About blackjack

THE BLACKJACK PLAYER, although fiction is based on the authors real life experience as a card counter in the mid-eighties in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. For over ten years, the author was passionately involved with the game, reading every book available and hundreds of hours “counting down a deck” on the kitchen table.

“Counting” cards simply refers to mentally keeping track of the ratio of high cards to low cards as they are being played. It has nothing to do with memorizing what cards have been dealt, although that is a secondary mental skill that is necessary, at least for certain cards. The fives and  aces. 

They are the most important cards to keep track of. There are dozens of different count systems on the market by various “experts” and I’ve experimented with most of them. Some are mentally very arduous, but work. Some are simplistic and have only a marginal degree of success. Some are total BS. In Blackjack, each and every hand is a separate bet, with its own odds and probability factors. Every time you misplay a hand, your raising the odds against yourself by about 1.2%. The average amateur is playing at about a 12-15% disadvantage. Really bad playing can go as high as 20 to 25%. They would be  much better off playing slots. If you played every hand perfectly, called “basic strategy,” according to the computer studies done by Julian Braun in the fifties, you’d be playing at about 1.5% in favor of the house. Almost even. With smart money management and choosing your games correctly, and learning how to ”play” your luck, you can win at blackjack without counting. The average gambler loses mostly because he doesn’t recognize when he’s having a lucky streak and how to take advantage. Lucky streaks are real, a time when normal probabilities are suspended, and they will not last forever, so bet aggressively.


However, a counter wins by following the matrix numbers, the chart that tells him when to deviate from basic strategy, (according to the count) Counting in itself doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t know your matrix numbers. Always spilt Ace’s and eight’s and never ever play a game where you’re not allowed to double any two cards. It’s the single most important tool in your arsenal. I have been asked many times if counters can be banned from casinos for counting. The short answer is yes, because a casino is essentially a private business, they can drum up any excuse they want for unbecoming behavior or whatever. however they have been sued numerous times and lost every case. The courts ruled that counting is not cheating, just highly skilled playing. I have personally been thrown out of the Horseshoe casino in Vegas, and probably got my picture in Griffins brown book. The record used by the Griffin detective agency employed by the casinos for "cheaters." (the Griffin detective agency has since gone out of business as a result of the court rulings, being no longer employed by the casinos)

When the blackjack books came out in the late sixties, starting with arguably the "bible" of card counting, Edward Thorps Beat the Dealer, the casinos got very paranoid and would ban counters fairly quickly, considering them cheating, but In recent years, they have loosened up quite a bit because they've learned that very few counters even get good enough to win any serious money. In fact, every time a new blackjack book comes out, their table revenue goes up about 30%. Call up any casino and tell them your a counter and you have a minimum of $10,000 dollars to play and they'd send a charter plane for you. Most casinos by and large still consider card counting "cheating," a misnomer that to my way of thinking is almost criminal. The one exception I'm aware of is The Barona Resort Casino in San Diego. They not only welcome counters, they have established a tribute to the legendary blackjack players who have contributed to the playing or knowledge of the game. Called the Blackjack players hall of fame. 


                   The current members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame are the following


  • Al Francesco, 2002, one of the founders of the concept of blackjack teams.

  • Peter Griffin, 2002, mathematician, theoretical pioneer and author of The Theory of Blackjack.

  • Arnold Snyder, 2002, former professional player, author and editor of Blackjack Forum.

  • Edward O. Thorp, 2002, author of the 1960s classic Beat the Dealer

  • Ken Uston, 2002, professional player and author who popularized the concept of team play, often playing in disguise and successfully suing the Atlantic City casinos for the rights of card counters.

  • Stanford Wong, 2002, author and popularizer of the strategy known as "Wonging".

  • Tommy Hyland, 2002, manager of one of the longest-running blackjack teams.

  • Max Rubin, 2004, expert and author, known for media reporting about gambling events, and optimizing casino comps.

  • Keith Taft, 2004, inventor who manufactured hidden computerized devices to aid advantage play.

  • Julian Braun, 2005, pioneering author who used computers to analyze blackjack statistics.

  • Lawrence Revere, 2005, author of Playing Blackjack as a Business and blackjack teacher

  • James Grosjean, 2006, computer analyst and professional player, author of the classic Beyond Counting, who successfully sued casinos and the Griffin Agency.

  • John Chang, 2007, former manager of the MIT Blackjack Team; was the basis for the Mickey Rosa character in the movie 21.

  • Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott, 2008, collectively known as "The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen"[5] who, while serving in the U.S. Army in the 1950s, discovered and published in the Journal of the American Statistical Association the first accurate basic strategy for Blackjack, using only desk calculators.

  • Richard W. Munchkin, 2009, blackjack and backgammon expert,[6] author,[7] film director and producer.[8]

  • Darryl Purpose, 2010, former professional advantage player and performing songwriter.[9]

  • Zeljko Ranogajec, 2011,[10] professional gambler from Australia, former blackjack professional player.

  • Ian Andersen, 2012, expert and author[11][12]

  • Robert Nersesian, 2014, Las Vegas lawyer specializing in lawsuits by players against casinos.

  • Don Schlesinger, 2015, author, researcher, columnist, editor of numerous blackjack books, and long-time Blackjack player.[13]

  • Bill Benter, 2016, blackjack team manager and horse-racing expert. One of the highest earning gamblers in history.[14]

  • Don Johnson, 2017, beat the Atlantic City casinos for over $15 million.[15]

  • Wally Simmons, 2018, blackjack and horse handicapping pro.[15]

  • Rob Reitzen, 2019

  • Anthony Curtis, 2020, blackjack tournament player, author, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor, a newsletter founded in 1983 that covers discounts in Las Vegas, and operator of Huntington Press.[16]