Blackjack’s Legendary Players


Don Johnson, Tom Hyland, Lawrence Revere, Edward Thorp, Stanford Wong, and the MIT blackjack team are some of the famous and infamous names connected to the game of 21. They became known because of their exploits, huge winnings and contributions to the game of blackjack.

The world of blackjack has more notable players worth mentioning.

Arnold Snyder


A successful professional player and author of gambling books, Snyder was pushed to study and analyze the game as he wanted to make a living out of playing blackjack. He diligently read published books about blackjack, training himself to play with low stakes. He immersed himself with the game, observing and combining both card counting and card shuffling to gain advantage over the dealer. His very first published book, The Blackjack Formula, paved the way to his becoming a highly prolific author about gambling.

Bryce Carlson


Carlson began playing the game of 21 during the 1970s. Through his association with other great blackjack players, he eventually became a professional player himself. In his book Blackjack for Blood, Carlson shared his strategies in winning blackjack. The book is quite comprehensive and served as a guide for those wanting to master blackjack. He developed the programs Omega II Blackjack Machine and Omega II Blackjack Casino to better analyze one’s game.

Russ Hamilton


Hamilton is both a seasoned blackjack and poker player. He started out as a poker player but was pulled into blackjack when he moved to Las Vegas. He and other blackjack players had teamed up to join tournaments. When blackjack tournaments were cancelled, he went back to playing poker. However, he later introduced Elimination Blackjack, which is a form of tournament that eventually transitioned into the television show Ultimate Blackjack Tournament. He later became a consultant of Ultimate Bet in matters about the gaming industry.

Ken Uston


Ken Uston was the king of blackjack in Las Vegas back in the 70s and 80s. He studied blackjack strategies and card counting to excel in the game. He got banned from casinos because of card counting. He was not only a mathematical strategist but also a master in disguise as he wore different disguises to sneak in casinos to play blackjack.

Thanks to Uston, card counters are no longer banned from casinos. This was the offshoot of Uston’s lawsuit against three casinos that banned him from playing back in the day. He is the author of The Big Player, which highlighted lessons learned from Al Francesco’s card counting. He also wrote Million Dollar Blackjack which is all about card counting, blackjack teams and ways of getting ahead of the game. Born in 1935, Uston passed away in 1987.

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