The Blackjack Hall of Fame was established in 2002 to honor the most influential and significant players, authors and specialists in the game. These are some of the inaugural members:
Edward O. Thorp was born in Chicago in 1932 and he’s considered the father of card counting. He has a Ph.D. in mathematics and he’s most famous for writing Beat the Dealer in 1962. This bestselling book revolutionised the Blackjack world because it showed how card counting could beat the casino house edge.
Al Francesco started gambling at the age of 19 and today he’s regarded as one of the most significant influences in the game. He was a card counter and when he was banned from casinos he developed a strategy that used a team of players to beat the house advantage. His highly successful crew had numerous counters and a Big Player and together they took millions from casinos in the 1970s. He’s also responsible for teaching Ken Uston how to count cards.
Ken Uston began playing Blackjack under Al Francesco but when he published The Big Player in 1977 all the members of Francesco’s card counting team were banned from casinos. He became an expert in disguise so he could play Blackjack without being detected. He’s also renowned for his victory against Atlantic City casinos, where a court ruled that card counting wasn’t illegal and so card counters couldn’t be banned.
Stanford Wong’s real name is John Ferguson and he’s one of the greatest strategists in the game. He has a Ph. D. in statistics and he’s written many books including Professional Blackjack – one of the most influential card counting books ever penned. He used Thorp’s technique until casinos began to use more than one deck of cards. He created the Wong Halves system that could beat 4-deck Blackjack.