Mathematical developments of the game pioneers and creation of simple and efficient counting systems incited the appearance of a great galaxy of professional players and experts of blackjack.
Revere invented a new simple counting system and first described the method of reducing the current score to the real one. Stanford Wong amplified and improved Hi-Lo system, and also developed the Halves system. Lance Humble, Brison, Gordon, Harvey Dubner, – all these giants made a great contribution to the development of the methods of the game.
In late 70s the professional gambler Al Francesco, probably created the first blackjack team in history. He hired the enthusiasts, taught them Lawrence Revere’s counting system and sent them to play. He invented and put into practice the principle of “BIG PLAYER” – when the part of the team is humbly playing low and some drunken and wealthy fish makes high bets on the given signals.
Ken Uston also belonged to this team. Uston was the vice president of fund stock exchange at that time. However after meeting Revere he quitted the stock exchange and changed his strict outfit for magnificent bush of hair, golden chains and silk shirts with huge collars in the style of that time.
Uston played for Francesco’s team for quite a long time and with varied success, but his ego did stand it under the pressure of his own ego. He had a very high opinion of himself and wanted to be the first in everything. He left Francesco and wrote several books about his adventures. The books simply exploded the gambling world.
The book “BIG PLAYER” revealed the secrets of team game. The Book “Million Dollar Blackjack” is stuffed with unbelievable stories in intervals explaining the technical aspects also presents different cards counting systems. Uston made people believe that one can beat casino playing blackjack. Win a lot. Millions of dollars. Also everyone found out how casinos react to the professional gamblers – slams, insinuations, blacklists, crooked gambling, false accusations. Uston was in the blacklists all over the world, having won with his several teams about 8 million dollars.
By the way, Al Francesco and many other players are still dissatisfied with Uston’s actions who decided to publish the methods of the game which were then available only to the few. But Uston would not be himself if he had not done it.
The next outburst of his popularity was in early 80s, when Ken won the case against a casino in New Jersey (Resorts International Hotel Inc.). Since then no casino of this state (unlike, for example, Las Vegas in Nevada ) is not eligible to prohibit playing to person who can count cards. On the other hand, this verdict made the rules in Nevada much worse than in Vegas.
The next wave of the struggle between the casino and counters relates to Uston’s era. The casinos understood, that well-financed team of pros can cause great losses. And then the multidecked games, frequent riffle were coming into fashion and several good rules just died away. There appeared special detective agencies who spied on the professional players, collected the necessary information about them and distributed it among the casinos.
Uston created new methods of the game, used makeup, recruited more and more people in his teams and started playing abroad. He also was writing new books, was starring on TV, was writing new articles, was developing new counting systems. By the way Ken, wrote the book on optimal game strategy for Pac-Man (arcade video game). It’s a video game not for money, he was just interested in it.
One of the most scandalous Kenny’s projects was creating the team against the casino with using the computer. They used hidden on the body and in the shoes micro chips that calculated the current situation in the game more precisely than any other “human” strategy and gave the necessary signals to the player. His teams almost broke several casinos, but in a while they were caught, arrested and accused of fraud, the computer was confiscated. However, the experts including FBI experts, proved that there was no fraud and the accusations were withdrawn. In two weeks the Supreme Court of the USA of Nevada State made the usage of computing devices in casinos illegal….
Kenny was a good guy, the heart of the company, first class jazz musician, loved by women and press. He had great plans on making a film, writing new books, arranging one more trial, and surely new projects on blackjack. His life was suddenly interrupted in 1983 and the version that casinos are privy to his death is not cast back yet.