The Blackjack Hall of Fame

Published on: April 8, 2012 

Most sports have a hall of fame in which those that have contributed immensely are enshrined for perpetuity. Even poker has its own hall of fame and therefore why not blackjack. However the idea of a blackjack hall of fame was mooted only in 2002, by when the landmark achievements in the evolution of blackjack had already become history.

Late in 2002 some leading professional gamblers nominated 21 blackjack experts, including authors and professional players, for membership to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. The selection of the inductees was done by the professionals, because they were the best judge of who had the best impact on the game and whose theories and strategies were truly original. Also the exploits of the blackjack professionals was not that widespread in the public domain. However for the first induction the public was allowed to vote online for about a month. Then the experts met at the January 2003 Blackjack Ball, which was hosted by blackjack author Max Rubin, and the first seven members were inducted to the Blackjack hall of Fame.

These seven were obviously chosen for past achievements. In the last decades of the twentieth century blackjack teams operated in land casinos and were able to win large sums of money. Their approach was scientific and their strategy was planned out in detail. Al Francesco, Ken Uston and Tommy Hyland were nominated for the work in conceiving, developing and running blackjack teams. Peter Griffin, Arnold Snyder, Stanford Wong and Edward Thorp were authors of books on blackjack theory and strategy that had become immensely popular.

In 2004 two more members were added to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. They were Max Rubin the author and media reporter and Keith Taft who had invented hidden computerized devices to enable players make optimum moves. In 2005 authors Julian Braun and Lawrence Revere were inducted in to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. From 2006 the task for nomination and induction became the responsibility of the members of the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Having covered most of the backlog the members decided to induct only one person per year from then on.

In 2006 James Grosjean became the youngest inductee to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Apart from being an analyst, player and author he became popular when he sued several casinos for detaining him and employing agencies to dig into his past. In 2007 John Chang, the former manager of the MIT Blackjack Team, was inducted. The character of Mickey Rosa in the movie 21 is based on Chang. In 2008 there were four inductees, but this was not against policy because they were collectively known as The Four Horsemen of Aberdeen. While serving in the US Army in the 1950s and armed only with desk calculators they had published correct blackjack strategy without the use of computer simulation. In 2009 Richard Munchkin, player, author and film producer was inducted to the Blackjack Hall of Fame. In 2010 and 2011 professional players Darryl Purpose and Zeljko Ranogajec were inducted and in 2012 player and author Ian Anderson was inducted.

The Blackjack Hall of Fame is located at the Barona Casino in San Diego, California. The casino awards to each inductee free lifetime full room, food and beverage. In turn the inductees promise not to play on Barona’s tables.

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