The world of online blackjack is filled with big money and even bigger dreams. Given that it is one of the most popular online casinos games of all time, from time to time it pays to look back at what has helped mould it into the game it is today. While the game itself has a varied history, it is the faces and names that have given it a true identity. Ignoring the self-promoters and the almost-rans of the game, the following looks at the true who’s who of the world of blackjack.
Edward O. Thorp
You can’t talk about blackjack and online blackjack without talking about Edward O. Thorp, the innovator of basic blackjack strategy. Born in 1932, his career would become that of a master mathematician, but his fame would come from authoring the book “Beat the Dealer”. His work would focus around how he could beat the dealer and reduce the house edge through an ingenious card counting strategy. When he put his theory into practice he found that the casinos couldn’t handle the it and were losing money hand over fist. Both he and his partner Claude Elwood Shannon cleared up across Las Vegas, winning more money than they knew what to with. As time went on the casinos would become wise to Thorp’s strategies and would “ban” card counting. However, that hasn’t stopped Thorp’s work becoming the foundation of the some of the greatest blackjack strategies of all time. Proven success at the table and a one-of-a-kind strategist in the world of blackjack, there is no doubt that Edward O. Thorp is a name of the utmost importance.
The innovator of “team play” and one of the most recognizable names in the history of blackjack, Ken Uston is a businessman turned blackjack legend. While Uston had made a moderate name for himself in the corporate world as a stock market trader, it wasn’t until he started playing blackjack that he became known the world over. Uston met a professional blackjack player in Al Francesco; after the two became close friends Uston developed the “team player” strategy. This strategy revolved around furthering the card counting strategy, as not just one player would be doing it at the table, multiple-players would. This system means that players would play usually with a collective pot and signal to each other based on the hands they have in order to dominate the dealer. During its formative years the strategy proved very profitable to Uston and his inner circle, but much like other card counting strategies it would eventually be banned. While he may not have been able to practice his team strategy anymore, he would publish two blackjack focused books in “The Big Player” and “Million Dollar Blackjack” that cemented his place in the game’s history.
You may know him as John Ferguson, or you may know him by his pen name of Stanford Wong, either way the man is considered a legend within the world of blackjack. Much like other professional blackjack players Ferguson had his start through “Beating the Dealer”, he adopted such strategies before creating his own card counting variations. Through complex research and precise practice he created the “Wong Halves” strategy and changed the image of card counting strategies in the process. Ferguson would eventually start turning over big money in the casinos and put himself in the blackjack Hall of Fame, while under his alias Stanford Wong he published the best-selling book “Professional Blackjack”.
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