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Ken Uston - The Hero of Blackjack

Ken Uston never saw blackjack as a game of life; it was a business and a whole new way of life. In fact, whenever anybody talks about blackjack's history nowadays, they simply have to mention Ken Uston, for he was somewhat of a hero in the game.

The Team

In the 1970s and 1980s, Ken Uston emptied out casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas with a whole team of card counters, making hundreds of thousands in the process just by integrating innovative systems of card counting with professional blackjack. Although they may not have been the first ones to implement these methods on blackjack tables, they happened to be the first ones to use professional teamwork while they were at it.

The System

Uston's team used math at the tables to find out whether they had negative or positive winning conditions in front of them. The first system that they used was the Reverse System; later on, they used Lance Humble's Hi Opt I system that came about in 1976.

The team assigned big players who would join the table with a huge bankroll until their favorable time ended or until the decks got shuffled, while the counters would wait for the advantage, which was when there was a 1.5%-2.5% chance of winning.

Blackjack was the only thing with which Uston found a challenge. He stopped going to his actual job and decided to play blackjack full-time, becoming a very devoted team member. However, Uston would come to learn that things don't always go smoothly.

The Downfall

Uston's team made around $200,000 at the Sands Casino and the casino boss made him leave the grounds with threats of getting arrested. He also got banned from various other casinos all over the nation.

Uston attempted to fight these bans in court but came out unsuccessful - wasting money for nothing. This is when Uston learned how to become more alert. He grew his hair out along with a beard and assembled a new team to hit Vegas with once again to get his blackjack probabilities back.

The Aftermath

By 1978, Uston decided it was time to write his first book, called "The Big Player". During this time, David Harman, the host of "Good Morning America" got in touch with him for a gambling article that he needed and with him, Uston ended up arranging a game of blackjack at the Horseshoe Casino.

As the years went by, Uston wrote some more books and took legal actions against those casinos that banned blackjack players. This case was thoroughly covered by a lot of media and eventually forced casinos to open their doors to players of blackjack.