The Blackjack stars adding their own twist to the game they love

MOST people’s experience of blackjack is limited to watching movies like 21 – the story of the MIT team of students who used card counting and signaling to win big in Vegas – or the latest release, The Card Counter, where Oscar Isaac takes the lead role of the ex-military interrogator turned card shark.

But it’s a multi-million dollar moneyspinner to some of the biggest names in cards, and their ability to read the deck has made them big money that us mere mortals can only dream of. Amazing Viral News looks at some of the most popular blackjack players from today and times gone by.

James Grosjean

It may seem like a cliché but there really is only one name to start with. He was the youngest player to be inducted into the blackjack hall of fame and has a mind the size of a small planet. A Harvard and University of Chicago-trained economist, James Grosjean’s book, Beyond Counting, had a reported print run of 1,000 – when one comes up for sale on a site like eBay it can bring upwards of $10,000. He was involved in a successful legal claim against two casinos and an investigative agency that netted him hundreds of thousands of dollars and is usually in disguise on his rare appearances in front of the camera. The only people who know exactly how old he is and what he looks like without the beard and wig are those people he trusts not to divulge any information about him. Still playing in casinos today until they discover he’s playing in their casino.

Don Johnson

There is another Don Johnson who wasn’t married to Melanie Griffith and didn’t star in 1980s TV series Miami Vice. While the actor is a renowned gambler, this DJ walked away with the small matter of $15million from three Atlantic City casinos playing blackjack. The interesting thing is that Johnson didn’t use any particular blackjack strategy, but utilised his math skills to gain rules that were to his advantage including: six decks; double down after splitting; dealer stands on soft 17; re-split aces, and free bet if dealer makes mistake. Try your luck with the Coral casino bonus, which is available to all new customers.

Edward O. Thorp

He was the author of Beat the Dealer, the first mathematical-based book aimed at doing exactly what it said on the tin, or on the cover of the book at least. Professor Thorp’s book was published in 1966 and was considered to be the guide to card counting. The idea of the book – it sold over 700,000 copies – was to allow his research to go directly to gamblers, so bypassing an academic’s usual route of peer review. He considered his work as an academic exercise.

Ken Uston

Employed as the senior vice-president of the Pacific Stock Exchange before he was 30, he began spending time at local casinos after reading Beat the Dealer. Widely regarded as a genius of card counting, he formed a profitable team in New Jersey in the late 1970s when gambling became legal in Atlantic City. He was barred before successfully filing a lawsuit that resulted in the casinos changing their systems in a bid to prevent skilled players gaining any advantage. He made little money from his knowledge and died in France, rumoured not to have a dime to his name. CNN International

Matt Damon

Just for a little of devilment we’ll throw in the man who played a professional gambler in the film Rounders. Often seen with fellow actor Ben Affleck at high-stakes poker and blackjack games, Damon is believed to have blown $250,000 when his role research went a little too far.

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Last modified: September 15, 2021

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