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Ken Uston

Ken Uston is one of the most famous names in Blackjack. Blackjack enthusiasts all over the world have devoured books written by Ken Uston, like The Big Player and Million Dollar Blackjack. Why is this man so widely known? You will find out in this article. A very intelligent man and gifted jazz pianist, he has an IQ of 169, a talent for math, and has also revealed himself to be a very good writer. His passion for Blackjack dates back to 1970 when he discovered the game thanks to Al Francesco.

The first team

At the beginning of that decade, the young Ken Uston met Al Francesco. The latter introduced him to Blackjack. Uston was quickly fascinated by the approach to the game developed by Francesco. Al Francesco taught the young man card counting and also suggested that he join his team of players. Ken Uston accepted. His life would change completely. On Francesco’s team, he occupied the role of spotter, which means it was his duty to count the cards and alert a high-spending “big” player when the shoe was primed. Soon he began composing a book inspired by his experiences. Ken Uston’s first book was published in 1977. At this time, the team was compelled to stop playing in Las Vegas casinos. It had become too well known. What’s more, the number of players using the same strategy continued to rise.

In Atlantic City

After publishing his book, Ken Uston left Las Vegas for Atlantic City. In this city, he formed his own team of card counters. This team was very successful, but casino managers quickly figured out Ken Uston’s method and banned him from their casinos.

A legal victory for Ken Uston

For the player, this kind of expulsion is illegal. Ken Uston’s method did not constitute cheating, it was simply an effective strategy based on mathematics. A legal battle ensued. The court of New Jersey ruled in Ken Uston’s favor, awarding him the right to return and play in any of Atlantic City’s casinos. These casinos proceeded to develop different techniques to reduce the effectiveness of card counting. It was during this era that systematic shuffling and the use of multiple decks was introduced, along with other measures.

A full life

Ken Uston continued his professional gambling career in Atlantic City and even returned, from time to time, to Las Vegas under various disguises. He also published two new books on Blackjack. At the very beginning of the 1980’s, Ken Uston became interested in video games. He even developed a strategy for the famous Pac Man. He then published several books on the video gaming universe. In 1987, Ken Uston died in Paris of a heart attack at the age of 52. He was posthumously inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.