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Best Blackjack Players Ever: Masters Of The Game

Best Blackjack Players

Blackjack, a game as intriguing as it is challenging, has seen many masters come and go, leaving behind legacies, strategies, and stories that have shaped the way the game is played and perceived.

Blackjack is always best enjoyed at land-based online casinos, but if you don’t have a land based casino nearby, give live blackjack a try. There are lots of great online casinos that offer live dealer blackjack, and playing feels almost as real as visiting a real life casino.

Without further ado, let’s dive in and learn about the masters.

Edward O. Thorp: The Father Of Card Counting

Edward O. Thorp, a mathematician and author of “Beat the Dealer,” is renowned for pioneering the technique of card counting. Thorp’s work laid the foundation for blackjack strategy, fundamentally changing the game and forcing casinos to alter their practices in response. His mathematical model provided players with a real edge over the house for the first time.

Key Contributions:

  • Developed the first wearable computer to predict the landing of the ball in roulette.
  • His book, “Beat the Dealer,” detailed his card counting system and strategies for blackjack.

Ken Uston: The Master Of Disguise

Ken Uston, celebrated for his exceptional card counting skills, famously took casinos by storm and then took them to court over the right to play. Uston was known for his clever disguises and the development of “card counting camouflage,” allowing him to continue playing despite being banned from many casinos.

Famous Strategies:

  • Advocated for team play in blackjack, increasing odds through coordinated efforts.
  • Legal battles led to rulings that casinos could not ban players for counting cards in New Jersey.

Stanford Wong: The Innovator Of “Wonging”

John Ferguson, who goes by the alias Stanford Wong, contributed significantly to blackjack strategy with the invention of “wonging.” This technique involves observing blackjack games and entering the play only when the conditions are most favorable.


  • “Professional Blackjack” and several other books have become essential readings for aspiring blackjack players.

Don Johnson: The Negotiator

Don Johnson, known for winning $15 million from Atlantic City casinos over six months, achieved this without card counting. Instead, Johnson negotiated specific rules to minimize the house edge and maximized his winnings through strategic play.


  • Negotiated for rules that reduced the house advantage.
  • Employed loss rebates effectively to tilt odds in his favor.

Keith Taft: The Tech Genius

Keith Taft, an engineer, developed electronic devices to assist in blackjack, revolutionizing the way the game could be approached with technology. His inventions led to casinos banning such devices, but not before Taft and his devices had made their mark.


  • Created the first “George,” a computer used to aid in blackjack play.

The MIT Blackjack Team: The Team Play Pioneers

The MIT Blackjack Team, known for their sophisticated card counting and team play strategies, won millions from casinos worldwide. Their story has been popularized in books and films, highlighting their mathematical approach to beating the odds.


  • Demonstrated the power of team collaboration and meticulous planning in gambling.

James Grosjean: The Strategist & Litigant

James Grosjean is celebrated for his mathematical approach to advantage play and his significant legal victories over casinos that challenged his right to play. His publications have provided deep insights into blackjack strategy.


  • Youngest inductee into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

Bill Benter: The Philanthropic Gambler

Bill Benter, after a successful career in blackjack, turned to horse racing betting, applying his mathematical skills to win vast sums. Known for his philanthropy, Benter’s story extends beyond the blackjack table, illustrating the potential for applying gambling insights to other fields.

Post-Blackjack Career:

  • Developed a computerized system for betting on horse races, winning millions.

Kerry Packer: The High Roller

Kerry Packer was known for his fearless gambling style, often betting huge sums on blackjack and other casino games. His risk-taking and massive wins (and losses) at the blackjack tables are legendary.

Notable Gambles:

  • Reportedly won millions in single nights, while also facing significant losses, embodying the high-risk, high-reward nature of gambling.

Bryce Carlson: The Mentor

Bryce Carlson, the author of “Blackjack for Blood,” is known for his contributions to blackjack strategy and for mentoring numerous players. He developed tools and systems to analyze and improve gameplay.


  • Developed the Omega II Blackjack Machine, an analytical tool for improving game strategy.

These individuals have not only mastered blackjack but have also shaped its history and the strategies employed by players around the world. Their stories of mathematical brilliance, legal battles, technological innovation, and strategic gameplay continue to inspire and influence both amateur and professional blackjack players alike.


  • “Beat the Dealer” by Edward O. Thorp
  • Various publications by Stanford Wong
  • Interviews

The article titled “Best Blackjack Players Ever: Masters of the Game” explores the remarkable journeys and strategies of the most iconic figures in the world of blackjack. These players have not only demonstrated unparalleled skill and understanding of the game but have also left a lasting impact on its strategic landscape.

These players exemplify the diverse approaches to mastering blackjack, from mathematical analysis to legal challenges, technological innovation, and beyond. Their legacies serve as a testament to the depth and complexity of the game, offering valuable lessons and inspiration for players at all levels.

For aspiring blackjack players, studying the strategies and stories of these legends can provide invaluable insights into the game, highlighting the importance of discipline, innovation, and strategic thinking. Whether through card counting, negotiation of game conditions, or the development of technological aids, these individuals have demonstrated that success in blackjack requires a blend of skill, intellect, and sometimes, a bit of daring.

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