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Masters of Blackjack (Cleverest Card Counters & Superlative Players)

Published on December 11, 2018, 9:29 pm

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

Although it’s not illegal in the United Kingdom or United States, card counting is still frowned upon by casinos and gambling firms due to the losses that can be accumulated.

It takes a lot of time, skill and patience to perfect card counting but those who can master it, can seriously line their pockets time and time again.

Here, we take a look back at some of the world’s most famous card counters and dissect the nature of their work.

Tommy Hyland

Blackjack cards counter Tommy Hyland
Tommy Hyland

Since 1979, Tommy Hyland has managed his own blackjack card counting team which has gone on to win thousands and thousands of dollars. Hyland’s team are in fact the longest-running card counting team in the world, and members are vetted and selected very carefully.

Its said that Hyland demands a certain level of respect, trust and loyalty from his team which in turn, delivers prosperous and positive results. Although Hyland has chopped and changed his team over the years, they continue to be one of the most famous card counters in history.

Ken Uston

Blackjack cards counter Ken Uston
Ken Uston

Ken Uston enjoyed a stellar career as a card counter and it’s believed he earned millions whilst playing blackjack. Like Hyland, Uston came to fame in the 1970’s and even appeared on a number of television shows to talk about his exploits.

Uston developed the idea of having teams of card counters to beat the casinos, as oppose to his original stance of playing solo. Understandably, Uston’s participation wasn’t welcomed by a number of casinos and he filled a law suit in 1979 against one in Atlantic City. The courts were in favour of Uston, - who claimed he was only using his skill to win - which has gone a long way to allowing card counting to exist to this day.

Edward Thorp

Blackjack cards counter Edward Thorp
Edward Thorp

“Beat the Dealer” author Edward Thorp is one of the most famous names when it comes to card counting. Published in 1962, ‘Beat the dealer’ went a long way to proving that blackjack was beatable using certain strategies and techniques.

Thorp was also a mathematician and hedge fund manager as well as a blackjack card counter, giving him an unrivalled status as one of the world’s best ever counters. Thorp tested and trialled his techniques across casinos in Reno and Las Vegas before his book highlighted the demand to understand and learn his tactics.

MIT Blackjack Team

Perhaps one of the more unusual entries into the list of famous card counters but certainly one of the most iconic. MIT Blackjack Team were managed by Harvard MBA graduate Bill Kaplan, and consisted of a mixture of current and former students.

Between 1980-1990, MIT were in their prime and were taking thousands from casinos on a daily basis. The teams popularity continued to rise and grow and it didn’t take them long to gain worldwide recognition.

A whole host of books and films have been written surrounding the exertions of the MIT Blackjack Team and as their story continues to fascinate, MIT have earned their place as the most famous card counters. There are many others famous card counters like Don Johnson and Ben Affleck.

With that in mind, the students at MIT might have a bit of a hard time trying to win big on online slots as oppose to blackjack. But why not try your luck here with a range of games to choose from:


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