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Getting to Know the World's Most Famous Blackjack Players

Part of the appeal of blackjack for me is reading back through the history of the game, including the people who brought it into the spotlight. Listed here are five of the world's most famous blackjack players and their claims to fame, including my personal idol Ken Uston.

Stanford Wong

Stanford Wong, otherwise known as John Ferguson, penned the book "Professional Blackjack" which has been something of a how-to manual for me for the last decade or so. He's one of the first to develop computer software that allows for the analysis of various hands, and one of his techniques, "Wonging", is still popular today. Although I personally don't do it, it involves sitting out of play until the count (referring to card counting) becomes advantageous to the player.

Arnold Snyder

Arnold Snyder is another one of the most famous blackjack players because he was the first to describe a technique known as 'penetration' in his 1980 publishing known as 'The Blackjack Formula'. While it's true that others had written books about this classic title prior to Snyder, it is well-known that this man was the first to produce a publication that wasn't filled with complicated mathematical theories. In essence, anyone could understand it. I still recommend this book to those who are new to blackjack strategy.

Peter Griffin

Not to be confused with the star of the hit TV series "Family Guy", Peter Griffin wasn't really even one to enjoy this casino classic. Rather, his ability to solve complex mathematical equations that contributed to the way the title was understood is what helped him rise to fame. Without ever laying his hands on a single deck, he laid out one of the most successful basic strategies of all time - and it is still in use by many pros today.

Edward O. Thorpe

One of the greats, Edward O. Thorpe is commonly referred to as the godfather of card counting. While people before him had developed some relatively complex systems that were difficult to follow, Thorpe was able to simplify things to the point that even a beginner could understand and apply them. Perhaps his greatest victory was proving that knowledge of odds and mathematics was a boon by winning more than $11,000 in a single weekend before getting tossed out by security.

Ken Uston

Ken Uston, who is arguably not only one of the most famous blackjack players but the best of all time, is my personal hero. He devised a plan for 'teamwork' in casinos that allowed for everyone to work towards a win that was later split among the team. There's no denying that he was a genius, and movies have even been made about him and his team. He is also well-known for establishing a ruling in New Jersey that ultimately claimed that individuals could not be removed from a casino for card counting, though signaling other players was still a seriously illegal offense.