned expertise from other famous players to develop his knowledge and understanding of the game. Obsessed with the idea of getting one over on casinos, Carlson has devoted himself to studying Blackjack and becoming an expert. He is the author of Blackjack for Blood, in which he shares what he has learned from a lifetime of playing Blackjack.
Carlson is also a keen player of online Blackjack and has made it his business to master the online casino world. The nature of Carlson’s fame is that he often uses different online pseudonyms so that other players don’t hassle him for tips whilst he plays!
Ken Uston’s success was so great that ultimately he was banned from entering casinos. After dedicating himself to learning the tricks of the trade, and the art of card counting, Uston became one of the game’s best players and perfected the art of team play.
Uston was undeterred by being banned from many casinos, and would often wear disguises to hide his identity and win big on the Blackjack table. Uston successfully sued many of the casinos that had banned him, forcing them to re-think their policies on card counting. Having won millions from the game, Uston is one of the biggest names in the history of Blackjack.
Don Johnson rose to fame in 2011 after beating the Atlantic City casinos for over $15 million across six months.
Johnson’s winning streak crippled Atlantic City’s casinos and caused a sensation across the world. Eventually, both Tropicana Casino and Borgata Casino altered the conditions on which Johnson was allowed to play, while Caesars Casino banned him from taking part at all – a remarkable example of the effect one man can have on the casino industry.
All these figures have played a key role in the history of Blackjack, and some continue to have an impact on the game’s strategy and practices. Blackjack is a game that has seen a distinct evolution in playing style over the last 80 years or so, and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future.